Information for the city of Birmingham
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city's population was 212,237 according to the 2010 United States Census. The Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047 according to the 2010 Census, which is approximately one quarter of Alabama's population.Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading.
Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, United Kingdom; one of the UK's major industrial cities. Many, if not most, of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. In one writer's view, the city was planned as a place where cheap, non unionized, and African American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining.
Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies.In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. Since that time it has also obtained a campus of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is also home of the private Birmingham Southern College. Between these two universities and Sam University, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferencesFrom Birmingham's early days onward, the steel industry has always played a crucial role in the local economy.
Though the steel industry no longer has the same prominence it once held in Birmingham, steel production and processing continue to play a key role in the economy. Steel products manufacturers . In recent years, local steel companies have announced about $100 million worth of investment in expansions and new plants in and around the city. Vulcan Company, a major provider of crushed stone, sand, and gravel used in construction, is also based in Birmingham.In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by investments in bio technology and medical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and its adjacent hospital. The UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center providing health care and breakthrough medical research. UAB is now the area's largest employer and the second largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 18,750 as of 2011.
As of 2009, the finance & banking sector in Birmingham employed 1,870 financial managers, 1,530 loan officers, 680 securities commodities and financial services sales agents, 380 financial analysts, 310 financial examiners, 220 credit analysts, and 130 loan counselors. City Center in downtownThe telephone company that is now owned by ., which was formerly and before that , which had its headquarters in Birmingham, has a major nexus in Birmingham, supported by a skyscraper downtown as well as several large operational center buildings and a data center.The insurance companieshave their headquarters in Birmingham, and these employ a large number of people in Greater Birmingham.Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies,each with more than $500 million in sales per year, are located in Birmingham. The Birmingham metropolitan area has consistently been rated as one of America's best places to work and earn a living based on the area's competitive salary rates and relatively low living expenses. One study published in 2006 by Salary.com determined that Birmingham was second in the nation for building personal net worth, based on local salary rates, living expenses, and unemployment rates.A 2006 study by web site bizjournals.com calculated Birmingham's "combined personal income" (the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a year) at $48.1 billion.Birmingham's sales tax, which also applies fully to groceries, stands at 10 percent and is the highest tax rate of the nation's 100 largest cities.Although Jefferson County's bankruptcy filing was the largest government bankruptcy in United States history, Birmingham remains solvent
Information for the state of Alabama
The state has invested in aerospace, education, health care, banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the state's gross domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming conglomerates.
Occupations outside of agriculture were widespread by 2008. Employment in that year was 121,800 in management occupations; 71,750 in business and financial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences; 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in fire fighting, law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in office and administration support; 20,510 in farming, fishing, and forestry; 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair; 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and material moving.
Our quick and easy factoring service can increase your cash flow today!
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The fact that there's no limit to the level of financing is the major advantage factoring has over traditional bank lending. As your company continues to grow, so too should the funding of invoices grow with you. -Factoring Companies Al
NEW FACTORING PROGRAM LEAVES YOUR COMPANY ROLLING IN PROFITS
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Effective Ways for Small Businesses to Avoid Cash Flow Problems
Without steady cash flow most businesses will fail to thrive, especially small businesses and start-ups. We've all heard the phrase "Cash Is King" and that's certainly true for established businesses, but for new businesses just getting started cash flow is even more important. Sadly, many new businesses fail to realize just how devastating cash flow problems can be to a business trying to establish themselves in the market. In fact, many businesses die a sad and lonely death simply because of bad cash management, and these are businesses that would otherwise have survived had they not experienced cash flow problems. Statistics show that 82% of businesses fail because they were unable to manage their cash. That's a tragic figure, especially when there are effective ways for new, small, and even large businesses to avoid these problems.
So, let's take a look at some important rules that small businesses should be aware of to ensure they never have to face liquidity.
No. 1: It's Cash That Sustains Business Growth
So many businesses don't consider cash flow an issue because they see the orders flooding in; however, many growing companies do experience cash flow problems. Increased sales generally mean increased costs to deliver orders; plus, in order to support the new volume of business other sections of a business typically need to grow. Your business may appear to be highly successful as orders continue coming in, but keep in mind that the faster your business grows the more financing it will need.
No. 2: Margins Are Just Accounting - They're Not Cash!
We know that accounting, and accountants, can be pretty creative with figures because there's nothing shareholders and board members love more than hearing about the industry-leading margins you're achieving; but your board members and shareholders are not the ones who have to find the money to meet payroll and pay your landlord. Margins don't pay your employees. Your sales may be booked down when your customer's order is delivered, but how long will it be before you receive payment? 30, 60, 90 days, or even longer? If your customers are not paying you and you're struggling to pay your expenses, your business is now in survival mode. Keep in mind that you may have great accounting margins but still have an empty bank account.
No. 3: When You're Selling B2B (Business-to-Business) Cash Flow Problems Will Likely Be Your First Issue
The more sales you make the more money you make, but when you're selling B2B it's not always that simple. Yes, you sell and deliver goods or services to another business and provide them with an invoice, and your customer will pay the invoice at a later date. But how much later? If you chase the business too hard for payment they'll probably never work with you again, so you could receive payment months later. You're not going to pass up businesses who buy with high volume, so you have no choice but to wait. So, you end up with a cash flow problem.
No. 4: Cash Flow Problems Can Occur Very Quickly
It doesn't take much for cash flow management to become a serious problem, so monitor your cash flow very carefully. Determine how much of your working capital is locked into receivables, inventories, raw materials, and so on; and know exactly how much money is required to meet both your sales targets and operating expenses. You may have made the sales but that doesn't mean you have the cash, and you may have paid for inventory but that doesn't mean it's automatically a cost of goods sold.
