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.