Invoice Factoring: An Effective Alternative For Small Businesses

By: Christine Macguire
‘Cash is the king’ is an undebatable truth. The vital importance of cash to the growth and day-to-day management of modern small businesses is very much evident. Even though profit, turnover and market shares are indicators of success, there is no replacement for cash. If there is no cash in the bank to meet monthly bills, wage runs and loan payments then any business can succumb to the crunch. Cash flow is generally acknowledged as the only pressing concern of the small and medium sized business enterprises. Small businesses typically enter into factoring arrangements to solve cash flow problems. The lack of access to capital has prevented many small businesses from growing and capitalizing on the many opportunities that are available to them. Small companies do have to forgo large deals or opportunities because they do not have the necessary capital to obtain the resources to service the account. Inadequate capital resources along with the necessity to offer commercial credit to clients, often makes business owners victims of their own ventures. Factoring is a relatively unknown financial solution that has become available for smaller companies in such crisis situations.

Factoring, by definition, is the purchase of accounts receivable without recourse. Factoring is one of the oldest forms of commercial finance. The term factor comes from the Latin verb ‘facio’, which means “he who does things." The history of factoring is the history of agents doing things for others. The colonists started widespread usage of factoring in the 1600s in Northern America. Factoring accounts receivable is a form of short-term borrowing. Typically, the small business owner transfers all or a portion of your accounts receivable to a bank or other lender known as a factor. This factor immediately gives him a percentage of the accounts receivable. The percentage the lender is willing to advance is known as the discount rate that is typically 60 to 80 percent. This money allows the business owner to fund current business operations and generate new accounts receivable. The factor, usually takes responsibility for collecting all the accounts receivable. Accounts receivable factoring is the sale of part or all of a debt that someone owes to the company. When companies provide financing through accounts receivable factoring, they essentially pay for the invoices as soon as the business owner generates them at a small discount of the invoice amount. They also provide accounts receivable management services by collecting the debt directly, monitoring credit of your clients and providing aging reports. Factoring allows a company to obtain financing without selling part of the company. It should be viewed as a bridge to growing a company, an interim step to obtaining a traditional credit facility or an equity capital. Factoring is prefect for companies that are fast growing or those that seek to seize market opportunities. By using factoring, the entrepreneur can meet increasing sales demands. Today, it is estimated that factoring is a ‘$100-billion-a-year’ industry in the United States. Accounts receivable factoring makes up about a third of all financing secured by American companies using accounts receivable and inventory as collateral. Wholesalers, distributors, transportation, staffing companiesFind Article, manufacturing and business services are some of the more common industries.

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