Accounts Receivable Financing – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

There is a reason why accounts receivable financing is a four thousand year old financing technique: it works. Accounts receivable financing, factoring, and asset based financing all mean the same thing as related to asset based lending- invoices are sold or pledged to a third party, usually a commercial finance company (sometimes a bank) to accelerate cash flow.

In simple terms, the process follows these steps. A business sells and delivers a product or service to another business. The customer receives an invoice. The business requests funding from the financing entity and a percentage of the invoice (usually 80% to 90%) is transferred to the business by the financing entity. The customer pays the invoice directly to the financing entity. The agreed upon fees are deducted and the remainder is rebated to the business by the financing entity.

How does the customer know to pay the financing entity instead of the business they are receiving goods or services from? The legal term is called “notification”. The financing entity informs the customer in writing of the financing agreement and the customer must agree in writing to this arrangement. In general, if the customer refuses to agree in writing to pay the lender instead of the business providing the goods or services, the financing entity will decline to advance funds.

Why? The main security for the financing entity to be repaid is the creditworthiness of the customer paying the invoice. Before funds are advanced to the business there is a second step called “verification”. The finance entity verifies with the customer that the goods have been received or the services were performed satisfactorily. There being no dispute, it is reasonable for the financing entity to assume that the invoice will be paid; therefore funds are advanced. This is a general view of how the accounts receivable financing process works.

Non-notification accounts receivable financing is a type of confidential factoring where the customers are not notified of the business’ financing arrangement with the financing entity. One typical situation involves a business that sells inexpensive items to thousands of customers; the cost of notification and verification is excessive compared to the risk of nonpayment by an individual customer. It simply may not make economic sense for the financing entity to have several employees contacting hundreds of customers for one financing customer’s transactions on a daily basis.

Non-notification factoring may require additional collateral requirements such as real estate; superior credit of the borrowing business may also be required with personal guarantees from the owners. It is more difficult to obtain non-notification factoring than the normal accounts receivable financing with notification and verification provisions.

Some businesses worry that if their customers learn that a commercial financing entity is factoring their receivables it may hurt their relationship with their customer; perhaps they may loose the customer’s business. What is this worry, why does it exist and is it justified?

The MSN Encarta Dictionary defines the word worry as:


verb (past and past participle wororied, present participle wororyoing, 3rd person present singular worories)Definition:
1. transitive and intransitive verb be or make anxious: to feel anxious about something unpleasant that may have happened or may happen, or make somebody do this

2. transitive verb annoy somebody: to annoy somebody by making insistent demands or complaints

3. transitive verb try to bite animal: to try to wound or kill an animal by biting it

a dog suspected of worrying sheep

4. transitive verb

Same as worry at

5. intransitive verb proceed despite problems: to proceed persistently despite problems or obstacles

6. transitive verb touch something repeatedly: to touch, move, or interfere with something repeatedly

Stop worrying that button or it’ll come off.

noun (plural worories)Definition:
1. anxiousness: a troubled unsettled feeling

2. cause of anxiety: something that causes anxiety or concern

3. period of anxiety: a period spent feeling anxious or concerned…”

The opposite is:

“not to worry used to tell somebody that something is not important and need not be a cause of concern (informal)

Not to worry. We’ll do better next time.

no worries U.K. Australia New Zealand used to say that something is no trouble or is not worth mentioning (informal)”.

Query: if a business is financing their invoices with accounts receivable financing, is this an indication of financial strength or weakness? Query: from the point of view of the customer, if you are buying goods or services from a business that is factoring their receivables, should you be concerned? Query: is there one answer to these questions that fits all situations?

The answer is it’s a paradox. A paradox is a statement, proposition, or situation that seems to be absurd or contradictory, but in fact is or may be true.

Accounts receivable financing is both a sign of weakness with regard to cash flow and a sign of strength with respect to cash flow. It is a weakness because, prior to financing, funds are not available to provide cash flow to pay for materials, salaries, etc. and it is an indication of strength because, subsequent to funding cash is available to facilitate a business’ needs for cash to grow. It is a paradox. When properly structured as a financing tool for growth at a reasonable cost, it is a beneficial solution to cash flow shortages.
If your entire business depended on one supplier, and you were notified that your supplier was factoring their receivables, you might have a justifiable concern. If your only supplier went out of business, your business could be severely compromised. But this is also true whether or not the supplier is utilizing accounts receivable financing. It’s a paradox. This involves matters of perception, ego and character of the personalities in charge of the business and the supplier.

Every day, every month thousands of customers accept millions of dollars of goods and services in contracts that involve notification, verification and the factoring of receivables. For most customers, “notification” of accounts receivable financing is a non-issue: it is merely a change of the name or addresses of the payee on a check. This is a job for a person in the accounts payable department to make a minor clerical change. It is a mainstream business practice.

The Disadvantage Of Factoring Receivables – Why Confidential Accounts Receivable Finance Works!

Looking for a creative, ‘outside the box’ Canadian business financing solution? You may have investigated factoring receivables already but either didn’t understand how accounts receivable financing works, or, probably more to the point weren’t comfortable with how it works for your firm on a daily basis.

