THE U.S. CHAMBER of Commerce hosted the Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., in October 2018. There, a diverse array of businesses shared their experiences in a structured forum geared toward listening to the voices of small business owners. It was an opportunity for accounting and finance personnel and owners of small businesses to network and exchange ideas. The summit provided a platform to ask questions and express concerns, better understand the economic conditions in which small businesses operate, and learn from the multitude of success stories throughout the United States.
Among the many presenters at the summit were two presidential Cabinet members, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Linda McMahon. Both touted the current administration's continuing deregulation efforts as a contributor to small business success.
According to the Small Business Index published by MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there's a consensus of optimism among small business owners in the U.S., suggesting increased confidence in their economic outlook and overall business health. With gross domestic product (GDP) growth trending around 3% this year, 54% of small businesses surveyed said they believe tax reform will help the U.S. economy, and 47% said they anticipate that it will also help their business.
One area that concerns many in small businesses is healthcare. Secretary Acosta announced his plans to introduce Association Health Plans (AHPs), which will give state and local Chambers of Commerce the ability to offer healthcare plans as if they were the employer of the small businesses in their community. This initiative is intended to extend the negotiated benefits to sole proprietors and others within that community at lower rates through collective bargaining.
Obtaining necessary financing can often be a formidable challenge for small businesses. The age of a small business can weigh heavily on its ability to receive the full amount of a loan or credit line requested. The success rate for receiving the full amounts requested declines from 75% for small businesses 20 years or older to only 51% for businesses that are 10 years or younger, according to the Q3 2018 Small Business Index.
Presenters Jana Hocker, the chief compliance officer of QuickBooks Financing at Intuit, and Ross Carey, executive VP of the business banking division at U.S...