Thanks for dropping in for some hopefully great business info and on occasion some hopefully not too sarcastic comments on the state of Business Financing in Canada and what we are doing about it !

In 2004 I founded 7 PARK AVENUE FINANCIAL. At that time I had spent all my working life, at that time - Over 30 years in Commercial credit and lending and Canadian business financing. I believe the commercial lending landscape has drastically changed in Canada. I believe a void exists for business owners and finance managers for companies, large and small who want service, creativity, and alternatives.

Every day we strive to consistently deliver business financing that you feel meets the needs of your business. If you believe as we do that financing solutions and alternatives exist for your firm we want to talk to you. Our purpose is simple: we want to deliver the best business finance solutions for your company.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Working Capital Financing – Does My Firm need a Working Capital Loan

Clients we meet with often want to need if they require additional working capital financing for their overall business growth and survival. They also, as prudent business owners, want to know what alternatives are available for financing consideration.
Lets answer question # 1 first – we can some facetiously say that the answer will be similar to your lawyers answer to most questions – you may need a working capital facility or loan, or you may not ..!

What do we mean by that? The key issues in working capital financing is understanding what it is, why it is needed, and what alternatives you have as a Canadian business owner of financial manager to access that additional capital .

Let’s get back to our key point, which is simply that we need to first understand what working capital is. We can go by the textbook definition, which is simply go to your balance sheet, take current assets, subtract current liabilities – and voila ! You have your working capital amount. Let’s bore down a bit and truly understand this number and what it really means to your firm on a day to day basis.

Your current assets are of course your inventory and receivables; your current liabilities are your payables and what you have upcoming in loan and lease payments everyday. As a business owner you know that these numbers change everyday, and that as your business grows you require a larger investment in accounts receivable, inventory, and a buffer of cash on hand for miscellaneous issues, emergencies, etc.

Now let’s examine a very key point that will help you understand the thrust of our message. Higher working capital is preferable, but if your inventories and receivables aren’t turning then higher works against you, because you have built up assets that aren’t turning, and it cost you money to build up those receivables and inventory.

So the reality is that you have three options in assessing your working capital financing needs. They are as follows:

1. Focus on higher turnover of receivables and inventory – and stretch your payables as long as you can so as not to lose your valued supplier relationship

2. Monetize your working capital in a more efficient manner – i.e. negotiate an operating line of credit with your bank based on receivable and inventory margining – Alternatively supercharge your current assets by what is known as an asset based lending facility

3. Consider a permanent working capital term loan – this is a long term, generally 3-5 years cash loan that is repaid in specific installments. Essentially you are committing long term working capital into the business which will help alleviate growth needs.

So in summary, what is our bottom line? Its simply that you need to understand what working capital is – you need to determine if you can generate working capital internally or externally, as per our options # 2 AND # 3 above. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced advisor in Canadian working capital solutions and you will be on the way to increased sales and profits via a proper business financing strategy.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Equipment Leasing in Canada – Canadian Solutions for Commercial Equipment Acquisition

Canadian business owners and financial managers quickly realize the benefits of lease financing when it comes to paying for equipment acquisitions. Whether your firm is a start up or an established company many of the benefits of lease financing will apply to your firm. One of those key benefits is simply the fact that you realize that somewhere in the near future you will have to replace that asset, and that is not the time when you wish to have a burdensome asset on your books that you must fully replace with valuable cash and working capital.

In Canada any asset class can be financed, including in some cases even soft costs or non tangible assets. Computer software might be a good example.

Cash flow is what most business owners are most cognizant of, and you quickly realize that paying for the use of an asset over its expected useful life makes much more sense that writing a large cheque for an asset that effectively depreciates the minute you purchase it. As consumers we can relate to that statement when purchasing a vehicle for our selves or our family!

Business owners have the luxury, when lease financing, of strutting a financial vehicle around the ultimate use of the asset – By that we mean you can have a significant say in the rate, term, and type of lease you enter into.

Clients always ask us about the rate in lease financing, as in some cases they have heard that leasing is a more expensive option to a bank loan or outright cash purchase. Textbooks have been written on that whole subject – but let’s try and summarize that whole textbook into a few common sense statements! They are as follows –

- Using up bank credit lines for an equipment asset strategy can be a bad decision based on your overall ability to borrow in the future and the covenants the bank lender might place on your company.

- Writing a cheque for payment in full of a depreciating asset, and depleting your cash on hand is never a recommended strategy for our clients

- If you could match the benefits and the useful economic life of the asset to monthly cash outlays why wouldn’t you take advantage of that option

- Many business owners prefer to have multiple sources of business financing – they don’t want all their ‘eggs in one basked ‘so to speak – Wouldn’t your firm want to do that?

Canadian business owners can choose from two types of leases –

Lease to own

Lease to use (commonly called an operating lease)
We recommend that clients view all asset acquisitions as a potential form different financing strategies. Work with a trusted, respected and credible advisor to ensure you understand that the rates, terms and structures reflect your overall credit quality and the type of lease that makes most sense for you Canadian asset acquisition . That’s a solid business financing strategy.



Monday, June 28, 2010

Receivable Factoring – The Two Things You Need to Know !

Canadian business owners and financial managers can make some big, painful, expensive and time consuming mistakes when they choose the wrong factoring facility. In a previous article we highlight three popular misconceptions about factoring – they were:

-Factoring is the pledging of receivables

- Factoring is expensive

- All receivable financing services and facilities are essentially the same

We provided information that clearly showed that there are a number of fallacies and myths about the factoring of receivables in Canada, and that the prudent business owner needs to investigate the true costs and ‘how to’ of factoring in Canada.
Let’s now share two other major misconceptions around this method of business financing in Canada. They are as follows:
- Factoring is very intrusive to my customers and suppliers (NOT NECESSARILY!)
- All factoring companies are essentially the same (WRONG!)

Before we examine these two popular business misconceptions lets take a very brief step back and recap what receivable factoring is.

Canadian business, more than ever, needs cash flow and working capital to survive. Many traditional sources have either disappeared, dried up, so to speak, or simply are not available in the current business climate. Primarily we are of course referring to generous bank lines of credit for receivables and inventory. Business must go on, so how do business owners resolve these temporary cash crunches. One alternative is factoring. The other alternative is a term loan, which has fixed payments, and generally extends for a period of three to five years. So the business owner must decide whether to focus on short term working capital – i.e. a factoring solution, or permanent working capital via a term loan or more owner equity.
So now let’s debunk out two myths surround factoring.

In a traditional what we will call the U.S. model of factoring we will agree that factoring, otherwise known as receivable discounting is in fact intrusive. The factor firm has the ability to in essence take control of your entire receivables function, including invoicing your customers with notification from themselves, dunning letters and calls for collection, and the insistence of payments being made directly to their firm. Is this intrusive – we certainly think so.

Is this the only alternative for Canadian business – absolutely not? Prudent business owners will seek the advice of an experienced, trusted, and credible advisor in business financing who will structure a facility that allows them to collect their own receivables. Under this scenario they will reap the benefits of factoring ( Immediate cash, increased working capital ) while at the same time preserving customer good will . So the bottom line is, yes, if you enter into the wrong type of facility, factoring will be deemed intrusive, but you have options and you should investigate those with professional assistance.

Now let’s cover our final misconception – ‘all factoring firms are the same’. The reality is that if you are not an expert in this unique form of business financing then you can probably be forgiven for having talked to a few firms and drawn the conclusion they have the same product and service offering.

The reality – Nothing could be further from the truth. Factor firms in Canada are sorted by geography, ownership (many are just branches of U.S. and U.K.operations) their own capital and borrowing structure, and, most importantly, how they do business on a day to day with you and your customers. When we talk to clients about factoring solutions we recommend they focus on firms that have a nominal holdback, competitive rates, and , most importantly, are comfortable in allowing you to do your own billing and collecting . Naturally at the same time you are in a position to reap the key benefits of receivable financing, which is cash flow and working capital leverage you did not have.

Talk to an expert, sort out the good from the not so good, and focus on a receivable financing facility that meets your cash flow and growth needs. That’s solid business financing.