We’ve got the perfect solution for those worries, and its called confidential receivable financing, in Europe its more commonly known as C I D, confidential invoice discounting.

Let’s examine why this type of business financing works in general, and then let’s focus in on why our solution makes a solid solution even better.

In general terms when you ‘factor ‘ your receivables you essentially sell them to the factoring firm. That can be done on a one of basis, on a periodic basis, or all the time. That’s one of the key advantages of this type of financing, you only use what you need, and… More importantly, you only pay for what you use!

Paying for what you use in accounts receivable financing is key because factoring, in general terms can be a more expensive type of financing. We say ‘can be’ because quite frankly if you use it properly it actually could be a cheaper method of financing than your bank. That’s a point our clients are always amazed at when we discuss this type of Canadian business financing.

The cost of factoring receivables can be significantly offset, or in some cases removed completely by your firm using these funds to take supplier discounts and purchase more efficiently and at better prices.

And… Think about this carefully, if you can finance your receivable the days you issue the invoice (that’s what factoring does) then you are in a position to generate funds to sell more products and services to your customers, generating additional margins and profits. Or, of course, you could take the non factoring approach and wait for your customers to pay you in 30, 60, or… dare we say it, 90 days. And that hasn’t worked for you in the past, which is why you are looking for a better solution.

So lets examine how factoring works, and lets get you over the hump, so to speak, on why our preferred type of accounts receivable financing is confidential invoice discounting.

When you generate an invoice under a factoring receivables agreement you receive 90% of the invoice in the form of immediate funds the same day. The other 10% is a holdback, and is remitted back to you promptly when you customer pays, less the financing charges, which are typically 1.5 – 2% for a 30 day period.

In 99% of traditional factoring arrangements the factor company verifies your invoice with your customer and actually collects it. Under confidential invoice discounting you bill and collect your own receivables, and are in a position to finance your firm without your customers and suppliers having anything to do with how you finance your business.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor on why confidential accounts receivable financing will work for your firm, allowing you to supercharge that cash flow and those profits!

What If Accounts Receivable Finance Was the Perfect Answer to Your Cash Flow Financing?

A tale of two worlds – one in which you have unlimited cash flow or one in which you had day to day cash flow challenges that hamper your ability to grow and manage your business. A cash flow financing solution could well be the solution to all your problems.

Canadian business owners and financial managers face, on a daily basis real world cash flow challenges. Lets look at an example at why accounts receivable finance can be your holy grail of working capital financing. Cash flow financing goes by a number of different names in Canada that is part of the confusion we are always trying to wade through on our client’s behalf – various terms apply to this type of business financing. They include: factoring, invoice, discounting, A/R financing, etc. Depending on how you transaction is structured and who you are dealing with is really the key issue, not what the financing is called.

Clients always want to know if they are a candidate for this type of business financing. There are some perfect candidates, so let’s look at a profile or two in order that you can determine if you fit. Generally you will have accounts receivable that pay fairly regularly but are on occasion slow – your overall bad debt experience has probably been quite satisfactory. Your invoice and stated terms for your customers is 30 days, but guess what, most of them seem to be paying in 60 and 90 days – that definitely seems to be the trend of clients we talk to.

Does size count – In cash flow financing it really doesn’t – speaking in general terms if you have at least $ 50,000 of invoices a month you are a candidate for accounts receivable finance. The reality is that corporations with many millions of dollars in receivables actually utilize this form of financing also.

We hasten to say that in most instances the size of your facility will affect your overall pricing. In our experience you can potentially reduce the cost of your accounts receivable finance facility by close to 1% per month if you have a large facility. However, we spend many hours and many meetings educating Canadian business on factoring pricing, which is grossly mis understood by most clients who look into this type of business financing.

So the bottom line is that you should not let your company size, or any other challenges you might be facing – (temporary financial losses, restructuring, etc) affect you ability to successfully achieve an accounts receivable finance strategy.

Many times the decision to consider cash flow financing of your receivables comes from directly related issues to collections – in some cases the slow pay nature of your client may be affecting your ability to purchase inventory or meet payroll – those are some typical factors that drive customers toward factoring.

When you finance (in effect you are selling) your receivables under this type of facility you immediately receive an 80% advance on your invoice- that allows you to meet obligations and expand your business.

Most business owners know that if they had access to working capital they could readily grow their business – yet the traditional sources of business financing in Canada, i.e. chartered banks have made it challenging for firms to finance receivables in a manner that makes sense for the business owner. In some cases, as we noted, your business has or had challenges that prohibit you from temporarily sourcing cash flow financing.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced business advisor in this area – determine if accounts receivable finance is right for your firm, and focus on getting into a facility that meets your needs re day to day workings and cost.

What Is Credit Card Receivable Financing?

If your company is seeking or has been turned down for a small business loan, an unsecured line of credit, unsecured business financing, or other short-term business financing to use as “working capital” you may have heard of Credit Card Receivable Financing (CCRF) – but you’re not quite sure what it is. CCRF is an alternative funding solution that many existing businesses are able to use when they don’t qualify for traditional bank financing.

