The inaugural event was the first phase of a larger effort by Access and Middleburg to host financial education events to help foster healthy economic growth in the communities of Middleburg, Aldie, Upperville, The Plains, Marshall, and Delaplane. More events similar to this are planned for the future in other areas within Loudoun, Fauquier, and Fairfax counties.
Access and Middleburg CEO, Michael Clarke explained during his opening remarks that the purpose of the Symposium is to provide financial education to help entrepreneurs successfully navigate the “lifecycle of [a] business.”
“We have found that educational outreach has been an important part of helping clients succeed,” he continued. “We see that as a critical part of our role as trusted advisors.”
Symposium speakers led the forum with topics including bank and non-bank financing options, credit evaluation criteria, cash and accrual accounting, and SBA and other loan guarantee programs that benefit startups and other businesses. Panelists addressed attendees’ questions and offered further assistance on a one-on-one basis.
Mr. Clarke and Ted Lauer, SVP, Commercial Lending, represented Middleburg Bank, a division of Access National Bank. Lauer’s segment concentrated on describing various buisness loan types and qualification criteria, which can vary based on the unique needs of each business.
Lauer defined the various loan options and the context in which a business would use them to turn “stable revenue and profits.”
Jamie Gaucher, Economic Development Director for the Town of Middleburg, said he partnered with Access and Middleburg to provide small businesses “technical assistance” and “access to capital.”
“[This is] the opportunity to launch – what I think – is going to be a core component of the services [we] need to provide the small business community,” he said.
Amy Rowan, Community Program Coordinator with Business Finance Group (BFG), described her firm’s various loan programs. BFG is a nonprofit providing economic development through specialized small business loans for companies with a net worth of less than $15 million.
Finally, Patricia Barnes, Paraprofessional, and Alex Fleming, CPA/PFS, represented the accounting firm Yount, Hyde & Barbour.
Fleming and Barnes deliberated about cash versus accrual accounting and GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) to help lay a “common framework” for small business accounting. This framework assists small businesses with keeping track of spending basics, sales forecasts, and working capital.
Access and Middleburg will be hosting another Small Business Symposium in Leesburg in the coming weeks.
“We understand not everyone is a financial expert; rather the entrepreneur is an expert at running their business,” Clarke said in a statement when the event concluded. “Which is why as a community-focused bank, we believe in these sorts of ‘grassroots efforts’ to support the small business backbone of our economy.
“We embrace our role as trusted advisors to work with business owners to help them obtain on-target credit solutions that make sense for their business to thrive.”