Equipment Capital – Financing Options you didn’t know you had

Equipment Capital and the financing that’s required to complete asset acquisitions is a large part of the Canadian equipment financing puzzle . Business owners in Canada want to stay ahead of the competition and technology curve – to do that they require computers, machinery, and other assets that can help to grow revenues and profits.

Lease financing is one key method that allows that to happen. At the heart of the equipment capital lease financing solution is the premise that business owners want to use equipment and assets for a specified period of time, while at the same time not wanting to outlay huge amounts of capital and use line of credit facilities that otherwise might be used in day to day working capital facilities .

To put it simply, business owners and financial managers want to use assets, but they don’t necessarily want to pay to own them – and they certainly don’t want to mis – appropriate large amounts of capital as down payments or payment in full for ownership of a depreciating asset.

The hard reality is that equipment capital and lease financing is available to every business in Canada, whether you are a start up or a major Financial Post 100 corporation.

In today’s competitive environment it’s all about staying ahead of the curve, and business owners want to ensure they have the fixed assets in place that will allow them to grow profits and revenues.

Accountants and miscellaneous financial advisors will also tell you about the other benefits of equipment capital financing, which include balance sheet benefits and income statement benefits re taxes, depreciation, etc. Those truly are great benefits, but the bottom line is that when you acquire assets through a leasing you are profiting form use, not ownership, and we advise clients that is a very powerful statement.

All business owners and financial managers know that it’s all about cash flow, and your ability to both save on capital outlay and acquire much needed assets is the key benefit of equipment capital leasing.

When you are well informed about lease financing options in Canada you have the ability to enter into lease contracts which have several other benefits – i.e. you can finance delivery, installation, maintenance, etc. Prudent business owners will match the term of their lease to the expected use of the equipment. For example, why would you buy computers outright, or mistakenly lease them for 5 years, when in fact the reality of computing is that you will replace them every 24 months or so, if not sooner . That’s what lease financing flexibility is about. In many industries prudent business owner’s use lease financing as a roll over strategy – they continually on a regular pre determined basis acquire new assets which are rolled over into a new lease arrangement.

Utilize equipment capital and lease financing wisely – understand your options, and work with a trusted advisor in this area of Canadian business financing. Use asset acquisition as a key strategy to remain both competitive and profitable.



Receivable Factoring – Three Things You Didn’t Know About Factoring

Canadian business owners are demanding more information on receivable factoring and how factoring services can help their working capital and cash flow needs. When we talk to clients we talk about several myths and misconceptions about factoring in Canada .

Let explore some of those myths, misconceptions and mis understandings.

1. Factoring is pledging your receivables - (Wrong!)

2. Factoring is expensive (We will let you decide!)

3. Canadian factoring services are the same as in the U.S.( Not necessarily)

1. Factoring is pledging your receivables - This is a popular misconception around receivable financing. Some of the misconceptions revolve around the fact that various terminologies are used to describe factoring – these include invoice discounting, receivable financing, etc. The reality is that factoring is the sale of your receivables for immediate cash. In effect your company sells its receivables and your firm gets immediate, almost same day, (often same day) working capital and cash flow for your business. The factor firm benefits as they make an immediate profit on the purchase of that receivable. We should point out that customers in Canada can sell one receivable or all their receivable; they have that option and often don’t necessarily know that. The transaction becomes extremely favorable to the factor firm based on the amount of holdback you negotiate on your transaction. Many factor firms hold back up to 20% of the receivable and don’t give those funds back to you until your customer pays.

2. Factoring is Expensive: This is clearly at the top of the list of every discussion we have with customers around factoring. The reality is that customers view the cost of factoring as an interest rate, while the industry itself views it as a discount on the sale of the receivable. Discount rates in Canada vary from 9% per annum to 2-3% per month.

So yes, if you as a business owner view the factors ‘ charge ‘ as a finance interest rate you will perceive it as expensive . What Canadian business owners don’t do is to reflect how much it actually costs them to carry receivables for 30, and sometime 90 days. And, get ready for this – they also many times don’t realize they can use the immediate same day cash they get for their receivables to take prompt payment discounts with their suppliers, and, furthermore to negotiate better pricing and larger purchases with valued suppliers . We have know some customers do totally 100% eliminate the entire cost of factoring by buying smarter and better and paying suppliers on a 2% 10 day scenario. That is true cash flow power!

3. Factoring came to Canada from the U.S. and Europe. It was very slow to catch on and is catching on very quickly these days, aided of course by the overall global credit crunch of 2008 and 2009 – We are still in that crunch of course and business financing is still difficult to achieve for small and medium sized business in Canada. Factor firms in Canada vary in size, and many are simply branches of foreign operations. We believe a Canadian factor firm who understands the needs of Canadian business is best suited to your needs. Each factor firm has a different way of doing business, has a daily paper flow that differs often substantially, and prices their rates and holdbacks (remember the holdback!) in a different manner.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced financing advisor who will ensure you working capital and cash flow needs will be met by such a facility. Use the facility wisely to grow profits and cash flow.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Inventory Financing as a Working Capital Solution

If your Canadianfirm is ‘ inventory intensive ‘ then an inventory financing solution has to be an optimal part of your overall working capital strategy . Unfortunately it has probably never been more difficult to access the amount of financing you need for inventory in order to maintain and grow sales and profits.

Let’s review some of the key basics and then outline what types of solutions are available to your firm.The essence of inventory financing is simply the ability of your firm to generate a short term advance, or operating facility based on the amount of inventory you have on hand. A couple of key concepts come into play here. One is simply valuation – meaning of course there has to some agreement between you and an inventory financier as to what value can be placed on inventory.

We can appreciate to a certain degree the conundrum that Canadian chartered banks have with inventory – which is simply -how do we understand it! There are hundreds of different industries and business models in Canada, and the ability of any one entity to understand what the value of a certain industry inventory is, and more important, how it could be remarketed in liquidation is of course the challenge. As a result, as we have inferred, the banks have tended to shy away from advancing any significant amount of financing against inventory.When financing is in fact advance it tends to be very formulaic, and, similar to the receivables advance, very focused on your overall operational, financial, and collateral situation.

What Canadian business owners actually need is for a true inventory lender to work with them to understand what the maximum amount of funding can be given against ongoing inventory on hand.Again we will raise one other technical point, which is when we talk to inventory it can be in the form ofraw material, work in progress, or finished goods. Those three categories alone of course require a whole additional subset of lender knowledge.

Fortunately there are firms in Canada who are very focused oninventory financing – in some cases these can be in the form of floor plan financing , although the purpose of our information here is pure inventory financing .

We recommend clients work with a trusted, credible, and experienced advisor in this area – one who can deliver an inventory solution that either compliments your existing financing arrangements, or, in some cases perhaps replacing your current financing with a very focused and specialized asset based line of credit that maximizes the total value of your receivables and inventory.

When inventory plays a key role in your company’s sales process your ability to generate cash flow and working capital on an ongoing basis against this asset will ultimately prove to be a major competitive advantage for on going growth and profits



Financing Film Tax Refunds for Filming in Canada

Financing film tax refunds on Canadian productions is currently an integral part of the overall financing for projects in film, television, and animation in Canada. Those in the know are aware that typically a valid tax credit can be financing almost immediately after production has been completed.

An even more little know fact , (and we are surprised at the number of people that don’t know this ) is that if you tax credit is certifiable and you are somewhat experienced in the industry your tax credit can actually be financing during your production, bringing much needed cash flow and working capital to your project .

When we meet with clients we are not of course surprised to hear that a large part of their total project involvement in the 3 key areas (film, TV, and digital animation) is spent on sourcing financing for their project. While the overall financing environment has improved considerably in 2010 (and boy has those great government tax credit increases helped) it is still a challenge for most productions to cobble together financing for the entire project.

There are, of course, a number of options and strategies available to owners of any particular production. Our focus here in our information is primarily the monetizing of the increased and generous tax credits that come in the form on non repayable cheques from the government. Your ability to monetize, (we can say ‘cash flow ‘) those credits is a key part of the industry today.
Tax credit financing is usually done in conjunction with the other forms of financing in our three key focus areas. Those other types of financing of course include equity, pre-sales, etc.