Credit Card Receivable Financing is a fast, easy and convenient way of getting working capital or a short-term business loan for a business that has accepted credit cards as payment for its goods or services for at least the previous six months. Unfortunately, it is not available for start-up loans, start-up funding, new business loans as will be explained later in this article.

However, many business owners still don’t fully understand the difference between Merchant Cash Advances (or business cash advances) and Credit Card Receivable Financing. The reason is they are very similar in the requirements to qualify, term length and repayment method – but they are different.

While both are known as a form of credit card receivables funding, the primary (and most important) difference is; a Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) is the actual “purchase” of your future credit card receivables at a discounted rate. It is unsecured financing, but it’s not classified as a loan. Much like “Accounts Receivable Financing” the same concept applies, that is; your business sells its receivables at a discount for cash that you need now and you agree to repay the funds from future revenues. Since this is a purchase of future credit card sales the company providing the funding is not required to give an established rate of interest. In fact they cannot even call what is charged interest, it’s called “the cost of money” and the amount charged can vary based on factors having to do with your business. (Those factors will be discussed in another article specifically related to Merchant Cash Advances).

With CCRF the business still uses future credit sales as a basis on which the lender will determine the amount of funding, but the difference is that CCRF is a true regulated “business loan” and as such the qualifications are slightly more involved but the costs are usually 50-80% less than most MCA’s.

When attempting to secure any type of business loan, unsecured business credit line, or business financing many new small business owners will try to qualify for CCRF because of the savings benefit it offers. In fact, many owners who currently have a MCA will use CCRF to pay off the existing advance because of how much they are able to save on the costs of money.

Another advantage of CCRF is, in the first few years many businesses are unable to establish a credit history that banks will require to qualify for loans. With CCRF as payments are made the business owner can make sure those payments, to an unsecured business loan, are reported to credit agencies so that a history of repayment is being made. This can potentially improve the credit score and possibly help in future bank loan applications. In addition, there could be tax advantages that your accountant may be familiar with regarding interest payment and so forth.

With both CCRF and MCA the amount of funding that you receive depends on your monthly credit card sales. And funding typically ranges between 100 to 150% of your monthly credit card sales average. For example, if your businesses monthly Visa/MasterCard sales average is $10,000 lenders can fund $10,000 to as high as $15,000 for the normal six to twelve month terms that are offered. Remember, this unsecured business loan is short-term working capital so don’t expect a 36 or 60 month payment term.

To qualify, your business must have processed at least $3,000 in Visa/MasterCard transactions each month for the previous six months, be in business for minimum of one year, have a minimum FICO score of 540 or greater, have at least one year remaining on your business lease or own the property and no open bankruptcies, foreclosures or liens (some liens with payments plans may be OK). There is no collateral required and the term is usually six to twelve months.

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What is CCRF

Accounts Receivable Financing Options

Account receivable financing, which is also known as Factoring, is an effective option for any business that requires sufficient cash availability as working capital that can not attain financing from traditional or conventional money lenders. Companies need extra cash flow in their business to meet growth, seasonal demands, business opportunities as well as cash requirement for short term need. Accounts receivable financing is an excellent solution for any business as it provides immediate and flexible cash. This not only opens avenues for the business to grow, but also helps in restructuring, hiring additional employees, taking advantage of supplier discounts and even funding payroll.

With the help of alternative financing options, you are in a better position to have access to cash without giving up company equities. Moreover, account receivable financing options are less expensive and restrictive compared to equity financing. This form of financing allows you to decrease or increase the financed amount based on your company’s needs and the current size of your business. It also provides administrative support to help manage all the receivables without employing additional staff and allows you to have access to cash on request, but this is based on your account receivable eligibility criteria.

Various companies who offer this financing provide their clients with customer credit reviews for both existing and new customers, collection services, invoice processing, and customized reports. There are various benefits of accounts receivable financing: it is flexible, it can be increased when your business grows and it can be decreased accordingly; it allows the business to get back to conventional banking; it helps pay off business loans and make payroll; it helps to meet up seasonal demands; it gives you the power to reinvest in business and fund marketing to make your business grow; it helps you to focus on your company’s core business; and it helps to take early discounts on payment purchase.

Accounts receivable financing saves time and allows you to generate new business and service your customers. Receivables management will help you to shorten the turnaround time of payments which not only ensures excellent cash flow but also minimizes interest expenses. Thus, accounts receivable financing will help your business grow and provide you with sufficient cash to meet expenses. Bernard Linney and his dedicated staff is ready to provide you with guaranteed solutions to help your business grow in 2011 and beyond.

Bernard Linney [] is an expert in accounts receivable management and maintains offices throughout North America to provide financial solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. His company is a nationwide commercial lender that offers a full suite of capital solutions for new and existing businesses. His goal is be able to assist with your immediate financial needs, as well as develop a long-term partnership that will grow with your company as your needs change.