Canadian business owners and finance mangers are continually challenged to finance inventory as a component of their overall business financing and cash flow needs. There are solutions to this challenge and we’ll discuss and review some critical factors around inventory finance in Canada.
Inventory financing is the collateralizing of your inventory for financing purposes .Where it gets trick is that it has to work for all parties, yourself, and the lender, when you in fact have existing financing arrangements in place re your overall business finance strategy.
Working capital in Canada generally consists of receivables and inventory – if your sales are growing , and you are collecting receivables and turning over inventory you have a continuous need for more working capital as those two ‘ current assets ‘ grow .
The key to facilitating a solid inventory financing, or purchase order financing in Canada is to help your lender get the feeling they will never have to realize on that inventory to collect their loan or financing proceeds! You want to be able to demonstrate that your inventory is marketable, and that you have the ability to control and count the inventory. A perpetual inventory accounting systems helps a lot in that process – so investigate that with your accountant.
Similar to inventory financing a purchase order financing solution is very complimentary in nature. It is a case of your firm having product to ship but are in effect lacking in your ability to replenish inventory and fulfill orders and contracts.
When clients ask us what can go wrong in an inventory financing scenario we often simply state that you must be in a position to be able to turn inventory over and demonstrate your products are marketable in a worst case scenario .
Inventory and purchase order financing in Canada is specialized – seek out the services of a trusted, credible, and experienced business financing advisor who will be in a position to present your overall financial situation and prospects in the best light – this will include an overview of your current financial position, most importantly also your prospects, and the ability to define a facility based on the overall market value of your particular inventory.
We talked earlier about the challenge of managing through an inventory financing facility based on your current borrowing arrangements. In a perfect world (we know it’s not a perfect world!) you secure both inventory and A/R financing via a chartered bank. The alternative to this is an asset based lending facility, or what is known as an ABL line of credit. This facility margins inventory and receivables to the maximum value, which great increases your ability to draw down on cash flow needs.
In a working capital or asset based line of credit situation you will usually have a larger drawdown on receivable, but a proper inventory financing scenario can easily secure 60-80% of your overall inventory values – that is a lot of additional cash flow if you need to draw down on it.
The key benefits of a properly structured inventory financing facility are that it supplements your overall working capital needs. The facility should revolve, and you should only be paying for what you use. You should also have defined borrowing limits on inventory, and the ability to repay, or draw more financing at your option.
Your best inventory financing ability will ultimately come from your ability, as we said, for you to demonstrate proper accounting and reporting of inventory, as well as information on customer prospects, contracts, etc.
If you structure a proper inventory finance facility you will have access to significantly more working capital , inventory will easily be replenish able, and you should have additional purchasing power based on increased access to cash . Pricing on inventory and purchase order financing varies with the size of the facility, lenders interpretation of the marketability of your product, and your ability to turnover inventory at equal to or better than industry standards based on your own business model.
A proper inventory finance application should be no different that any other type of financing you apply for, so don’t view it as a mysterious type of business financing. Focus on demonstrating clearly how inventory financing will grow your sales and profits, that’s a win win situation for you and your inventory lender.