In order to finance your tax credit certain key elements must exist. The one key area to focus on is certification and eligibility, with criteria being a bit different, but essentially the same, depending on which proving your production is domiciled in. Ontario and B.C. seem to garner most of the action...

Owners that surround themselves with solid accounting and legal partners and who have a clean special purpose entity set up are 90% of the way there! What we are really saying is that if your production is eligible, and you have documented your bidets and costs carefully, and they are cleanly with a separate legal entity (preferable) you are safe to assume you can have your tax credit financed.

We strongly recommend that you work with someone who is at trusted, experienced and credible advisor in this area who will work with you to maximize the total dollars that you can derive out of your tax credit. Naturally a clean tax credit represents 100% of the dollars due to your production. To err on the side of safety and conservatism tax credits are generally financed at 50-80% loan to value. (There are exceptions on the upside and downside as always!). No payments are made on your financing, and final financing costs come out of the final receipt of funds form the government, with any additional balances left over due to your production of course.

The ability to finance your production creatively, with the assistance of the monetization of your tax credit is a powerful strategy not available in all parts of the world , due in most part of course to the generous non repayable credits the Canadian government as deemed for the industry . Utilize tax credit financing to improve the overall success of your projects.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sred Credits – How To Finance Your Claim for Immediate Cash Flow

Canadian business owners and financial manager who file for sred credits are often not aware that these claims can be financed in order to generate working capital and cash flow out of the claim. They are even more surprised to hear that it is actually possible under most conditions to obtain financing even prior to financing the claim.

What could be a better working capital and cash flow strategy than getting immediate cash flow for a government grant that is non repayable? We frankly can think of no other risk free way to bring valuable cash funds into your company if you are utilizing this great govenremnt programme.

Let’s establish some bedrock around what we are talking about. The programmes formal name of course is the Scientific Research and Experimental Development aka ‘(SR&ED) ‘program that is funded by the federal and provincial governments. Each SRED claim has a federal and provincial portion, and, combined, they provided you with a non- repayable tax credit for a significant amount of the funds you spend on qualifying R&D and business processes.

Many clients we work with have their claims prepared on a contingency basis – that simply is letting someone else , known as a sred consultant , prepare you claim and letting them absorb all ( yes all ) of the cost of that claim . When you finance a sred claim you can actually arrange to have the sred consultant paid at the same time also.

SRED claims continue to be on the rise in Canada, and when you couple the filing of those claims with a somewhat challenging financial environment for business financing you have a perfect storm, so to speak, for the consideration of financing your claim.

The financing of sred claims is the ultimate ‘boutique ‘financing business in Canada. We urge clients to work with a business financing advisor who can ensure they are receivable maximum funds and market rates, terms and structures for the amount of the claim.

Clients want to know how ‘complex ‘a sred financing is. The reality is that you should view a sred tax credit financing in exactly the same manner as any business financing, other than to understand perhaps that the main collateral on the sred loan is really the claim itself. We use the word ‘sred loan ‘but in reality the sred financing brings no debt to the balance sheet – you are simply monetizing your claim for cash flow and working capital now.

The essence of the entire process can be simply described under the following process

- sred financing application
- due diligence
- legal/documentation
- Funding!!

It’s as simple as that, and we advise most clients the entire process can be completed within a few weeks, which is standard for most business financings anyways.

You would only want to consider sred financing if in fact you don’t want to way from 1-12 months, (sometimes longer) for your grant cheque from the government. As a Canadian business that is growing you probably have much better uses of those funds now, including reducing payables, investing in even more r&d, acquiring new business assets, etc .

Consider sred tax credit financing as one more toolkits you have in your overall business strategy. Work with an expert and maximize the amount of your return and the overall most effective use of that essentially free cash flow and working capital.



Friday, June 25, 2010

Franchise Financing and Franchise Loans for Canadian Entreprenuers

Franchise financing in Canada is the final step in the puzzle for entrepreneurs who are hoping to start a successful business buy purchasing a new or existing franchise in Canada. Many clients we meet with tend to address the financing issues around their purchase much too late in the game, and by doing some carefull planning and research they could have significantly increased their chances of financing success.

The beauty of purchasing as franchise, as it relates to financing, is that as a business owner you are able to determine in advance the total amount of financing you will need to complete the purchase and open the doors to your business.
In Canada all small business financing for entrepreneurs is a challenge, and that certainly doesn’t eliminate the franchise industry. But the reality is tar franchising is viewed very positively by a number of organizations who like the fact that your business tends to be a proven business model that has a greater chance of financial success based on the infrastructure and marketing assistance of your franchisor.

There are 4 components to franchise financing in Canada, and our experience and advice to entrepreneurs is that that must in effect choose the appropriate mix of financing, as in general no one financing mechanism can suit both the full purchase of the franchise and the ongoing needs of your business.

So what are those four components? They are as follows:

Owner’s personal investment
Govt BIL loan
Equipment financing (if needed)
Third party working capital loan

The cornerstone of your financing is always the amount of your personal investment in the business. A couple key points need to be made here. They are as follows:

- The amount of your personal investment may in fact be mandated by your franchisor – they might insist on you having a threshold of net worth and personal liquidity based on their experience as to what makes a franchise unit in their chain successful

- When you put more money in on your own, as opposed to borrowing you limit the general business risk of having too much debt (However..!! We have met with many franchisees who put too much personal equity in the business are tapped out personally when additional financial challenges arise )

- Debt and equity is a balance act – it’s a balancing act for a corporation such as General Motors, as well as for your new franchise – we suggest you work with a trusted, experienced and credible advisor in this area to develop the right mix of debt and equity – i.e. how much you borrow, how much you put in.

Boy scouts use the motto ‘be prepared ‘of course, and you should plan on the financing well in advance of your purpose. Many franchisees we meet with are ‘ behind the gun ‘ in closing their transaction because they don’t have simple basics such as a business plan, cash flow plan, list of equipment and leaseholds they need, etc . Planning is a good thing; in franchise financing it’s a required thing!

Consider your franchise investment carefully, work with a trusted advisor, understand how franchises are financed, and finally, develop the right mix of financing that allows you to complete the acquisition and grow your new business for future sales and profits.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why an Asset Based Lender Is Your Working Capital Solution

When we ask clients if they will consider an asset based lender for a working capital refinancing many business owners will come back with a surprise questions for us – namely ‘ What is an Asset Based Lender , and what do they do?’

Asset based lending in Canada is still relatively speaking a fairly new for of business financing. Business owners and financial managers are moving to this form of financing for several reasons which we will discuss.

As the name implies the financing it focuses on your business assets. All sizes of companies in Canada can utilize asset financing – even start ups. Practices vary within the industry as to how the financing works on a day to day basis – frankly this is one of the biggest challenges that owners face, i.e. understanding the offering in the Canadian marketplace. (Asset based lending, or ‘ABL ‘is very commonplace in the U.S. )

Rates in Canada vary all over the place for these types of financing. The size of your financing as well as the overall perceived ‘ quality ‘ of the transaction ( as perceived by the lender, not yourself!) dictate financing rates – In Canada Abl financing cost vary from 9%/annum to , on many occasions 2% per month . Although the financing is generally more costly it has repositioned many firms for survival and growth – simply because it brings more working capital and cash flow into your business.
The asset based lender only has one focus (your bank has two focuses). That focus is on the ‘true’ value and size of your underlying assets.

Let’s use a quick example to demonstrate the true power of asset based lines of credit. Let’s pick a sample company with say 4 Million in revenue, with the following asset size categories:

Receivables – 300k

Inventory - 250k

Equipment (unencumbered) – 400k

It is extremely common, using the asset sizes above that the firm’s bank might offer up a 225k line of credit for the receivables. For discussion purposes lets say they provided another 75k based on the personal guarantees of the owners. That’s a total of 300k. We can assure readers this would be a very common formula for a Canadian chartered bank, i.e. 75% on receivables, with no financing provided against inventory, etc.

So how an asset would based lender look at this transaction. Remarkable the line of credit provided could be in the 500k range, as an ABL lender would advance against receivables, 40% against inventory, as an example, and would also assess some value in the equipment and provide working capital financing against that.

