Stimulus Packages for the Rest of Us

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By Brian Tankersley

In this challenging economic environment, many people are looking for a way to jump start activity in their small businesses.   The Treasury's TARP program is in the news, and Congress is debating a $1 trillion (that's a million million dollars) stimulus package.  There are many others looking for bailouts, including Larry Flynt and Joe Francis, and some private citizens who don't really understand the program, but want money for free.  We're hearing of thousands of layoffs in the news, and this means that a lot of talented people are going to be looking for something to do.  I hope some of these people will consider starting their own businesses, and many others are coming to their aid in this time of need.   Intuit announced this week a "Power to Get More Done" initiative aimed at tax and accounting professionals, which supplements their "Small Business United" initiative for businesses generally.  Intuit describes the benefits as follows:

Free small business tools for clients just starting out: Free QuickBooks Simple Start, free Intuit Websites Starter Package, six months of free Intuit Online Payroll, free incorporation services, and free QuickBooks Cash Register Plus download. These offers are also part of Intuit’s “Small Business United” initiative, which is being announced in conjunction with the accountant-focused Power to Get More Done.

Discounts up to 60 percent on accounting, payroll, credit card processing and mid-market offerings for established clients: Substantial discounts on QuickBooks Pro 2009, QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll, QuickBooks Assisted Payroll, QuickBooks Merchant Services, and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions are offered throughout tax season.
 (source: Rich Walker, Intuit 2009-01-26)

Intuit is also giving away ten grants of $10,000 cash, plus $10,000 in products and services to new and existing firms who are looking to hire and invest in their businesses.  More information can be found on Intuit's website.  Accounting pros can also subscribe to a series of biweekly training podcasts on QuickBooks through the Intuit Academy (iPod users:  To add this podcast in iTunes, click on "Advanced, Subscribe to Podcast", and paste the RSS feed for the podcast ( into the box that appears.  This will set iTunes to automatically download new episodes of this podcast to your PC, and these downloads can also be set to automatically go to your iPod.

Not to be outdone, Peachtree is continuing to offer their "Switch My Clients", which offers a free copy of Peachtree for people who switch from a certain competitor's software.  This plan provides a free copy of Peachtree Complete Accounting 2009, plus six months of support.  (More details are on the Sage/Peachtree site)

Finally, my friends at Network Management Group in Hutchinson, Kansas are giving away a $25,000 "Extreme Tech Makeover".  While a review of the fine print reveals that winners have to be located within 250 miles of Hutchinson, KS, it's still a pretty interesting way to stimulate some interest in a small business (by offering similar grants to prospects) and for recipient businesses to get some work done.  No word on whether or not the winners will have a "reveal" with cheering throngs of friends and family.  (My money is on Steve Harper doing the impersonation of Ty Pennington.....  After all, Harpo's namesake was in show business.)


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