Most turnaround management consultants will tell you that lack of working capital is a key factor in a company’s fiscal downfall, or lack of growth, and what can save a company from spiraling downward is often sitting underused, undervalued, and ignored on the company’s balance sheet. They will also tell you that more often than not, a large volume of accounts receivable is wasting away accumulating dust that could instantly be drawn upon to turn the tide from red to black on a company’s financial future.
“We see this occur a great deal,” noted Certified Turnaround Professional Thomas M. Vivaldelli, who is principal and managing director of Distressed Real Estate Solutions and has spent more than 25 years in turnaround, crisis management, restructuring and renewal of troubled businesses. “Often it is management who has tapped out its credit lines and not prepared adequately to survive seasonal downturns. They are on a treadmill keeping the business running by erratically plugging the challenging holes in their operation’s finances on a case by case basis in order to meet their recurring expenses such as payroll, loan payments, rent, etc.. What they have failed to realize is that they have a large debt-free cashable asset-one much larger than they perceive-waiting to be effortlessly tapped.”
He added that accounts receivable funding can be an excellent short-term bridge to returning a business to profitability by assisting in recapitalizing and reformulating a capital structure, or even repositioning a company to achieve an exit goal. The immediate cash infusion derived from accounts receivable funding provides companies, in both growth or survival modes, with significant leverage; it is an asset that is easy to quantify, unlike securities and real estate assets that have been devalued in the current market environment.
With such increased capitalization, Vivaldelli added that “companies that utilize accounts receivable funding effectively can realize increased sales in ways they never anticipated.” With this type of “self-funding”, he noted that companies can take advantage of a short-term method to enhance long-term relationships with customers, suppliers and even with traditional lenders that may not have before been possible. Because of a strong cash position, these companies are better positioned to 1)secure deep discounts from their vendors, 2) pass those savings onto to their customers, 3) help their customers finance their acquisitions (that they may not have been able to make without financing terms) 4) reduce costs by upgrading operations and do so by 5) building in the cost of accounts receivable funding within the terms of the sale.
“Accounts receivable funding works well as a indispensable tool in a war chest to help turnaround the capital structure of a company in eminent danger or as a dependable ally for companies poised for great growth,” he reported . “With this tool, companies can take charge to regain or significantly amplify their financial leverage with the immediate infusion of cash. By using some of the cash to reduce debt, a company increases its value for a potential sale or strengthens its ability to be bankable with a bigger line of credit and lower interest rates.”
According to Jim Beutel, Senior Vice President, Sales and Business Development for Sun Capital, Inc., it is frequently the companies that are too busy concentrating on fulfilling orders to keep their clients’ businesses running that neglect to accumulate their own cash flow fuel to keep their own businesses running. Then, one day they wake up, feeling really good about their customer service, but devastated by their financial position.
“Ironically, these are often companies that are flooded with a healthy stream of burgeoning orders, but cannot keep step with order fulfillment because they lack the working capital to support their overhead, including having sufficient staff on hand and purchasing the raw materials to produce their final products. They lack the cash flow needed to maintain inventory levels in order to deliver their products on a timely basis” Beutel added.
Accounts Receivable Funding Is A Multi-Trillion Dollar Financial Industry
Accounts receivable funding is a multi-trillion dollar financial industry that provides cash infusion to a wide variety of businesses of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies and major government contractors. Business-to-business companies and government-related vendors that are not “cash and carry” businesses can qualify as long as an invoice is generated and a verifiable product or service is delivered.
Commercial companies and government contract vendors that meet the criteria for accounts receivable funding include manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, distributors, consultants, sporting goods and toy companies, commercial printers, communications companies, security companies, cable installers, hi-tech and related industries, personnel/temporary industry, and services organizations.