So while the company’s asset size stayed the same the firm came close to doubling working capital and cash flow under the asset based lender. That is true working capital power.

Although the majority of asset based loans are used for straight working capital and operating facilities, many times they can be structured to allow for a major restructuring or merger and / or acquisition. Again, assets are leveraged to produce cash.
Investigate an asset based lender solution. Although sometimes more costly they provide a source of capital and do not directly affect your overall balance sheet – you are simply leveraged operating capital to the max.

Talk to a credible, trusted, and experienced advisor in this area of Canadian business - that is a solid Canadian business financing strategy for future profits and growth.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sources of Working Capital Financing for Canadian Business

Canadian business owners and financials managers need to know potential sources of working capital financing to ensure they can grow and profit from sales opportunities. Operating capital is viewed as one of the most critical aspects of ongoing financial liquidity; simply put, the ability to meet your short term and long term obligations.

Most financial people agree that if your business has more access to working capital your chances of overall financial success are greatly increased. The bottom line is that you have the working capital to expand and grow your business.

The textbooks of course have a definition for working capital, however the real world use and understanding of that term differs somewhat. Finance books tell us working capital is calculated by subtracting current liabilities from your current assets. The major current assets are receivables and inventory. When we meet with clients to discuss their working capital needs we focus moreso on two issues within those working capital components that the finance textbooks don’t really touch on?

- Turnover of working capital

- Margining of working capital

So the key point for business owners is not really what the text books says, it is that you need to be able to understand how to convert these assets into cash . We do of course agree thought that positive working capital (what you have) is better than negative working capital (what you owe)!

Sitting down with clients and working through changes in their working capital is one of the most valuable tools in understanding your current and future cash flow needs.

A fine balancing act is created, on in which you are liquidating your receivables and inventory on an ongoing basis, but at the same time managing to keep your short term obligations to suppliers current.

Another hard reality of business financing is that working capital varies by company and in general by industry. The amount of turnover in inventory and A/R varies considerably in every business.

We have discussed the definition and importance of working capital. So what are the sources of those funds? In a perfect world your company should have an overdraft or operating line of credit with the bank. The is the cheapest and lowest cost method of financing short term cash and working capital needs in Canada. The challenge is of course being able to meet the banks criteria for lending, which include personal guarantees, additional collateral possible, and imposed loan covenants and ratios.

A growing and more popular solution is asset based lending, this has little focus on the bank qualities demanded by Chartered banks and is more focused on what we discussed above, your firms ability to margin and leverage current assets and turn them over more quickly, thereby increasing sales and profits, albeit at a higher financing cost s. For smaller firms this might simply be a factoring or invoice discounting solution.

Ultimately each Canadian business owner must understand their working capital needs and determine which solution works best for them. Plan for growth, and Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced financing advisor to understand what sources of capital are available and which work best for your company.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Equipment Financing Canada Best Commercial Equipment Lease Solutions for Canadian Business

Canadian business owners and financial managers continually are searching for the best equipment financing structures for their asset acquisitions. Commercial equipment lease solutions offer the benefits those business owners are looking for. The only challenge of course if to navigate the minefield of knowing who to deal with, what criteria are required to get approved, and what rates and structures and overall terms best suit your firms needs .

Asset acquisition of new equipment is one of the most logical ways of staying ahead of the competition and technology curve – whether your firm is in the high tech industry or at the opposite end of the spectrum as one of our clients are, manufacturing nails for the lumber industry and selling into big box stores .

Not only are those asset acquisitions expensive, they run the risk of utilizing too much of your valuable working capital and cash flow. You want the benefits of use of the asset, but not the inherent ownership risks – that’s why leasing has always been the most valuable method of acquiring assets for your business.

The benefits of lease financing are often touted – they seem quite logical – you have minimal cash outlay, you are working within defined operating budgets, and if you are savvy about constructing your lease properly you can avoid the issue of asset obsolescence, which is the greatest fear of many business owners – they don’t want to outlay significant cash and working capital for assets that will be obsolete and not relevant to their business model.

Many clients tell us that both their accountants and lawyers recommend lease financing solutions for all those reasons, they also point out the equipment financing can , with a properly prepared business case and application, be prepared in days .

As we pointed out previously the benefits of lease financing and commercial equipment acquisitions (whether it be computers or plant equipment) are significant. The everyday business challenge is simply – “”How do I effect this type of solution? Who can I talk to for advice in rates, terms and structures?””

We recommend that all clients speak to a trusted, credible and experienced commercial equipment financing specialist who can guide them thru the minefield of Canadian lease financing. By properly preparing your financial statements and business application, and being very focused on the type of lease you want (there are two types – capital and operating) you can achieve the benefits you want in a very short period of time. We have not really discussed that quite often equipment financing is the only alternative to bank term loan financing, and understanding the benefits and requirements of each of those proposed solutions requires solid advice and guidance .

Focus on cash flow, benefits of the asset acquisition, and the structure and payment terms that will allow your firm to increase revenue and profits. That’s the definition of solid commercial equipment lease solution financing in Canada.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Commercial Factoring And Receivable Financing Strategies in Canada

Canadian business owners and financial managers can be forgiven for getting confused when they hear about ‘commercial factoring ‘of accounts receivable as a financing strategy that is recommended for both growth and business financing survival.

Part of this confusion comes simply from the fact that this relatively new business financing strategy goes under several names – those names include invoice discounting, receivable financing, etc. In reality they all of course are talking about the same financing strategy – which is the sale of your receivables for immediate cash to another party, generally a ‘factoring company ‘.
The sale of these accounts receivable causes two occurrences, a profit for the factoring company, (generally between 1-3%) and immediate cash for your firm, which is the seller and owner of the receivables your firm has generated.

In Canada we feel the main challenge for the acceptance of this strategy is the entire concept of who collects the receivable, i.e. your firm which sold the product or service, or the factoring company. The Canadian business marketplace has been somewhat slower to accept commercial factoring as a true traditional business financing strategy because of the optics of who collects the receivable. In years gone by it were only ‘financially troubled’ firms that utilized this strategy. That has clearly changed and factoring of various types is utilized by small start ups to some of Canada’s major corporations.

When we meet with clients who are considering a receivable financing working capital facility it is very easy to explain the immediate benefits - these of course include working capital and cash flow generation. However the type of facility you enter into, what firm you work with, and how this facility works on a day to day basis is really the essence of the key points that we focus on when a client contemplates this type of financing.

The ‘cost ‘of factoring should be a key discussion point in contemplation of such a financing. Unless you are a large already very credit worthy corporation your factoring costs will range from 1-3% per month. Factors that should take into account are the length of time that your customers take to pay yourself, and your ability to sustain the additional financing costs. There is a bottom line here, and that is simply hat you should have sufficient gross margin on your product or service that allows you to bear these additional costs. Customers think of these costs as the ‘ interest rate ‘ on the transaction – this is really not valid because commercial factoring is not a debt financing per se, it is simply the liquidating of your receivables at an agreed upon discount . At the end of the day whether it’s perceived as a ‘ rate ‘ or a ‘ discount ‘ it still needs to be build into your profitability and cash flows budgets .

Is commercial factoring and receivable financing a recommended strategy? It is if you can immediately benefit from cash flow and working capital. It makes even more sense when you can utilized those funds (often received the same day as you invoice) to take advantages of supplier discounts and improved purchasing power. We have known some customers that have gained 100% cash flow benefits by immediate sale of their receivable, while at the same time utilizing those funds to reduce almost all of their discount factor fees. That’s true cash flow power.

Is there a bottom line? It’s simply that you should investigate commercial factoring, determine which benefits might work for you – while at the same time assessing costs and how the facility will work on a day to day basis. If it makes sense at that point work with a trusted, credible and experienced advisor to implement this relatively new cash flow solution for Canadian business .



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Inventory Loans and Purchase Order Loans – How does Inventory Financing Work in Canada

Inventory Loans in Canada and inventory and purchase order financing are subsets of a specialized industry that many refer to as asset based lending.

As sales and new order opportunities grow many Canadian business owners and financial mangers find that financing these to critical areas (inventory / p.o.’s) is increasingly become in a challenge. We advise clients that if these two critical areas of finance were a challenge in past times, that challenge is certainly magnified ten times over in the current global and Canadian business environment.