No. 5: Your Inventory Ties up Cash
You can't sell your goods until you've purchased or built them and, whether your goods are sold or not, your vendor still expects to be paid. This means that your inventory is locking up your cash. You could eventually make two times or even three times your money on your inventory, but margins do not equal cash.
No. 6: You Must Be Practical About Working Capital
Working capital is the figure left over when current liabilities are deducted from current assets, which means it's the money you have in your bank account available for meeting operating costs, paying vendors, and buying inventory - all the while waiting for your business customers to pay your invoices. Understanding and grasping the concept of working capital is a very necessary survival skill in business because being able to maintain sufficient cash to pay your own financial responsibilities whilst dealing with all the unknowns in business can be very tricky.
No. 7: Be Clear on What "Accounts Receivable" Actually Are
The money owed to you by your customers is called accounts receivable, which means the money that's sitting in your customer's bank account that belongs to you is called receivables. Just like inventory, the amount of money in your accounts receivable column is money you don't have. Certainly, you've done the deal and you've sent the invoice, but now you're waiting to be paid. You must remain very vigilant until such time as the invoice has been settled and the money is physically in your bank account.
8. Monitor the Health of Your Business Very Closely
Three aspects of your business that require close monitoring include -
-Inventory Turnover: Measure how long your inventory stays on your balance sheet without being converted to cash;
-Collection Days: Measure how long it takes to receive payment for services rendered or goods sold;
-Payment Days: Keep a record of how long you wait before paying suppliers.
Now, make a plan. Project these figures out to 12 or 18 months ahead then compare your plan to what actually occurs. This is a really great way of gaining some insight into your own business.
No. 9: Prepare for Financing before You Actually Need It
Don't wait until you need financing to start reaching out to finance companies. Contact companies who provide financing, especially credit line financing, and look for products where interest is not payable if the money is not used. Don't wait for your business to have cash flow issues. Waiting until you urgently need cash or a loan will subject you to higher interest rates and dodgy terms. Start the process while your business is healthy, which will allow you to negotiate finance terms from a position of strength. We strongly suggest you be proactive and find a partner ready to finance your business; a partner that's prepared to grow with you.
Our quick and easy factoring service can increase your cash flow today!
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Bookkeeping for Freight Brokers and the Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make
A freight broker is either a company or an individual who effects the transportation of goods by pairing up shippers with transportation services. The freight broker is not only responsible for pairing reliable and authorized transportation carriers with shippers, but also organizing the shipping needs for various organizations. Besides matching shippers with carriers, a freight broker is also responsible for ensuring each and every piece of cargo reaches its destination - and in good condition.
In addition to these tasks, freight brokers are also responsible for maintaining accurate bookkeeping records, and those who fail to keep meticulous accounting records are likely to lose money in the long run. In this post we've detailed what we believe are the most common accounting mistakes freight brokers make, and ways in which they can be avoided.No. 1: Attempting to DIY Your Bookkeeping Can Result in Costly Errors
Whether you handle the books yourself or delegate this vitally important job to an unqualified employee or even a family member, DIY bookkeeping is seldom, if ever, a good idea. Yes, initially you'll undoubtedly save some money, but your inexperienced bookkeeper's errors can ultimately become very costly to your business and result in expensive financing terms, increased bond premiums, and other unnecessary costs.
We strongly suggest you employ the services of an experienced bookkeeper who's qualified to deliver accurate accounting records, which will ultimately result in fewer errors and the job being completed quickly and efficiently.
No. 2: Postponing Important Bookkeeping Tasks Due to Heavy Workloads
It's not easy running a business, and anyone who finds themselves in this situation understands only too well just how difficult it can be to find the time to complete day-to-day time-consuming tasks. It's imperative that things like reconciling credit card and bank statements be completed each month because it's only through these reconciliations that errors can be found; plus of course it's how you determine out how much credit or cash you actually have.
As tempting as it may be to postpone these tedious tasks, you must ensure that your credit card and bank statements are reconciled every month, ideally as soon as you receive each statement. Keeping on top of statements means you can quickly identify any lost checks, missing deposits, or fraudulent charges, and be able to handle any discrepancies in a timely manner.
No. 3: Failing to Track Receivables and Invoices
Your business depends on you getting paid, and you won't be paid if you're not regularly and properly accounting for receivables. The lifeblood of your business is cash, which means the success of your business is entirely dependent upon you accounting for receivables. To put it another way, if the period of time between paying your carriers and receiving payment from customers is unnecessarily delayed by poor accounting practices, your business cash flow is going to be very strained.
If you're time-poor and realize you simply don't have time to track and collect invoices, then invoice factoring is the perfect solution for you. For just a small fee your applicable invoices will be purchased by the invoice factoring company, but the best part about invoice factoring is that you receive immediate payment! No longer will you have the time-consuming responsibility of trying to collect payments, thus saving an enormous amount of office time: plus, it leaves you free to take care of your own job, which is handling the day-to-day running of your business.
No. 4: Overlooking Liabilities Can Have Disastrous Results
When a surety inspects your business records to underwrite a bond, one of their first and most important considerations is whether your assets are sufficient to cover your liabilities. It's difficult for inexperienced bookkeepers to understand the full implications of accurate record keeping and sometimes DIY accountants record a liability but once the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it understates net income while overstating liabilities, which makes your business appear less financially stable than it actually is.
The only way to avoid these unnecessary accounting errors is to hire an experienced bookkeeper. It's always handy to have another set of eyes, whether it be a CPA or an owner, to regularly review the balance sheet and check for discrepancies in account balances.
No. 5: Miscategorizing or Creating Unnecessary Expense Categories
All too often we see inexperienced bookkeepers either creating unnecessary expense categories or wrongly categorizing expenditures, either of which can be a huge red flag. Generally, each industry uses a standard set of categories for expenses and failing to follow this set of rules can signal to a surety or loan underwriter that an inexperienced person is handling your books; meaning that they may not be well prepared.
