Good morning. Despite all my efforts to move the needle on the conversation, about 95 percent of the questions I keep getting involve PPP forgiveness and whether people should return their PPP money. Let me try and unpack the elephant.
The topic of PPP forgiveness is a big fat mess. The government has not issued any clear guidance on how loans will be forgiven, and over three million business owners have signed promissory notes that don’t explain the forgiveness. So I don't understand how any professional advisors, CPAs, lawyers, etc., who are dishing out advice on the topic are basing their insights.
My suggestion is to try not to be too obsessed about the topic and waste energy on something we don’t know answers too yet. Follow the intent of the law. If you laid off or furloughed workers, bring them back. I think it’s an excellent idea to methodically track what you spend the money on – and make sure it's only payroll expenses, rent, utilities, and interest on your building. Go ahead and put the bookkeeping/accounting system in place and move on to the next item on the list.
Guidance will eventually come out about PPP and forgiveness. When it does, come back to the topic and make any necessary adjustments. But for now, try focus on moving forward instead of looking into the rearview mirror.
Keeping to the ongoing PPP forgiveness, a group of business owners are worried about their attestation that the PPP is required to maintain the ongoing operations of their business. I think there are two sides to this coin. I suspect that any lawyer will argue that the language is vague, and the fear is baseless. And they are correct. But on the other hand, this PPP issue is going to be a hot political issue for years to come. I think a group of people will land up in jail or with hefty fines on this topic, irrespective of how vague the language is.
There is nothing more important than a good night's sleep. If you are losing sleep about taking the PPP money, go ahead and give it back. You will never know if your decision was right or wrong, and the information is unclear. But it’s time to focus on the future, and if you're so worried about this topic, you're not working on your business.
And one final note on PPP. It's a band-aid compared to the possibilities of the Main Street Lending Program, which I will be discussing on my Aminar at noon EST today.