Are there specific solutions for inventory and purchase order financing in Canada. Yes there are, that’s the good news, but these are very limited and specialized in nature. We encourage all clients to speak to a trusted, credible, and experienced business financing advisor in this area who can provide guidance, assistance, and most importantly clarification on how this type of financing is achieved.

Inventory and purchase order financing in Canada extends beyond traditional Canadian chartered banks, who wrestle with the ability to truly understand a customer’s inventory component as a key part of working capital. (Working capital is derived from the continual conversion on inventory into accounts receivable).

Purchase order financing can be accomplished when your firm has the ability to generate sufficient orders from a major client, or clients, who are creditworthy. You must also be prepared to convince the inventory and p.o. finance firm that your company has the ability to fulfill customer orders successfully. Starts ups in Canada can achieve inventory and p.o. financing, but be forewarned that management must have a strong background in the industry – you have to demonstrate you can perform and deliver.

The financing of inventory and purchase orders is achieved via a direct payment or payments that made to your suppliers for product you need in order to fulfill orders and contracts. For Canadian customers this more and more means that key suppliers may well is located in the U.S., and in many cases, China. This does not deter the inventory and p.o. lender, but you must be in a position to show that you have sufficient gross margin ( i.e. profit !) in your business model in order to be able to withstand the additional financing charges that come with inventory and p.o. finance .

Also, unbeknownst to many business owners, the inventory and p.o. finance firm likes to generally get paid when an invoice to your customer is generated by your company to your customer. This requires that you have banking or factoring facility in place to convert receivables into cash, in order that the inventory and p.o. lender can be a paid.

We encourage all customers to take some time and understand the total costs of such a facility – you need to remember that your firm will bear financing costs for , often, between 60-90 days from the time you get and order, obtain product from your supplier, manufacture and / or ship the order, and, last but not least, wait to get paid ! Inventory and P.o. financing can be expensive, but naturally the alternative to avoiding this type of financing means simply lost order, opportunities, customers, etc. No Canadian firm chooses to become less competitive by virtue of not wanting to incur finance charges to convert new sales into profits.

Speak to an inventory and finance expert – understand the basis paper flow and the charges involved in this unique method of business financing. Turn inventory and purchase order and new contract challenges into increased revenue and profits to promote your competitive edge.



Independent Film and Movie Financing Via Tax Credits in Canada

It certainly might look like somewhere in Hollywood, but the reality is that much film, and television projects are produced and filmed in Hollywood North, a.k.a Canada.

The Canadian government at both the federal and provincial levels has moved to significantly enhance the generosity around tax credits. Business owners of film, television, and yes animation also can utilize these tax credits to form an integral part o their overall project financing strategy.

A very significant portion of your project expenses can be recovered via the appropriate use of tax credits. Moreover, you can finance these claim prior to, or at the time of filing. This generates working capital and cash flow for the current project, and in many cases we speak to clients who intend to use these funds for their next project.

It can be very realistically stated the may projects in film, tv, and digital animation in fact could perhaps not be funded or completed without the effective use of tax credits . When you can ‘ monetize ‘ or ‘ cash flow ‘ those credits now you have just taken advantage of a powerful overall project financing strategy! As a result all areas of Canadian entertainment in our three aforementioned market segments continue to generate box office revenue in Canada. What was a new and innovative strategy in years past now becomes a priority ‘ job 1 ‘ in the financing of almost every project .

Entertainment projects in film, tv and animation clearly ‘ follow the money ‘ and that money has been followed to Canada in a number of different provinces – primarily Ontario and B.C. , but in other provinces also .

While there is great pressure in many of the U.S. states to reduce, or in some cases eliminate tax credit incentives Canada has in fact increased incentives in every area – the government has essentially based its case that there is a huge economic windfall to Canada by virtue of the tax incentives offered . The term ‘ domino theory ‘ might well be mentioned, because the way the Canadian government sees it additional revenue comes into Canada in the form of hotels, food, carpentry, etc

So how are these tax credits financed? In any business your probably are ahead of the game when you work with an expert, and certainly tax credit finance is no different. We recommend to clients they work with a trusted, credible and experienced advisor in this area. When you project is well documented in the form of a project finance plan , and has solid Canadian content in key areas such as Director, Writer, Performers, Art, Music or Animation you have a very significant ability to enhance your total claim for the credit. (Other key areas of your total project are of course: Equity contribution via owners or investors, foreign pre sales, etc)

Your eligible tax credits can be financed as soon as they are filed – if you have a strong mgmt team – i.e. a good entertainment accountant, lawyer, etc, your credits can even be financed before you file them. That’s a total cash flow strategy that provides valuable cash flow and working capital to you project.

Let’s look at a quick example – let’s assume your production is budgeted at 1.04 Million dollars, and your labour component is 571k. Your labour to production ratio is 54%. Using Ontario as a current example the tax credit on this project would come in at 45% of your labour budget – That nets you 257,000.00$ in capital .If you finance your claim you could receive a significant portion of those funds almost immediately .

Utilize the services of a film financing expert to investigate the financing of your tax credits. Prepare a solid project finance plan and let the cash flow from monetizing your credits enhance the viability of your project.



Saturday, June 19, 2010

SR&ED Tax Financing – New SRED Loan Strategies

SR&ED tax Credits continue to be a strategic method in which Canadian business can both stay competitive and at the same time take advantage of the governments non repayable grants . Most parties agree this is probably the most beneficial grant program in Canada, bar none.

Not only is the program applicable to almost every industry in Canada, but at the same time business owners and financial managers can compound the power of this program by financing their claim. Get cash for my SR ED claim now? Asks Canadian business. The answer is an unqualified yes.

Let’s recap some of the key aspects of the program as they relate to your ability to ‘monetize ‘your tax credit into real cash flow and working capital now. Also, let’s recap and focus on some current issues in your ability to access and maximize your SRED claim.

If you aren’t filing a Sred claim you certainly can’t finance one. The Canadian government, both federally and provincially reimburse billions of dollars annually to Canadian business in all industries. A few industries seem more tailors made than others for SRED claims, example: Software and information technology. But the reality is your firm can be a commercial bakery, a sign company, or an industrial manufacturer. The bottom line is that almost every industry is eligible in some manner.

Government grants SRED dollars in its own interest to allow Canadian companies to become more competitive and profitable.
Your claim of course needs to be prepared by a knowledgeable third party. In Canada this essentially is an accountant who is proficient in SRED or a third party commonly called a SRED consultant. In many cases some consultants specialize in only certain industries, which is a plus.

Recently changes in the entire SR&ED process can both help and hinder your firm in maximizing your total sred credit. Naturally the larger the claims the more amount of cash that you can finance under a tax credit financing.
Canada Revenue Agency has instituted new forms for the claim. Forms are found online at the government website, and in some cases have dramatically simplified your ability to file and explain and back up your claim. For example, the new online from limits the overall technical description of our claim to only 1400 words.

In general almost 75% of claims are not fully audited, and are therefore approved and somewhat fast tracked for refund.
How do some of the new forms and rules affect your ability to finance your claim? When it comes to financing your sred claim it is critical to work with an experienced, credible, and trusted third party. Claims are generally financed at 70% of their overall value. Therefore your ability to have your claim fully document, prepared by a credible third party, and fast tracked into the ‘non audit ‘75% of all claim range is a solid sred financing strategy .

Naturally just because your claim might undergo a sred audit does not mean it is not financeable. The reality is that your claim if it is strong and supportable will be approved and therefore can be financed.
We referenced that claims are financed at 70%. That simply means that the larger your claim you can receive immediately, on financing approval .70 cents on the dollar for your claim. You of course still receive the rest of the claim, less financing costs, when your calim is approved and funded by Ottawa

The entire sred tax credit financing process is very similar to any other business financing. You should not approach it unlike any other financing your firm might contemplate – there is a basic application, which is of course supported by your actual technical claim. The sred loan is collateralized by your claim, as we have stated. Typically a financing can be completed within a couple of weeks, which allows time for application, any due diligence that might be required, as well as documentation and registration of the claim.

