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How a potential government shutdown could impact your small business plus resources to get you through it

How a potential federal government shutdown could impact your small business + resources to get you through it

What is a government shutdown?

When Congress isn’t able to pass their annual spending bills on time or a short-gap extension, select federal agencies may pause certain services to the public as well as furlough government workers. A shutdown can cascade to the Small Business Administration, affecting small businesses and their access to capital.

Signs are pointing to a potential federal government shutdown in October 2023 due to a lapse in government funding. While Congress is trying this week to pass a stop-gap temporary funding measure to keep the federal government open, the clock is ticking as we approach the end of the federal fiscal year.

As Congress works toward a solution, here’s what small businesses may want to do right now to prepare, plus some vital resources to carry you through this uncertain time. 

How might a federal government shutdown affect small businesses?

As a federal agency, the Small Business Administration (SBA) could be impacted by a shutdown, which potentially can restrict access to capital for small businesses. In accordance with the agency’s most recent contingency plan, in the event of a shutdown, the SBA stops approving and processing new loans for many of its loan programs including 7(a) and the microloan program. Disaster assistance funding, however, would still move forward under this plan as well as Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). For a full list of impacted programs and services, you may want to read the Agency’s most recent contingency plan

A government shutdown may also impact the regulatory federal offices small businesses rely on to obtain the certifications and approvals they need to operate. And employers hoping to hire new employees could hit a snag as they lose access to E-Verify, a federal internet-based system that determines employee eligibility to work in the United States. 

Where can small businesses find information about a potential shutdown and resources for relief?

QuickBooks has the tools you need to help your business thrive.

What can small business owners do right now?

If you are worried about a government shutdown potentially hurting your business, a few precautionary measures could help you feel more prepared. Remember, the situation is very fluid as both chambers of Congress continue to negotiate a short-term spending measure with the goal of avoiding a shutdown. 

Collect on outstanding invoices

Collecting on any outstanding invoices can give your cash flow the boost it needs to survive a shutdown. Do this as soon as possible to avoid a situation where your clients can’t pay. Here are 20 tips to get paid faster

Reduce overhead costs

Pause or eliminate unnecessary expenses so you can direct your cash flow to the things that matter most, like your employees. Here are 14 ways to reduce operating costs

Build a cash reserve

It’s never too late to start saving for a rainy day. Set a monthly savings goal and treat it as a non-negotiable. Then, create strict guidelines for tapping into your reserve. Here are some tips for building a business cash reserve in a pinch. 

Take out a private loan

Long-term SBA loans may not be an option in the event of a shutdown, but a short-term private business loan can help if you run into trouble. Here’s everything you need to know about small business loans

Talk to your vendors

If you find yourself unable to pay your bills for any reason, explain the situation to your vendors and ask to work out a payment plan. They may be willing to accommodate. Here’s your guide to working with vendors and suppliers

This content is for information purposes only and information provided should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Additional information and exceptions may apply. Applicable laws may vary by state or locality. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit Inc. does it have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit Inc. cannot warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate, nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.

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