What information do business owners need to know in order to assess if factoring, also known as invoice discounting, is a viable transaction? Also, are there mistakes and pitfalls to be avoided when considering this financing strategy?
Let's examine the answers to some of those questions. You can be forgiven for trying to figure out why factoring has increased in prominence from a time when no one had almost ever heard of it! The answer to that popularity is more simply and obvious than you might think, and its simply that Canadian chartered banks are finding it increasingly more difficult to fund accounts receivable (and inventory of course) to the extent that their customers need this financing.
When you have a situation where the actual need for financing is acute, and the benefits and flexibility seems significant it is not hard to see the rise in popularity of such a financing mechanism.
First of all, 99% of the time, factoring provides your firm with a greater level of borrowing based on your accounts receivable levels. Quite of 90-100% of you're A/R under 90 days can be financed.
So is it all good news? Not necessarily, as we are always meeting with clients that have chosen the wrong type of funding or factoring, and, even worse, find them locked into contracts they cannot get out of. That is uncomfortable for any size firm as you can imagine.
As with any newer type of financing the playing field is complex. You can be forgiven for not knowing how many factor firms are out there, how they run, what their own limitations are, and, even to a certain extent, do they in fact themselves have the funding to survive, let along finance your firm. For that reason we cannot over emphasize the need to work with a credible, experienced and trusted professional in this area.
Lets talk about some of the nuances, we can call them potential 'pitfalls 'also, of picking the wrong factoring partner. For a starter if you choose a firm who itself is not well capitalized, as we said, you might find that the financing commitments made to you cannot be honored. Canadian business has never had to think that the Canadian chartered banks could be 'out of money 'but the Canadian landscape is somewhat littered with small and medium sized factor firms that do not have the financial wherewithal to support their funding commitments in all places. That just re - enforces our idea that a trusted industry expert will guide you to the best partner for your firm.
Other issues, again, we can call them pitfalls, to look for include:
- being locked into a contract
- having the total factoring cost, or pricing, not reflected properly in your term sheet
- advance rates which don't make sense relative to the price you are paying for discounting invoices
- excessive notification and intrusion with your customers, which is very prevalent in the U.S. model of factoring (Many Canadian factor firms are branches of U.S. firms)
So let's recap. It's simply that factoring is growing in popularity. It works because it is providing funding where banks often cannot. If you don't understand who you are dealing with and the various nuances of this type of financing it becomes a burden, not a solution. Investigate this great financing mechanism, but ensure you know what you are getting into. Talking to an expert always helps - that's just common sense
Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial –
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 13 years - Completed in excess of 100 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations . Core competancies include receivables financing, asset based lending, working capital, equipment finance, franchise finance and tax credit financing. Info & Contact Details :
7 Park Avenue Financial
South Sheridan Executive Centre
2910 South Sheridan Way
Office = 905 829 2653
' Canadian Business Financing with the intelligent use of experience '
Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations.
Prior to founding 7 Park Avenue Financial in 2004 his employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.
Stan has over 40 years of business and finance executive experience. He has been recognized as a credit/financial executive for three of the largest technology companies in the world; Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment and Cable & Wireless. Stan has had in depth, hands on experience in assessing and evaluating thousands of companies that are seeking financing and expansion. He has been instrumental in helping many companies progress through every phase of financing, mergers & acquisitions, sales and marketing and human resources. Stan has worked with startups and public corporations and has many times established the financial wherewithal of organizations before approving millions of dollars of financing facilities and instruments on behalf of his employers.
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