If you are filing sred claims in Canada you are among the 15% of businesses that are eligible for this non repayable grant – why not compound the power of that government benefit and consider financing your claim. Accelerate your cash flow and working capital and utilize those funds for any general corporate purpose . A recent firm we worked with chose to finance their sr&ed claim simply because they had seasonal cash flow – they didn’t want to wait for many months for their cheque – and intend to utilize those funds for general business growth and working capital .

So whats our bottom line ? Its simply that you should take advantage of the funding under the program, and you may wish to consider monetizing your grant into cash flow now . That’s innovation in both your product and services, as well as your financing strategy! Utilize your funding to accelerate more research and use the cash flow for further growth and development .



Friday, June 18, 2010

Franchise Financing - How Franchise Finance Works in Canada

Franchise Financing becomes critical to a prospective franchisee after he or she has made their selection to purchase a franchise. At that point clients always ask us - ‘How does franchise finance work in Canada?’

Naturally a large amount of time hopefully has been spent, as well as care! , in selecting the right business investment opportunity. Only one simply question remains, how does one pay for or finance the business.

One of the key aspects of that question is the type and size of the business you are purchasing.In some cases you are even considering perhaps purchasing an existing franchise from a current business owner who wishes to move on for whatever reason. (It is sometimes good to know why that owner wishes to sell of course.)

Size and type of business dictates the amount of financing you will need in Canada. We could generally lump franchise business models into two categories - service related businesses, or asset intensive businesses.Let’s choose a quick example - if you are buying a mobile furniture repair business all you need is a truck, some products and inventory, and you are in business. However, the purchase of a major restaurant franchise could involve hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars in leaseholds, assets, equipment, and on occasion even real estate.

So if finances are limited that might be one of the factors that you might want to consider focusing on a service business that is not asset intensive. Naturally just the type of business you purchase shouldn’t solely be driven around what you can afford; there are other factors to take into consideration also. These might include your personal interest in the industry, or even more importantly, your expertise. Example: Not everyone is cut out to be a restaurateur and deal with the public all day.

When financing a franchise you should also focus in on two key points - what funds do you need to acquire the business, and , as importantly, why financing is required on an ongoing basis for what finance people term as ‘ working capital ‘ . This would include ongoing investments you need to make in inventory, accounts receivable (if you are selling to a business) and in some cases equipment.

There are a handful of key options you can utilize to finance your purchase of a franchise. In Canada we can break these down into a few key components. The first component, and it’s a requirement also, is your own investment of capital into the business. No one will finance a business where the owner has not put in some capital. The majority of franchises in Canada are financed by a unique government guaranteed loan that is technically called the BIL programme. This program has attractive rates, terms and structures, but at the same time requires a lot of careful planning.

Because franchise financing in Canada is a niche industry we encourage clients to work with a respected, trusted, and experienced advisor in this area. The assistance you will get with cash flow planning, financing options, and access to franchise capital could make or break your overall success.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Construction Manufacturing Equipment Financing – Options for New and Used Equipment

Construction Manufacturing Equipment Financing plays a huge role in the Canadian economy. Business owners and financial managers such as you want to ensure they have the best leasing and financing options available to them – It has continually been proven that financing equipment via leasing is a very cost effective option.

One of the many important features of such a financing is the ability to match his term of the lease with your expected use and residual value of the equipment. Generally equipment lease financing for used and new manufacturing equipment can be arranged for terms varying from 3 to 5 years.

No one knows better than the business owner what the useful expected equipment life of the asset will be, and we encourage clients to match the term of the lease financing transaction with the economic life of the asset. The reality is of course that construction manufacturing assets have significantly longer useful expected values – (as compared to assets such as computers!)

We encourage clients to work with a trusted, credible and experienced lease financing advisor. The benefit of such knowledge can save you many thousands of dollars based on the overall rate, term and structure of your lease transaction.

There are of course other financing options when it comes to the acquisition of such assets – those options could include a government small business loan or a term loan from a bank. While these might have a lower rate to the overall transaction they come with much more stringent credit criteria – heavy emphasis is placed on the balance sheet and income statement of your firm. Leasing in general places a larger emphasis on the expected value of the asset during the term and at the end of the lease.

Many customers don’t realize that some of the additional costs that relate to the acquisition of used and or new construction manufacturing equipment can also be financed – these include maintenance, installation, shipment, etc. That’s a huge cash flow and working capital benefit.

In certain cases your firm might already own such assets and you might want to consider leverage them through a sale leaseback for additional cash flow and working capital. That is a very solid financing strategy that many firms have taken advantage of over the last year, as cash flow and working capital availability tightened significantly during the global credit crisis of 2008 and 2009. Owners simply adopted a strategy of leveraging their equity in assets to stay liquid and competitive.
Many financial mangers simply view lease financing of such assets as a solid cash flow strategy, you minimize payments and match them to the overall benefits of the equipment you are acquiring.

Seek a trusted advisor. Focus on which benefits of lease financing are most important to your firm. Structure and acquisition that makes sense form a cash flow, rate, and term structure based on the value of the asset and your current financial condition. That is solid business planning for growth.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working Capital Financing – Canadian Corporate Financing Solutions

As a Canadian business owner or financial manager you are still somewhat bullish on sales and profit growth for 2010 – at the same time that growth requires working capital financing and corporate financing solutions that at times seem very challenging to achieve.

The reality is that small, medium, and even to some extent large corporations in Canada is demanding more access to working capital and cash flow financing – while at the same time the typical institutions who provide this capital are in fact denying access to many facilities that are required.

Business owners do not need to be told or hear about the difficulty and challenges in acquiring working capital facilities. Most firms think of Canadian chartered banks when they contemplate permanent or temporary working capital increases. This might be a bulge request for a temporary increase in their borrowing facilities, or sometimes a more permanent facility in the form of a term loan that might be tied to equipment, cash flow needs, etc. Various statistics are available which validate the difficulty that business owners have in obtaining working capital financing. Most of the needs seem to be short term based. In Canada unsecured working capital loans are available from the governments crown corporation bank, and, alternatively, through private independent financing firms. As the transaction tends to be a bit larger in size these loans tend to be called subordinated debt, or mezzanine type loans.

When a business is significantly smaller and can’t support the requirements of a more traditional cash flow or working capital loan Canadian business owners have actually turned to credit cards and personal equity loans to finance their business. This works, but comes at a higher cost. In general we believe clients we talk to want to separate their business finances from their personal finances.

Are their other solutions available to address working capital needs in Canada? Yes, there are several. One of the solutions you might consider is a working capital facility, also known as an asset based line of credit. This facility, available through specialty firms and advisors, generally significantly increases working capital while at the same time not bring on extra debt to your balance sheet.

Many clients we talk to don’t fully realize that they can unlock working capital that is in effect hidden on their balance sheets – It is a dual strategy of maximizing efficiencies in working capital, while at the same time leverage those current assets (most receivables and inventory, to their maximum borrowing power. These funds can help you avoid taking on more debt and allow you to grow sales and profits at the same time.

In summary, working capital and corporate financing solutions are in demand by Canadian business. Unfortunately supply is not fulfilling demand. Traditional solutions via Canadian chartered banks may not be available to your firm, and in some cases your firm might simply not qualify for the standard metrics around this type of loan / financing. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced advisor who can suggest alternative solutions that deliver on cash flow and avoid additional debt. That’s a great business planning and financing strategy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Financing for Equipment – Canadian Equipment Capital Options

Canadian business owners and financial managers, difficult times notwithstanding, continue to look for financing for Equipment, and have a strong desire to understand their Canadian equipment capital options.

While trying to achieve the best pricing in their negotiations with vendors business owners at the same time want to know they can preserve their capital, cash flow, and operating capital - lease financing does exactly that.

This type of business financing in Canada is an alternative to a cash purchase or a loan from a Canadian chartered bank. Clearly a win / win scenario is achieved when a business owner can acquire the information he needs, while at the same time achieving a solid financing structure around that acquisition.