It's really important that your business's accounting software is correctly set up, preferably with the help of an accountant or experienced bookkeeper. Additional expense categories should not be added unless absolutely necessary. If you have any queries about how to classify expenses, don't hesitate to ask for guidance from your qualified accountant or CPA.
No. 6: Submitting Invoices with Insufficient Details
Don't try to save time by skimping on invoice details. Your customers' invoices should have detailed information on each line item; for example, do you invoice per mile, by weight, or by piece? Is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges such as fees or reimbursements for fuel, these should be listed as separate line items. The only way to avoid any confusion is to ensure that charges are properly detailed on invoices.
The last thing you want is for your customers to complain about charges they don't recognize on their invoices; and missing information can cause much confusion, resulting in delays in payment. All of these problems can be prevented by ensuring that your invoices have complete, detailed, and accurate information. Don't create unnecessary problems by trying to skimp on invoice details.
No. 7: Not Learning or Understanding the Full Functionality of Your Accounting Software
Getting a business up and running can be very expensive and time-consuming, and many freight brokers simply don't have time to learn how to use their accounting software package to its full capacity. This is not a problem if all your accounting and bookkeeping tasks are being outsourced; however, if you're using the software in any way at all, perhaps even just for entering checks and running reports, we strongly recommend that you learn how to use all functions of your accounting software package.
You can save so much time and have easy access to real-time information on the financial status of your business if you have the right accounting software and you know how to use it correctly. Having this information at your fingertips can help you make the right decisions to grow your business.
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Why Do Companies Choose Factoring?
We know that factoring is the ideal way for a business to access instant cash on their company's receivables, but there are other important benefits as well. Factoring can be a very handy financial instrument for many businesses.
Listed below Are Six Key Benefits of Factoring
No. 1: Back Office Solutions
Anyone running a business knows just how time consuming and expensiveit can be collecting payments from customers. When you employ a factoring company they'll take over that role for you using their own collection specialists: it's their job to follow up with customers until such time as your account has been paid in full. In addition, some factoring companies use online accounts, which means that you'll have the ability to track your customers' payments in real time.
Handing this time consuming part of your business over to the factoring company frees up your time to do what you do best - running your business, looking for new business opportunities, and providing your customers with excellent customer service.
No. 2: Better Quality Customers
Some factoring companies have their own rating systems for companies involved in your industry, in addition to having access to credit data on companies that could well become your new customers, and days pay information. Others create their own rating systems for companies working in your industry, which allows you to make calculated, informed decisions about both existing and new customers.
No. 3: Instant Access to Cash
When a company provides goods or services on credit it usually has to wait somewhere between 30 and 90 days for customers to pay on their invoice, and this very often leads to cash flow problems for the business. And that's the beauty of factoring! When you use a factoring company you'll typically receive an advance on an invoice within 24 hours. This immediate injection of cash allows businesses to purchase additional equipment, employ new staff, and cover other business expenses.
No. 4: Growing Your Business
Because factoring provides instant access to cash, it offers you the flexibility to grow your business at a faster pace. In addition, factoring is very simple to set up. A factoring account can be created within a matter of days, whereas a traditional bank loan can take weeks. And, there's no limit to the amount of funding a factoring company can provide, unlike bank loans. Of course, this is assuming the factoring company you choose to work with has a strong capital structure. Over a period of time, the volume of factoring can increase within months - from thousands to millions of dollars.
No. 5: Funding for Start Ups
Start Ups quite often require financing to get their business up and running; but because they have no cash flow statements or balance sheets, and no business history, they're highly unlikely to qualify for cash flow or asset based lending.
Factoring is not concerned about these requirements because it's main interest is in the credit history of your customers. Before a factoring company offers you financial assistance it will examine your customers' credit scores, their payment patterns, and general financial health. Typically, the factoring company will not be interested in how long your company has been operating.
No. 6: Factoring Is Not a Debt
Factoring does not become a debt to your business because it's not a loan. Your business receives financial support from the factoring company as and when you accumulate invoices, and the matter is settled once your customers have paid in full. It's true that if you're utilizing recourse factoring, you, as the factoring client, assume the risk if your customers default on payment; however, factoring companies usually allow businesses to work off that amount by retaining a portion of reserve payments or future cash payments.
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Factoring Companies - Benefits
Factoring companies offer a wide variety of benefits to businesses. Factoring companies conduct financial business by allowing a business to sell its invoices to a factor (also known as a third party business or individual.) The price that the business charges is discounted in order to sell the invoices that are currently held, and make the cash that is immediately needed for any type of expenditures involving the business. A business that has immediate cash needs, but has no cash to pay for the expenditures that has occurred often ends up going under and eventually shutting down completely. This takes a lot of jobs away from people, and can leave you working for someone else, no longer running for your business. No one wants to take this large step down from the current place that they are in. A business owner has worked incredibly hard to get to where he or she currently is, and does not deserve to have their business become obsolete. This is where the factoring companies can be a huge help to businesses.
Keep in mind that factoring companies do not use the same process as invoice discounting. Instead, invoice factoring (also called the "Assignment of Accounts Receivable" by the FASB and GAAP) is the sale of invoices, instead of invoice discounting which involves collateral in order to ensure that the individual who took out the invoice discounting loan will pay it back. Factoring is not a loan; instead, factoring is the sale of invoices in order to get immediate cash. There is no loan in the process of factoring, and you will never have to pay the money back.
