In addition to running a business and managing employees, small business owners must also stay on top of their financial records. FindLaw's section on Accounting Forms and Contracts contains forms, contracts, and other sample documents pertaining to a wide variety of financial matters, such as loan agreements and debt collection. In this section you can find a checklist of information to include in a loan package, real-life examples of credit agreements, a sample profit and loss statement, sample debt collection documents, and other information related to business accounting and contracts.
Applying for a Loan
Whether it's to start the business, or after the business has been in operation for a few years, a business may need a loan. In order to get approved for a private or government loan, a business must provide detailed information to the lender. First and foremost, a lender will be interested in having a description of the business, information about the business industry, any financial history, and the business's financial needs. Potential lenders will also want to know information about the company's workforce as well the company's lease arrangements and physical facilities.
Of course, information about the loan being requested is also important. It can be helpful to explain how the borrowed funds will be used, and outline a realistic payback schedule. These are just general examples of what lenders will want to find out about your company. Each lender will have its own list of questions and request for documents and the more detailed you are, the more likely you are to have your loan approved.
Consumer Credit Laws
There are various federal and state laws that apply to credit transactions between businesses and consumers. There are a few federal consumer credit laws to be aware of if you plan on extending credit to customers. The Credit Practices Rule is one that applies to consumer credit contracts offered by retailers and finance companies. This Rule prevents creditors from including certain provisions in consumer contracts, and applies to consumer credit contracts involving personal purposes except the purchase of real estate.
Another federal consumer credit law to learn about is the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This Act prohibits businesses from choosing whom to extend credit to based on sex, age, marital status, race, religion, color, age, or national origin. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) only applies to debt collectors who collect debts for others (as opposed to businesses trying to collect their own debts). The FDCPA prevents debt collection agencies from engaging in certain practices while trying to collect debts, such as using false statements or using threats of harm or violence. Please keep in mind that each state will have its own consumer credit laws, so it's important to check with the laws of your state before extending credit to customers.
Hiring a Business and Commercial Attorney
Making sure your business finances are detailed and organized is an important aspect in running a successful business. An experienced business and commercial attorney can answer any questions about accounting forms and contracts your business may need in order to operate successfully.