Can you please explain asset finance, or asset based lending to me? Is a common question we get from clients who want more information about Canada’s newest business financing solution? They keep hearing how this solution has solved the problems of their competitors and want to know more.
So is it a difficult concept to understand? Hardly. Asset based financing, often called ‘ABL’ by those in the industry, is simply the method of obtaining the maximum working capital you need from your assets, which include typically receivables, inventory, and in many cases some equipment and/or real estate. That’s as simple as it gets. It is a little different when we explain how the whole process works, but simply view it as your ultimate working capital tool for financing your business.
Although it’s been in existence for many years, in the past asset finance or asset based lending (we also call it a ‘working capital facility “) is coming into vogue. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand when, given traditional financing almost totally collapsed in the 2008-2009 global meltdown, and customer began searching for options and alternatives to their business financing needs.
Lenders like asset based financing simply because they are using their expertise and knowledge in your assets to help you cash flow your business.
Although many companies turn to asset based lending when they cant access traditional bank financing the reality is that this type of financing has some unique characteristics that allow you to utilize the financing for major expansions, acquisition of a competitor, or even more common, a ‘bridge ‘financing prior to re structuring your firm and accessing the traditional capital markets again.
As we stated, it’s very simple for us to explain to clients what an ABL facility is, it’s a bit more complicated to get them to understand how it works. The best way to explain it though is to simplify it all and say that you should consider asset finance via a working capital facility as simply a ‘ revolving line of credit around all your business assets ‘. Can that be anymore simply to understand? We don’t think so.
Typically the process is as follows – After the traditional ‘ application ‘ process there is an agreed upon value put on all your business assets – as we said , 99% of the time the assets under this financing include receivables, inventory, equipment, and in some cases real estate . The most common assets though are receivables and inventory.
Your firm provides regular monthly, and in some cases weekly updates on the values of these assets, and you in turn use your regular bank account to draw down on funds, as you need them, to run your business. Similar to a bank revolving line of credit facility your asset based financing facility fluctuates everyday as a dollar of capital flows through your business – you purchase product, you generate a receivable, you collect your receivable, and of course the process repeats itself. The beauty of this type of facility is that as your assets grow the line of credit grows with you – you can truly say that you have unlimited financing.
Asset based financing, or asset finance in Canada is highly specialized. Speak to a trusted, credible business financing advisor in this area to ensure you understand the options, and of course the benefits, of this unique and creative method of business financing.