Since the invoices that are sold are also called receivables, the entire process of factoring is usually called the sale of receivables. Receivable factoring is much better than trying to take a loan out from the bank. Banks charge interest on any type of loan, and although there is usually collateral, it can put you in even more debt than you currently are. In addition, factoring companies are never going to give you a loan. When a factoring company funds your discounted receivable, he or she will choose to buy the receivable, giving you cash immediately. This cash can pull your entire business out of the hole that it is currently in. Instead of taking a loan out and getting yourself further into debt, factoring allows you to simply sell your own invoices and get back most of the money that you originally put into them. Although this may seem like a bad process since you are selling valuable invoices, it is important to do, as the invoices are completely useless if your entire business goes under. Instead of trying to take a loan out to keep all of your receivables (invoices) factoring companies benefit you directly by giving you the cash you need.
Benefits of Factoring Companies / Invoice Factoring / Receivable Factoring
When you are in a bind and really need money in order to get through the next few months, it can be very troublesome. Although the first thought in most peoples' minds would be to visit the nearest bank as soon as possible and take out some kind of loan, this is very dangerous. Although the loan may hold your business over for the next few months, it is simply delaying the same money crunch you already had. Unless your business is making an incredible amount of money, the bank loan that you took out has increased in the price that you must pay bank. Interest on a bank loan is how the banks make money and survive. Many loans have a very high interest rate, and if you are unable to pay the loan back in a short amount of time, you are going to be in more of a money crunch than you originally were in. In order to pay back the loan, you would have to make a large amount of money in a very short time, which is unlikely if you needed to take out the loan in the first place.
Rather than bothering with bank loans that will inevitably put you back in the money hole that you were in when you took it out, factoring companies are available to help you. A factoring company is a place where businesses can place their invoices for sale at a discounted price, which will allow them to receive immediate cash. As aforementioned, this money does not need to be paid back, as it is not a loan. Keep in mind, you are not selling your business. You are selling invoices in order to keep your business growing. You will be able to get more invoices in the future when your business is back up and running, but if you do not sell these invoices, you will never be back up and running.
When you are in a money crunch, don't put yourself back in the money hole that you are in by taking out a bank loan. Utilize factoring companies in order to get immediate cash that will help you get back up and running without putting a loan on your business.
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Small Business Invoice Factoring: The Clever Choice!
Many small businesses are discovering invoice factoring and quickly realizing this was a very smart business choice! Why? Because small business invoice factoring converts receivables into immediate cash!
The Ideal Alternative to Traditional Bank Loans
Small businesses are discovering that invoice factoring is the perfect, and much easier, alternative to traditional funding sources, like bank loans and cash advances. Any small business who sells to the government or other companies can use invoice factoring to enjoy the many benefits of accessing immediate cash flow. Whether you've applied for traditional funding and been refused or applied and are still waiting to hear if you've been accepted, keep in mind that small business invoice factoring is a very viable option for you.
How Does Invoice Factoring Work for Small Businesses
One of the major benefits of small business invoice factoring is that it's the credit worthiness of your customers that determines the funding decision. This means that if you're a business who sells to the government or other businesses with good credit, you're the perfect candidate for small business invoice factoring.
Applying for invoice factoring is a very simple process, and you certainly won't be forced to wait weeks, even months, for a decision as you would with traditional funding sources.
Why Small Businesses Are Choosing Invoice Factoring
Many businesses are only just learning about invoice factoring, even though factoring has been around for a long time. Any business owner who has applied for a bank loan knows only too well that, to start with, the application process can take months, and secondly, there's still no guarantee you'll be approved for finance.
According to the Small Business Administration, in the first quarter of the year 2015 small business loan approval rates at banks were 22%, and at credit unions it was 43%. The limit on business credit cards is often capped at less than $100,000, which is often not sufficient to cover unexpected expenses or large projects.
Invoice Factoring: The Smart Alternative to Traditional Lending
Today, small business invoice factoring has become the smart alternative for many business owners because factoring provides an immediate cash advance, with no restrictions placed on the money received. It's also important to note that factoring is not a debt, which means there are no limitations on how you choose to use the funds received.
Yes, small businesses can access quick money with a merchant cash advance, but there's always a high cost involved. You'll soon discover that the cash advanced will cost your business more than 70% effective annual interest. Alternatively, cash advance lenders demand daily repayments with full payment due in just a few months. The demand for daily payback can destroy a small business, but sometimes business owners are left with no choice.
So, let's take a quick look at just some of the benefits of small business invoice factoring, and once you read through this list we're sure you'll think of more benefits to your own business.
With this immediate cash advance you'll be able to -
- Employee new staff members
- Easily meet payroll
- Accept larger orders from bigger customers
- Invest in marketing and sales
- Expand manufacturing and production
- Your business will be able to weather cash flow cycles and seasonal sales periods
- Pay down any existing debt
- Take advantage of early pay discounts from your suppliers (these discounts often cover your factoring fees)
- Extend your customers' payment terms
- Provide a smooth cash flow to support daily business operations
- Overheads are lowered due to reduced administration expenses
- Your business will be self-financed during rapid growth periods, without having to give up equity.
As you can see, the benefits of small business invoice factoring are many and varied, so why not contact us today and let's talk business!
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The Difference between Accounts Receivable Financing and Factoring
Today, it's not as easy for businesses to access finance as it was in past years, and more companies are being forced to look for alternative, non banking financing options in order to access the capital they require to help their business grow.
Two of the more popular tools available to cash strapped business owners are Accounts Receivable Financing (A/R Financing) and factoring. Some business owners believe these two are the same, but there are, in fact, some small yet significant differences.
What Is Factoring?
Factoring is when a commercial finance company, also known as a factor or factoring company, purchases a business's outstanding accounts receivable. At that time, the factor will typically advance the business somewhere between 70% and 90% of the invoice's value. Then, once the invoice is collected from the customer, the remaining balance - minus a factoring fee - is released to the business. The factoring fee could range from between 1.5% and 5.5%. It's calculated on the total face value of the invoice and depends on how many days the funds are in use and other aspects, like the collection risk.
