Riddle Me This. Why Is The Cost And Mechanics Of An Accounts Receivable Financing Loan And Receivables Discounting So Misunderstood?

An accounts receivable financing loan? We think we have just answered our own question on the strategy known as invoice discounting or invoice finance… namely, the part about ‘ misunderstanding’. Why is that? Simply because technically it’s not even a loan… so no debt, no interest paid, etc. Let’s explain.

Thousands of Canadian businesses sell to other businesses on credit – hopefully they are creditworthy clients. That’s the essence of the accounts receivable discounting solution – you no longer have to wait to get paid, thereby solving the problem of working capital and cash flow shortages for your business.

It couldn’t be any simpler, so why is there so much misinformation about this method of Canadian business financing. We think it boils down to some of the terminology, and the fact that the many firms that offer this type of finance each come at it from a different focus, direction, and daily mechanics .

Under the traditional way of accounts receivable financing you submit your invoice, or invoices to your finance firm partner. Hopefully you have chosen the right partner… more about that later. After you have submitted that invoice you get immediate funding – typically in terms of a wire transfer into your bank account. The neat news here is that you can do this daily, weekly, monthly, basically whenever you like. And by the way, you are no obligated to do this all the time; it’s your call to implement only the financing you need, when you need it.

The fee. Here’s where misinformation abounds! The concept of ‘ financing’ that A/R is in fact a sale of the receivable, not a collateralization. What do we mean by that ?Well, typically if you had a bank facility in place for your receivables they take a security agreement that covers off the collateralization of your assets, including of course a/r. So the bank is actually ‘‘lending “against that a/r, and charging you an interest rate on a per annum basis. Those bank interest rates are very attractive… if you of course qualify, which is a discussion for another day!

When an accounts receivable financing firm implements the same strategy their documentation states they are ‘ buying’ your invoice sales, not collateralizing them. They buy those at a discount, hence the term ‘ a/r discounting.

So whets the price on that sale. In Canada it’s generally 2% if you are selling on a 30 day term. In effect it’s a reduction of 2% of your business margins. Where misinformation comes in is that fact that most Canadian business owners and financial managers don’t understand the fact that they are already absorbing similar costs by in effect being the bank for their own clients. It’s an expensive cost of capital. If you have the cash flow out of that sale you could… well… start the process all over, ie make another sale, buy more product… and generate additional profits. Instead of waiting 2-3 months for clients to pay, which seems to be happening a lot these days?

If you are financing your receivables via a bank they of course wish you the best of luck in collecting them – as little due diligence is done on who you are selling to and on what terms . In accounts receivable financing its incumbent on you and your finance partner firm to focus on a solid turnover of that A/R – it reduces the cost and generates cash flow more quickly.

Other key advantages or differences of accounts receivable discounting include the fact that facilities are generally unlimited – if you are generating sales you have constant, daily access to cash flow.

Picking the right partner is critical in A/R finance. Simple documentation and no hidden fees or terms are critical to your success when you use this financing. Our recommended facility is in fact confidential invoice financing, allowing you to bill and collect your own receivables.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian financing advisor. Clear up the misinformation on this unique method of business financing.