There has been a lot of recent talk about the PPP money, who got it, who didn’t, and even if some companies should pay it back.

I have some thoughts on this but ultimately, you will have to make this decision.

It’s an easy decision if you desperately needed it. And if that’s you, conversations about forgiveness, paybacks, etc. are irrelevant.

Whether it’s deductible or not … you need the cash to survive, and it’s a great shot in the arm. Yes, forgiveness matters … but at 1% interest (at the worst), it’s a great deal regardless.

But what if your business isn’t completely shattered by COVID — should you pay it back?

It depends.

One of the reasons that “Round 1” of the PPP was so disastrous for those businesses who were working with big banks (e.g. Bank of America, Chase, etc.) is that the smaller, regional banks and lenders employed actual people to manually input applications into the SBA system.

The big banks created their own proprietary PPP applications within their own system — and they were seeking access to the SBA database, which took some time.

Meanwhile, the smaller lenders were cranking away on their keyboards, pounding in the applications … and getting approved.

And these smaller, regional banks were essentially taking the SBA paperwork and making no changes to it. That original SBA application included the important certification that each applicant had to make that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant“.

Some of the larger banks did not include this certification question in their application, and as a result … chaos.

So, about that certification:

Every business will have a different way of establishing whether this was the case.

Certain businesses have established contracts and revenue streams, and the COVID crisis changed nothing. These businesses should strongly consider returning the PPP if they got it. If this is the case for you, talk with your lender.

But for many businesses, the standard isn’t clear. We are still await for guidance.

If your customers have been affected by the lockdowns or the virus, you have a good case for “economic uncertainty”. Locked-in contracts, or businesses with government or Fortune 500 contracts might be the exception … but everyone else: as long as you keep your payroll intact and you manage your forgiveness requirements, “economic uncertainty” is a low bar to clear.

If this is something that you need to talk through email or call us: (757) 857-1880.

Best Regards,


Steve Kallam

(757) 857-1880

Virginia Accounting Services


I’m grateful for our chance to serve you and your business — and we are dedicated to its success, in every season.

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