When a business has a factoring contract they can usually choose which invoices they want to sell to the factor: it's not generally an all or nothing process. Once the factor has purchased an invoice they become responsible for managing the receivable until the account has been paid. Essentially, the factor becomes the business's accounts receivable department and credit manager, analyzing credit reports, performing credit checks, mailing invoices, and documenting payments.
What Is Accounts Receivable Financing?
Accounts Receivable Financing is more similar to a traditional bank loan, however there are some key differences. Bank loans are secured with collateral; which might be real estate, the business owner's personal assets, or plant and equipment; whereas Accounts Receivable Financing is backed by the business's assets related to the Accounts Receivable. When a business has an Accounts Receivable financing agreement, a borrowing base is established at each draw against which the business is able to borrow money: this would typically be between 70% and 90% of the qualified receivables.
Between 1% and 2% is typically charged as a collateral management fee against the outstanding amount, and interest is only calculated as and when the money is advanced. An invoice must be less than 90 days old in order to count towards the borrowing base, and the finance company must deem the business credit worthy. There may also be other conditions to fulfil.
So, you can see that there are many similarities between Accounts Receivable financing and factoring; however, one is the sale of an asset (receivables or invoices) to a third party, while the other is actually a loan. In many ways, though, they do act similarly. Below we've listed the main features of each so you can determine which would be the best fit for your company.
Accounts Receivable Financing
' Generally, Accounts Receivable Financing is not as expensive as factoring;
' It can be easier to move from this type of financing to a traditional bank line of credit once a business becomes bankable again;
' Typically, a minimum of $75,000 per month is required in sales to qualify, so this type of financing may not be available to small companies;
' Due to the fact that the business will be required to submit all of its Accounts Receivable to the finance company, this type of financing can be less flexible than factoring.
' It's quite easy to qualify for factoring, and factoring is the ideal solution for start ups and financially challenged companies;
' Because businesses can decide which invoices they want to sell to the factor, factoring offers more flexibility than Accounts Receivable Financing;
' The company is able to track total costs on an invoice by invoice basis because factoring has a simple and straightforward fee structure.
Today we see both Accounts Receivable Financing and factoring as traditional sources of financing; effective when traditional bank financing is not an option. Factoring can carry a business through a period when an immediate cash input is required.
Somewhere between 12 and 24 months most companies are generally able to repair their financial situation and once again become bankable. However, some companies in certain industries continue factoring their invoices indefinitely.An example of this is the trucking industry, which relies heavily on factoring for cash flow injections.
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Invoice Factoring; The Best Way to Grow a Temp Staffing Agency
When temp agencies are struggling with cash flow problems they typically have two options; the first option is to apply for a business loan from a bank or other lender and hope they achieve a favorable result. Their second option is to use invoice factoring, so in this post we're going to discuss why invoice factoring could be their best choice.
Many businesses in many varied industries are discovering that invoice factoring is the ideal way of addressing cash flow issues, and this is also true for temp staffing agencies. In fact, it may be even more true for temp staffing agencies because these agencies don't receive payment from clients until such time as their job vacancy has been filled and the selected applicant has completed a period of work. It's not surprising, then, that temp staffing agencies often struggle with cash flow issues!
How Factoring Can Help Temp Staffing Agencies With Cash Flow
Temp staffing agencies are required to use their own finances to pay for the necessary advertising in order to place their job candidates. The client is only invoiced once the temp agency has located the perfect applicant and that person has actually worked, which can involve a long period of time before being paid. And when they are paid, they're often paid on a per-hour basis, determined by the number of hours the successful applicant has worked. In the meantime, the temp staffing agency still has its own financial obligations, like rent, payroll, advertising costs, office supplies, and so on. All these expenses must be paid by their due date, which can place an agency in a short-term (sometimes long-term) financial crisis.
Temp Staffing Agencies Must Meet Their Own Financial Responsibilities
Like any other business, temp staffing agencies can't postpone their own financial obligations, so they need access to money. Rent must be paid, utilities must be paid, and their employees need to be paid on a regular basis. All business offices require supplies and money must be available to advertise job openings, so it's understandable that waiting to be approved for a bank loan may not be a practical or even feasible option. These temp staffing agencies need access to money, and the sooner the better. That's why we suggest that invoice factoring may be the ideal solution for resolving a temp staffing agency's cash flow problem.
How Factoring Works for Temp Staffing Agencies
When any business decides to negotiate an invoice factoring program to generate instant cash, the business may, in many cases, secure up to 92% of the total value of their invoices within 24 hours! Note that if this is the first time the temp staffing agency has worked with a factor it could take between four and seven days to establish a factoring program. Either way, the agency's cash flow problems will be over, and they can proceed to conduct and grow their business.
Many temp staffing agencies are affected by cash flow problems, sometimes only occasionally, but we strongly suggest all agencies learn about factoring and how it works, just in case the need for immediate cash should arise. Invoice factoring has become a very popular financing option for many businesses, particularly those who need an urgent cash injection. Most times, money will be advanced within 24 hours once the agency has established a relationship with a factoring company.
Invoice Factoring is NOT a Loan!
Another bonus of invoice factoring is that it's not a loan. Basically, all the temp staffing agency is doing is accessing money that's already owed and payable to them. Factoring simply provides a means for the agency to access this money when it's most needed
Now, temp staffing agencies don't need to approach banks and other traditional lending authorities, hoping and praying they qualify for a loan. All that's required is for the agency to provide the factoring company with copies of the invoices they wish to sell, together with time sheets for each employee. Then, within 24 hours the agency will receive a cash deposit into their bank account. No more cash crisis! The temp staffing agency will now have funds to meet their regular financial obligations without the need to take on any further debt.
