Shaw Capital Management and Financing sharing information, tips and advice on factoring and accounts receivable financing and factoring to avoid scams and other fraudulent transactions. Information focus on the importance of choosing the right firm and understanding the intricacies of this financing alternative and what pitfalls to avoid.
There probably isn’t a day when Canadian business owners and financial managers don’t hear about factoring and accounts receivable financing as a method of financing their business in Canada. Despite its growing popularity and, we can say, relative importance in the Canadian business financing marketplace this financing mechanism is still somewhat understood.
What information do business owners need to know in order to assess if factoring, also known as invoice discounting, is a viable transaction? Also, are there mistakes and pitfalls to be avoided when considering this financing strategy?
Let’s examine the answers to some of those questions. You can be forgiven for trying to figure out why factoring has increased in prominence from a time when no one had almost ever heard of it! The answer to that popularity is more simply and obvious than you might think, and its simply that Canadian chartered banks are finding it increasingly more difficult to fund accounts receivable (and inventory of course) to the extent that their customers need this financing.
When you have a situation where the actual need for financing is acute, and the benefits and flexibility seems significant it is not hard to see the rise in popularity of such a financing mechanism.
First of all, 99% of the time, factoring provides your firm with a greater level of borrowing based on your accounts receivable levels. Quite of 90-100% of your A/R under 90 days can be financed.
So is it all good news? Not necessarily, as we are always meeting with clients that have chosen the wrong type of funding or factoring, and, even worse, find them locked into contracts they cannot get out of. That is uncomfortable for any size firm as you can imagine.
As with any newer type of financing the playing field is complex. You can be forgiven for not knowing how many factor firms are out there, how they run, what their own limitations are, and, even to a certain extent, do they in fact themselves have the funding to survive, let along finance your firm. For that reason we cannot over emphasize the need to work with a credible, experienced and trusted professional in this area.
Lets talk about some of the nuances, we can call them potential ‘pitfalls ‘also, of picking the wrong factoring partner. For a starter if you choose a firm who itself is not well capitalized, as we said, you might find that the financing commitments made to you cannot be honored. Canadian business has never had to think that the Canadian chartered banks could be ‘out of money ‘but the Canadian landscape is somewhat littered with small and medium sized factor firms that do not have the financial wherewithal to support their funding commitments in all places. That just re – enforces our idea that a trusted industry expert will guide you to the best partner for your firm.
Other issues, again, we can call them pitfalls, to look for include: being locked into a contract; having the total factoring cost, or pricing, not reflected properly in your term sheet; advance rates which don’t make sense relative to the price you are paying for discounting invoices and; excessive notification and intrusion with your customers, which is very prevalent in the U.S. model of factoring (Many Canadian factor firms are branches of U.S. firms).
So let’s recap. It’s simply that factoring is growing in popularity. It works because it is providing funding where banks often cannot. If you don’t understand who you are dealing with and the various nuances of this type of financing it becomes a burden, not a solution. Investigate this great financing mechanism, but ensure you know what you are getting into. Talking to an expert always helps – that’s just common sense
Stan Prokop is founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial. Originating financing for Canadian companies, specializing in working capital, cash flow, and asset based financing, the 6 year old firm has completed in excess of 45 Million $ of financing for companies of all size.