Business owners can count on a number of sure fire benefits associated with the lease financing of equipment – those benefits may differ for each firm relative to their importance. However, more often than not they include the following:

- Canadian firms want to use assets to generate profits and sales – they don’t want to invest hard earned cash into depreciating assets

- If there are tax advantages to an equipment finance transaction they want to utilize or benefit from them

- If payments can be structured to suit the overall cash flow needs and working capital of the firm that is a beneficial option

- Budgets can often complicate equipment acquisition – business owners in Canada want to know them can circumvent a budget timelines or financing amount with an effective acquisition strategy

- Applying for a term or bank loan can takes weeks and months, lease equipment financing can often be approved in a matter of days based on the overall credit quality of your firm and the asset type

- Lease equipment financing is complimentary to your current secured lenders or bank operating facilities – they round out your ability to get additional assets and capital

The one thing you don’t want your acquisition needs to do is to restrict your overall cash flow and working capital position. That’s why we recommend you sit down with a trusted, credible, and experience advisor in lease equipment financing in order to assess your overall asset acquisition capabilities, as well as the benefits you can derive from utilizing this financing tool.

The reality is that every type of asset in Canada can be financed, so being for armed with that knowledge can greatly enhance your overall competitive financial position.

Clients often ask us at which point in the business cycle is they eligible for lease equipment financing. Some first are start ups, some are early stage, and in many cases they are mature companies with a growth and track record. The reality is that lease financing applies to all these types of firms.

Quite frankly the true challenge in leasing simply knows what cash flow benefits you can derive from the acquisition. It is important to structure a transaction that matches the appropriate rate, term and overall lease type that you are looking for. There are actually two major lease types, lease to own, called capital leases, and lease for use, more commonly called operating leases.

Investigate financing for equipment options. Work with a credible advisor. Decide which benefits works most for your firm, and structure a transaction that makes sense and maximizes your ability to grow revenues and profits.



Monday, June 14, 2010

Inventory and Purchase Order Financing Solutions for Canadian Firms

For many Canadian business owners growing sales and profits is not always the biggest challenge, it’s locating business financing in Canada a can satisfy inventory and purchase order requirements from their customers.

When traditional financing doesn’t necessarily satisfy your firm’s ability maintain thee right levels of inventory, and satisfy those large new customer purchase orders and contracts than an inventory and P.O. Financing facility might just be the solution.
Clients we speak to like the concept but always ask – ‘How does this type of financing facility work?’ . We can use a basic example that reflects the power of this unique financing tool. Let’s assume you have an order, contract, purchase order, etc from a valued new or existing client. The challenge, mainly due to the size and or timing of the order, is of course how you purchase and maintain the level of inventory to satisfy those client needs.

When you use an inventory or purchase order financing facility your vendors or suppliers are paid directly by the inventory financier. Generally speaking up to 75% of the value of your order can be financed via a payment to the supplier. That 75% number is key, because in the example we are using I reflects that you probably have at lease a 25% gross margin on the sale of your products. Generally speaking at least that amount of margin is required to efficiently and properly complete an inventory or financing transaction. That is because the remaining 25% acts as both a buffer to the lender, as well as it allows some of your margin to be paid out as a financing fee of course , for the business risk and cost to finance your inventory/project .

Generally inventory finance lenders prefer to be paid as soon as you ship and create a receivable for your goods and services. That necessitates ensuring that you have a receivable financing facility set up with either you bank or a receivable financing/discounting firm.

What is the key benefit of such an inventory or p.o. financing facility? It is simply to remove a huge part of what finance people call the conversion cycle. If you don’t know the term we are very sure you know ‘the feeling ‘. It is the feeling of knowing that in a normal environment, if you were fully financed, that you would be waiting anywhere from 60-90 days, (sometimes more, sometimes less) for a dollar of your services to move from time of receipt of purchase order, your purchasing the inventory, your finishing the inventory, and then billing and waiting another 30-60 days for payment. The inventory finance facility helps to significantly lesson that amount of time as you can imagine.

That is why growth and the ability to carry inventory, (and receivables) are often the biggest challenges to Canadian business owners who are focusing on increased sales and profits.

Inventory and purchase order financing focuses on the transaction, and focuses less on the fundamentals of your company. Naturally the facility works best when you can validate that your firm has strong management, good profit potential in your orders, and the ability to successfully deliver and get paid to clients who are generally known or credit worthy. Financing for clients who sell to the ‘big box ‘stores are commonplace in inventory and P.O. Financing – think ‘Wal-Mart’.

Remember also that the financing facility we describe above delivers on working capital and cash flow, but is not a term loan per se, so no additional debt is on your balance sheet – you are simply monetizing your inventory, receivables, and purchase orders in order to complete our full ‘ conversion cycle’ of order  inventory  Receivables Cash .

When you can duplicate that process over and over and shorten the total time outstanding you have successfully utilized one of the most unique financing alternatives for Canadian business.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced advisor in this area if you have an inventory financing need. Ensure you understand timing, costs, how the facility works and whats required. You might find that it’s the perfect solution for growth and profits.



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Film Financing In Canada via Tax Credit Loans

Film financing in Canada (we’re including television and digital animation productions) has significantly benefited from the Canadian government’s very aggressive stance on increasingtax credits, which are non- repayable.

Unbelievably, almost 80% of U.S. productions that have gone outside of the U.S. to be produced have ended up in Canada. Under the right circumstances all these productions have been, or are eligible for a number of federal and provincial tax credits which can be monetized for immediate cash flow and working capital.

How do these tax credits affect the average independent, and in some cases major studio production owners. The reality is simply that the government is allowing owners and investors in film, television and digital animation productions to get a very significant (on average 40%)) guaranteed return on the production investment. This most assuredly allows content owners of such productions to minimize the overall risk that is associated with entertainment finance.

Naturally, when you combine these tax credits ( and your ability to finance them ) with owner equity , as well as distribution and international revenues you clearly have the winning potential for a success financing of your production in any of our aforementioned entertainment segments .

For larger productions that are associated with well known names in the industry financing tends to be available through in some cases Canadian chartered banks (limited though) as well as institutional Finance firms and hedge funds.

The irony of the whole tax credit scenario is that these credits actually drive what province in Canada a production might be filmed.We would venture to say that the overall cost of production varies greatly in Canada depending on which province is utilized, via labour and other geographical incentives.Example – A production might receive a greater tax credit grant treatment if it is filmed in Oakville Ontario as opposed to Metropolitan Toronto.We have often heard ‘follow the money’ – in our example we are following the (more favorable) tax credit!

Clearly your ability to finance your tax credit, either when filed, or prior to filing is potentially a major source of funding for your film, TV, or animation project.They key to success in financing these credits relates to your certification eligibility, the productions proper legal entity status, as well as they key issue surrounding maintenance of proper records and financial statements .

If you are financing your tax credit when it is filed that is normally done when principal photography is completed.

If you are considering financing a future film tax credit, or have the necessity to finance a production prior to filing your credit we recommend you work with a trusted, credible and experienced advisor in this area. Depending on the timing of your financing requirement, either prior to filing, or after you are probably eligible for a 40-80% advance on the total amount of your eligible claim. From start to finish you can expect that the financing will take 3-4 weeks, and the process is not unlike any other business financing application – namely proper back up and information related directly to your claim. Management credibility and experience certainly helps also, as well as having some trusted advisors who are deemed experts in this area.

Investigate finance of your tax credits , they can province valuable cash flow and working capital to both owner and investors, and significantly enhance the overall financial viability of your project in film, tv, and digital animation .The somewhat complicated world of film finance becomes decidedly less complicated when you generate immediate cash flow and working capital via these great government programmes.



Financing Sr ed Credits – Access Working Capital via SR&ED Discounting

Canadian business owners and financial managers should consider financing sr Ed credits as a source of working capital and cash flow. It is a unique and alternative financing strategy that monetizes your Sr&Ed tax credit, and has no long term effects of adding debt to your balance sheet. All you are doing is simply ‘cash flowing’ or receiving your refund now instead of waiting for a potentially long time for your government refund cheque.

Business owners who file claims under the program already are keenly aware of the power of this great Canadian government program. Hundreds of Millions of dollars are refunding annually to your firm and your competitors – why not get a step ahead of the competition and turn that SR ED credit into immediate working capital.