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Healthcare Staffing Factoring
The healthcare field is arguably one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. With the baby boomers, the largest section of our population, reaching retirement age the need for expanding healthcare services has never been more pronounced.
At the center of this growth are healthcare staffing agencies that hire for hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices and a wide range of medical facilities. However, while business is booming the ability for these staffing agencies to expand is inhibited by the customer invoice system. Fortunately, there are healthcare staffing factoring companies around to help them in their time of need.
We asked the owner of a local healthcare staffing agency, Joy Reed, to talk to us about how factoring companies helped expand her business and provide a much needed boost at a critical time for her company.
"Hello Joy and welcome. I was hoping you would tell us a little about how healthcare staffing factoring companies helped your business, but I suppose we should begin by how you got started in this business?"
Joy Reed (JR), "Thanks for having me. I actually have been a part of several start-up businesses in my recent career and was looking for a field that would show a lot of promise. It was pretty clear to me that medical staffing was a big need in the healthcare field so I set about to start my own business. I had experience in starting up businesses before, so I drew up a business plan, took out a loan, rented the offices and hired a staff to get started."
"So, you did what most people do in starting up a business. How did it do?"JR: "I actually got off to a pretty good start. I had made a few contacts and managed to get some business right away. This was really helpful because as you might know our clients use invoices for payments and it can take up to 90 days before we actually get the cash in hand. Around four months in we were facing a real crossroads as new opportunities opened up for our business, but we didn't have the cash on hand to take advantage."
"I'm a little confused. You say you were doing well, but you didn't have the ability to expand your business?"
JR: "That's right. The problem was back to the invoices that were making up wait up to 3 months before we had the cash. I really wanted to expand my staffing business to handle the new opportunities I was being presented, but I couldn't because I was still waiting on the invoices to finally turn to cash. So I was asking my accountant about what could be done when the suggestion of a healthcare staffing factoring company was introduced."
"Tell us a bit more about factoring companies."
JR: "Basically, factoring companies purchase the invoices right on the spot so you can have cash on hand immediately instead of waiting up to three months. For healthcare staffing factoring companies, they will then collect the money from the business when the invoice is read to be fully paid. It really worked out for me because I was able to get cash quickly to add new personnel and even expand my offices to include another section of the building I was renting in."
"I understand that factoring companies are there for many different kinds of businesses, including medical staffing. Was it difficult to get set up with a factoring company?"
JR: Actually, it was pretty easy once we found a company that met our needs. I just filled out a short form and they looked over a few of the invoices I had to see what companies that I worked with. It really didn't take long at all before they agreed to cash some of the invoices and I got the money I needed to expand."
"Could you tell me a little more about the advantages of using a factoring company like this?"
JR: "Sure, I was not only able to hire a couple of new people and rent additional space, I've been able to cash my invoices when unexpected bills come up or if I need to make a purchase quickly for a new piece of equipment. This has come in really handy recently when I decided to move to a new location and needed some cash on hand to make the transition. The factoring services are really quite good with reasonable rates and fast service."
"What's the differences in using factoring companies over getting a new loan?"
JR: "It is frankly much better than getting a loan because with factoring there is nothing to pay back. We are basically getting our own money from the invoices we've earned up front and paying only a small fee. With a loan, I would not only have to pay it back but with interest as well. Factoring for us has really been a godsend when it comes to making decisions about how to expand my business. I'm no longer tied down to waiting 2 to 3 months to get paid when I can take what my business has earned and get cash immediately."
"I take it that you are happy with how healthcare staffing factoring has worked out for you?"
JR: "You would be correct. I cannot imagine how my business would have expanded at that critical time without factoring companies to buy my invoices. This is a great service that has helped me in my time of need and now my medical staffing business is bigger than ever. I'd recommend factoring companies to anyone running a business that relies on invoices if they need to get cash quickly."
There is little doubt that Joy Reed has been quite happy about the services she received working with a factoring company. Perhaps factoring is right for you and your needs, be sure to search for the type of factoring business that works in your field so that you can get the right services in helping your company to succeed.
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The Advantages of Trucking Factoring for Trucking Companies
Around the country, many owners of small trucking companies are running into the same problems when trying to expand their business. While the trucking business can be quite lucrative, it can take many weeks or even months to finally get paid on hauling invoices. This puts trucking companies in a real bind by having to play catch-up while trying to pay bills and salaries of their drivers.
We caught up with Jason Kind, an owner of a small trucking business that he created just a few years ago. Like many trucking owners, Jason was trying to expand his company to meet the needs of his clients, but was running into money issues that were holding him back. We asked him about his situation, the challenges he faced and how Trucking factoring played a real role in helping his company to expand without being burdened by paying back high interest loans.
Jason, it's good to have you with us.
Jason Kind: "Thanks, I appreciate being here."
Tell me a little about your trucking company and how it got started.
JK: "I had been driving trucks for years when in 2011 I decided to start my own trucking business. I went through the loan process, purchased a couple of trucks and got started. At first, it was really exciting because I had made a few connections as a driver and I picked up some early business. It seemed like everything was starting to snowball as I was getting requests from other businesses, but I was running into a cash problem."
It seems rather strange that being successful was causing you to be short on cash?
JK: "I know. You see in the trucking business we charge invoices which means that it could take weeks or even months before the cash would roll in. A typical invoice takes anywhere from 45 to 60 days before the payment comes through. Here I was getting offers from other businesses and I didn't have the cash on hand to buy trucks and hire drivers."
So, what did you do?
