The chance for business owners to turn adversity into opportunity comes around rarely. The ability of your company to turn cash flow for business challenges into a major win in working capital and cash flow might just come from one of Canada’s newer forms of business financing, called ‘ receivable financing ‘.. more commonly known as factoring.
For small and medium business it seems to always come down to two basics – getting the order, and then getting paid. The old ‘ cliché’ of ‘ the order is not complete until it’s paid for ‘… as trite as that sounds, seems to hold true even today.
Many clients we meet with are in the enviable position of getting larger orders and contracts than they might have imagined based on their innovative products and services. But with that success, as we noted, comes the challenges of cash flow financing. During the past few years with all the economic turmoil it seems Canadian business financing options seem either limited or have disappeared – that’s certainly how many clients feel. The impact of accounts receivable growth is a huge challenge, not to mention inventory also of course.
So we have waxed eloquent on the problem- That’s easy to do. let’s talk about the solution. Receivable financing, also known as factoring addresses the issues of your customers paying you in 30.60, or dare we say it, 90 days. You can carry those receivables, or…. utilized factoring as a method to turn your sales into immediate cash.
Let’s cover off some of the basic requirements around how this innovative method of business financing works. When you sold the product or service you hopefully had enough gross margins in your cost of sales to make the sale profitable. If you are able to sustain another 1- 3% of gross margin erosion you can use receivable financing to turn sales into same day cash, which is what this financing is about.
Let’s reveal and recap in a manner you can understand how this financing works. Your purchase orders or contracts must be ‘ clean ‘ from a viewpoint of being able to demonstrate you can recognize revenue on your shipment. We should interject at this point that the banks will finance your receivables also, but that comes with much stricter criteria and limits on the amount you can finance.
That is why factoring has risen in popularity, it provides unlimited… yes… unlimited same day cash flow for your sales. Your challenge is to work with a trusted, experienced and credible business financing advisor who can steer you to the right partner with the type of facility that works for you. Although traditional factoring along the lines of the U.S. model requires your customer to be notified we are in fact a fan of this type of facility that allows you to bill and collect your own receivables, for all the obvious reasons.
It’s important for clients to understand at its most basic how factoring works. You are advanced, on the same day as you invoice approx 90% of funds for your invoice. The remaining 10% is a holdback which creates a reserve and also covers the financing charges. When you customer pays you or the factor you receive the remaining 10% of your invoice amount, less the financing charge.
In Canada cost of factoring ranges from 1-3% a month. It turns adversity into opportunity because you grow sales with larger gross and net margins, and if you utilize the financing properly you are actually in a position to reduce much, in some cases all of your financing costs by taking discounts with your own suppliers or buying smarter