Naturally the amount of your sred financing is related very directly to the total amount of your filed SR ED claim. Therefore it is in the best interests of every Canadian business owner who files under the program to maximize the size of their claim. They do that by working with a solid accountant or sred consultant who understands the true nature of the program. It is a misnomer that your research and development must be ‘successful ‘in the true sense of the word. The reality is that a proper sred claim is often increased simply by proving that you had significant trial and error in those business processes and research that you are documenting.

Anyway, you are aware of the program; you have filed a claim, or are in the process of filing a claim. What now? Consider financing the claim and turning your refund into immediate cash. Clients we work worthy with typically utilize funds in a SR ED financing to reduce payables, invest in additional research, buy equipment, or focus on investing in more direct marketing and sales The bottom line is that when you finance you SR&ED claim funds can be used for any worthwhile corporate purpose .
How does SR ED funding work? It’s really complimentary to any type of business financing you have ever done. You are not taking on debt; you are simply converting a receivable, i.e. your SR&ED credit, into cash. The best and most easy way to think of a sred financing is simply that you are factoring or discounting your claim. The funds will be repaid to the SR ED lender when you claim is approved by the government and your provincial government. (There is a Federal and Provincial component to each Sr&Ed claim)

You can access approximately 70% of the total claim you have filed. If the claim has already been approved by Ottawa and you are just waiting for the confirmed refund the 70% loan to value we just referred to can even be increased in many cases.
Even more sophisticated firms that finance their SR ED claims annually are not aware that under the right circumstances they can receive funds even prior to filing! That process is called a Sr&Ed accrual loan. That’s really staying one step ahead of the competition!

Financing SRED claims in Canada is a boutique financing. You accomplish it successfully when you work with a trusted, credible and experienced financing advisor re sred claims. The process involves a simply business financing application, copies of your sred filing, and miscellaneous business back up material to substantiate the sred loan. The total focus of the loan relies heavily on the actual claim itself, not the overall credit worthiness of your claim, as some might believe.

If you are filing sred you can stay ahead of the competition by considering of financing your claim. It’s a simple process that can be completed in a couple of weeks with your full co operation of back up info, etc. Your sred claim is already not repayable to the government, as it’s a grant, so consider supercharging that program by immediately monetizing your claim in valuable cash flow and working capital.



Friday, June 11, 2010

How to Get Funding for a Canadian Franchise Loan

Successfully getting a franchise loan in Canada still remains a financing challenge for Canadian entrepreneurs who wish to pursue the Canadian dream of owning their own business. While the Federal governments key loan programme, technically called the BIl programme is the main financier, in our opinion, of franchise loans in Canada the program has come under the microscope by a number of people and different associations and bodies.

People who are actually experts in Canadian finance seem to feel strongly that the program has been mis used by the franchise industry. We certainly don’t think so, and feel it’s simply a case of presenting a clean transaction that has both business and financing merit. That is the key to successful franchise financing.

Just to give the reader a sense of the popularity of this program the government figure actually show that overall defaults under the total program involving franchise financings were 26% higher than non franchise transactions, and that the average franchise loan was 43% higher than those businesses seeking financing in a non franchised environment . That clearly evidences at least the popularity of the program.

In the uncertain business global and economic environment, of which certainly Canada Is no exception it is easy to understand how many people from all walks of life and business want to own, and therefore need to finance, a franchise .

With respect to the BIL / CSBFL programme itself (that’s the technical name of the government program) it seems quite obvious that without a government program in place a lot of franchise financing would not get done. When clients seek our advice on how to finance a franchise we point out the basics, which are simply that financing a franchise in Canada has become a challenge, and invariably needs to be a combination of a couple different types of financing to achieve full financing success . We also caution business owners to focus on two things, putting the proper financing in place to buy the business, and, oh yes, ensuring you have the proper working capital and cash flow in place to operate the business successfully in the long term, generating profits and cash flow of course.

There are many downsides to financing a franchise improperly, that’s why we caution clients to choose an experienced, trusted, and credible financing expert in this very niche field.

So let’s focus on some of the things that can go wrong in financing a franchise, and how in some cases you can avoid or manage those pitfalls. In many cases we see clients choosing a franchise too quickly, this might mean they are putting themselves in an industry they don’t know much or anything about, or in some cases the size of the opportunity and financing are just too large for them to handle.

When any business owner decides to finance a business, either at the start, or ongoing, he talks to his advisors about the proper mix of debt and equity – simply speaking how much you borrow and how much you put in. We see many cases of clients who should have entertained a borrowing or loan strategy and instead have sunk in their life savings, only to see those savings either dwindle or disappear. So whats the bottom line, it’s simply that you should assess the proper mix of debt and equity – it’s ok to borrow if it’s for the right reasons. And we can give you one good reason to borrow under the government programme, and that is that you are only obligated to guarantee 25% of the loan if your business fails. That relatively nominal guarantee happens nowhere else in Canadian business financing!

So in summary, should you buy a new or existing franchise? Quite frankly that’s your decision and we will assume you are an informed buyer who has planned. But when it comes to financing that business, let’s recap the key basics again –

- Avail yourself of the loans and programmes that are best suited to franchise financing in Canada

- Work with an expert , that’s preferable on any type of financing

- Ensure you have a proper mix of debt and equity – its ok to borrow if you borrow smart

Many say a franchise gives you a better or more proven chance of success. If you believe that finance your franchise properly and your ability to generate sales and profits and personal wealth should increase greatly.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Working Capital Financing – Why Asset Based Lines of Credit Work

How can Canadian business owners and financial mangers secure working capital financing and cash flow financing for their business at a time when it seems that access to business financing provides significant challenges .

The answer is that a potential solid solution exists by the name of an ‘asset based line of credit ‘otherwise what we call a ‘working capital facility ‘. What is this type of financing is it new to Canada, and more importantly – how does it work and what are the benefits and risks?

Although asset based lenders tend to be specialized independent finance firms many business people are surprised to find that deep in the bowels of a few Canadian bank there exists small , somewhat boutique , divisions who specialize in asset based lending . Ironically they are many times competing with their peers down the hall in more traditional commercial corporate banking.

The most active assets these firms finance tend to be ongoing receivables and inventory, but in many cases, utilizing an expert advisor or partner you can structure a facility that also includes a component of equipment and real estate.
Generally speaking a good way to think of an asset based line of credit is one that for a temporary period, typically a year or so in our experience, allows you to margin up and get higher advances on receivables and inventory . That translates into more cash flow and working capital.

One of the main attractions of an asset based lending facility (insiders call it an ABL facility) is that your firms overall credit quality doesn’t play the largest role in determining if you can get approved for this type of financing. As its name suggest, financing is on your ‘assets ‘! And doesn’t really focus on debt to equity ratios, cash flow coverage, loan covenants, and outside collateral. Business owners who borrow from Canadian chartered banks on an operating or term loan basis are of course very familiar with those terms - in some ways we could call them ‘ restrictions ‘

Most lawyers and accountants will tell you that any type of business borrowing should in fact be entertained only with a respected, trusted and credible business financing advisor who can guide you thru the roadblocks and pitfalls of any commercial financing arrangement. Missteps in business financing can lead to long term negative effects around such issues as being locked into a facility, giving up too much collateral, or being locked into pricing that isn’t commensurate with your overall asset and credit quality .

What are the key issues you should consider when considering such a financing facility? Primarily they are:

-Advances rates on each asset category (A/R, inventory/equipment)

- How is pricing defined (asset based lines of credit and ABL lending is general is more generous in overall facility size, but you should ensure you are only paying for what you use

- Contractual obligation - in a perfect world (we know its not!) you should be focusing on the ability to pay out at any time, or at a minimum with some form of nominal breakage fee

- Ensure that the asset based lending facility , which generally costs more, will allow to you remain or focus on profitability ; we spend a significant amount of time with clients on how that can defer the additional costs of Abl facilities by several different strategies

So whats the bottom line. As always it’s simple – consider asset based lending and an ABL facility as a solid alternative for financing your business. Work with a trusted advisor as this type of financing is generally either mi understood or not too well known in Canada. Be selective in structuring your facility around issues that work best for your firm re benefits derived .That’s solid business financing sense.