JK: I'll admit I was at my wit's end because I thought by the time I had the cash to expand that the interest would dry up first. I didn't want to take out another loan because I would just be putting off that debt until later and I had nothing to sell or any additional way to make more money. It was around that time when I heard from one of my friends in the trucking business about Trucking factoring."
What exactly is Trucking factoring?
JK: "Well, Trucking factoring is a way for trucking companies like mine to get paid quickly for the loads we are hauling. Instead of having to wait weeks or even months sometimes to get paid for hauling, Trucking factoring lets us get money right away for the work that we've done."
How does Trucking factoring work?
JK: "Well, there are companies out there who are willing to purchase the invoices that trucking companies like mine get when we perform a job. I managed to find a good, reputable company that actually purchases the invoices we get after performing a job along with other bills that we charge in our business. In return, they pay us cash that I not only use to cover my payroll, fuel costs and expenses, but I was able to put back enough money to purchase another truck a lot more quickly than if I had simply waited for the invoices to be paid."
It seems like you stumbled on a pretty good deal when it comes to Trucking factoring. Are there any other benefits that you've enjoyed by using this service?
JK: You bet, because the invoices act as the means to pay the company. It is not a loan where I have to pay back any money. The Trucking factoring company simply takes a very small percentage off each invoice or bill as their fee and I get the rest in cash right away. It's really worked out for me because not only was I able to get the cash needed to expand my business I was able to pay off my original loan a lot more quickly as well.
In fact, I was able to leap onto new business offers more quickly because the Trucking factoring allowed me to start purchasing new trucks and hire drivers months before I could even consider doing that simply waiting on the invoices.
This Trucking factoring sounds almost too good to be true, surely there must be a catch somewhere?
JK: I'll admit, I was a little skeptical at first, but it's all pretty straightforward. The Trucking factoring company I use didn't even charge me a sign up fee nor did they sign me to any long term contract. I just took a few minutes with them to set everything up and when I turn in an invoice, they pay me cash right on the spot.
You said you didn't have to sign any long term contracts. Are there a minimum number of invoices or amounts that you have to turn in each month?
JK: Actually, no. When I first started with them I was turning in practically all of my invoices so I could generate some cash up front. Now, when I need some cash to pay off bills or make quick purchases, I go to the company with my invoices. Some months I've turned in quite a few invoices, other months not so much.
It really sounds like you found a great deal in Trucking factoring?
JK: You bet. I have even used their fuel advances and discount cards to help me save money which really helped out in the first year of my business. I've had other trucking owners call me up and ask me how I was able to expand my company as fast as I did. I tell them all the same thing, if you have invoices, then Trucking factoring is the way to get fast cash without having to take out loans or put yourself in a deeper hole.
Jason's business continues to grow and Trucking factoring was a big reason why he was able to expand so rapidly. If your trucking business is short of needed cash with invoices that have yet to be paid, then you should consider Trucking factoring as a way to put money into your hands right away.
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How Factoring Saved A Staffing Agency
The Bellosa Temporary & Permanent Hiring Agency has been experiencing a major uptick in business since the unemployment crisis began. The unemployed and underemployed workers have been keeping the phones ringing. The staffing agency is also fielding a lot of calls from employers too, looking for just the right hire. Company President and Vice President, Laurie Bell and Ted Stevens, have not experienced a boom in business since they first opened the doors in 2009, during the recession. They had an idea then that this would be a profitable venture.
The mantra that Laurie and Ted live by is that there "s always going to be people searching for work and of course employers will always be on the lookout for good workers. This is especially true in healthcare staffing, the industry they specialize in. This seemed to be a safe bet for them as they embarked on this venture, but with any small business, the only way to keep the doors open is to keep pressing forward and out perform the competition.
In a relatively short period of time Laurie and Ted had built a nice sized business, they were able to hit the ground running with some brilliant marketing programs and a number of contracts from insiders. They grew rapidly, the timing couldn "t have been better and they were very lucky in this aspect. By the fall of 2011 Laurie and Ted had weathered some ups and downs but they did have some solid clients like a few big insurance companies and a university hospital close by. These clients always paid their invoices on time. But they did start to notice a decrease in accounts receivables from some smaller clients such as rehab centers and private practices.
As winter approached they recalled previous winters and holiday seasons and realized that accounts receivables usually did slow down during this time. Laurie and Ted made the decision to delay their late payments until after the New Year. This plan didn "t really appeal to them as it "s no way to start a New Year, but they seemed to have no other options.
When New Year "s had come and gone they realized that their Accounts Receivables had gone from 30 days past due to 60 days past due. Before meeting with their accountant Scott, they "d decided something had to be done, but they didn "t know what.
Sitting in the conference room with Scott they listened as pulled all the figures up on his iPad saying,â€œOkay you two, I "ve been looking over the files you sent over and I can certainly see why you "re worried about your late A/Rs but there may be a way to fix this. Do either of you know what factoring is?â€ Scott inquired.
Laurie and Ted looked at each other quizzically, and then Laurie said â€œI think it rings a bell, but I "m not really sure. Can you explain it?â€
Scott began laying out the details, â€œYou are sitting on a pile of invoices that are past due. The more time that goes by without them being paid, the bigger the bind this puts your business in. It makes it very difficult for you to grow, much less hire anyone new. If you don "t have enough cash coming in . â€
Ted interrupted with, â€œThen it could make it difficult to take on any new business because we wouldn "t be able to hire the additional personnel we need and meet our weekly payroll. We need an inflow of cash and we really can "t wait. If we have to wait any longer on these invoices we "ll be in trouble.â€
Scott jumped in saying, â€œAnd this is precisely why I wanted to discuss factoring with you. The factoring company will purchase the invoices you are sitting on that are up to 3 months late, which gives you the cash you need now.â€ He then showed him a chart on a piece of paper he placed in front of them.
Laurie began to carefully scrutinize it asking, â€œIs this the fee schedule?â€
Scott answered, â€œYes it "s all right there. The factoring company makes 1% to 3% of the total amount of each invoice they purchase.â€
â€œThat "s sounds like a good deal to meâ€, Ted said.
The three of them sat there and talked this over for a while and then Laurie and Ted made the decision to go forward realizing this was the best way to keep them afloat. They knew if they couldn "t accommodate all the new clients they were acquiring the competition would get them and they would go down, they could just not afford to turn any business away.
They now needed to fill out an application and submit it to the factoring company and they also needed to show them a few back invoices, undergo a credit check for their company. Credit checks would also need to be done on the companies owing the debts that the factoring company would be purchasing.
It didn "t take long for Bellosa "s credit to be approved and the creditors " as well. Before long the factoring company purchased the overdue invoices and Laurie and Ted got the influx of cash they needed to cover things and allow them to continue growing their business.
The next time Laurie and Ted met with their accountant Scott, there were smiles all around.Scott said, â€œI "ve taken a look at your books so I know that factoring was the right solution for you.â€
â€œIt worked perfectlyâ€, Laurie stated and went on to say, â€œThe tiny amount we paid out for this influx of cash was certainly worth it.â€
Ted chimed in with, â€œWithout a doubt! Whatever the fees were we made back and more since we were now able to hire more personnel so we could take on more business. It worked out for us and for them I would say!â€
â€œThat "s what "s great about factoring!â€ Scott exclaimed with a look of satisfaction on his face.
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Oilfield Services Factoring Services
Running a company in the oilfield services industry is no easy business, especially with payrolls to meet, equipment to purchase and deadlines that must be met. The sheer complexity of combining the geological research and modeling, imaging and exploration and finally the drilling to see whether oil is really present can take a lot of investment before any payoff can be seen.
For those who own a Frac Sand Hauler for example, the efforts that must be put in to start such as business can be considerable. But arguably the biggest challenge is paying the expenses as the invoices come in. A Frac Sand Hauler often has expenses that must be met immediately, but their invoices can take up to 60 days before they see the money.
What follows is an interview with Ray McClerand, a man who owns a Frac Sand Hauler business and ran into the same difficulties that many new companies of his type face. How Ray overcome some of the challenges in paying his bills through oil service factoring are explained in the interview.
"Welcome Ray, I'd like to know first why you decided to start up a Frac Sand Hauler company and how you prepared for the challenges it created."
Ray McClerand (RM): "I've been in the oil business for the past 15 years or so working on different jobs from roughneck to foreman to deskwork for different companies. A few years ago I saw the potential of having a Frac Sand Hauler business in this area and got together with a couple of partners to create a company. We sat down, went over the details and decided that this would be a real good time to build a business that was serving a particular need in this industry."
"So, I take it you created a business plan and took out the appropriate loans in order to purchase the equipment and hire the personnel necessary to get your company started?"
RM: "Exactly. Because I had been around this business for a while, I understood what was needed in terms of personnel and equipment. Plus, I had some contacts with others in the business that needed the type of services that a Frac Sand Hauler provides, so I felt that there was some real potential to make a profitable business work."
"How did it go over the first six months or so?"
RM: "At first, we were really thriving as my contacts had lined up some business my way. Our loans covered the first six months or so of operations and we were doing quite well with the business we had. My partners and I were certainly happy and everything was going good when something really strange happened."
"Could you elaborate on what you mean by "strange"?
RM: "Yes, after the first five months or so I started getting requests to have our company work with several other businesses in the area. This would mean having to expand our company through buying new equipment and hiring more people. But we did not have the cash on hand to make such a move. We were getting invoices from the businesses that we worked with, but it was taking up to 2 full months before we actually got the cash."
"So, you were making enough money to expand, but you didn't have it on hand because of the invoice system?"
RM: "You got it. Add to that our initial money from the loan was running out and we needed to start paying it back as well. I knew that if we didn't expand and accept the new business that others would step in and we would lose that money. So, we were in a real pickle until I heard about oil service factoring companies."
"Tell us a bit about oil service factoring and how it helped you out?"
RM: "Well, one of my partners had heard about factoring companies, so we checked it out and decided to go with one that was best suited for our needs. A factoring company buys our invoices with cash so we have money on hand to pay our bills and do what we need accomplished immediately. The factoring company then collects the money from the invoices when they become due. It's really been a win-win for what we do."
"That's interesting. I wonder if you could you explain a little further just how factoring has helped your company?"
RM: "Sure, instead of having to wait up to 60 days before we could collect on the invoices, we were able to have the cash on hand immediately to purchase some new equipment and hire some more people to expand our business. This meant that we could accept the new offers that other businesses were providing for us and not having to pass. I cannot say enough about how factoring really benefitted us when it came to expanding our business."
"So, it seems like factoring really paid off for you. Do you still use factoring today?"
RM: "Yes we do. Although for the most part we still cash our own invoices, whenever we need money quickly so we can buy some new equipment or expand our business a little further, we go back to the factoring company and cash in our upcoming invoices. It really has worked wonders for our company."
"Tell me, what would have happened if factoring was not an option?"
RM: Frankly, I don't know how we could be in the position we are today without factoring. In this business, you have to take advantage of new opportunities quickly because there are other companies out there who will step in if you don't. Basically, I don't think we would be anywhere near the company we are today if it had not been for factoring.
There is little doubt that Ray's company would not be where it was without oil service factoring that allowed him to expand his company when he needed. For those in the oil industry, having your invoices cashed immediately by factoring companies allows greater flexibility so you can grow your business a lot more quickly and take advantage of opportunities.
You Can Find More Information at https://professionalstaffing.org/
and at www.factoringthatworks.com