Are Inventory Financing Lenders and P O Factoring Solutions Your Best Business Financing Bet?

Your worst business nightmare has just come true – you got the order and contract! Now what though? How can Canadian business survive financing adversity when your firm is unable to traditionally finance large new orders and ongoing growth?

The answer is P O factoring and the ability to access inventory financing lenders when you need them! Let’s look at real world examples of how our clients achieve business financing success, getting the type of financing need to acquire new orders and the products to fulfill them.

Here’s your best solution – call your banker and let him know you need immediate bulge financing that quadruples your current financing requirements, because you have to satisfy new large orders. Ok… we’ll give you time to pick yourself up off the chair and stop laughing.

Seriously though…we all know that the majority of small and medium sized corporations in Canada can’t access the business credit they need to solve the dilemma of acquiring and financing inventory to fulfill customer demand.

So is all lost – definitely not. You can access purchase order financing through independent finance firms in Canada – you just need to get some assistance in navigating the minefield of whom, how, where, and when.

Large new orders challenge your ability to satisfy them based on how your company is financed. That’s why P O factoring is a probably solution. It’s a transaction solution that can be one time or ongoing, allowing you to finance purchase orders for large or sudden sales opportunities. Funds are used to finance the cost of buying or manufacturing inventory until you can generate product and invoice your clients.

Are inventory financing lenders the perfect solution for every firm. No financing ever is, but more often than not it will get you the cash flow and working capital you need.

P O factoring is a very stand alone and defined process. Let’s examine how it works and how you can take advantage of it.

The key aspects of such a financing are a clean defined purchase order from your customer who must be a credit worthy type customer. P O Factoring can be done with your Canadian customers, U.S. customers, or foreign customers.

PO financing has your supplier being paid in advance for the product you need. The inventory and receivable that comes out of that transaction are collateralized by the finance firm. When your invoice is generated the invoice is financed, thereby clearing the transaction. So you have essentially had your inventory paid for, billed your product, and when your customer pays, the transaction is closed.

P O factoring and inventory financing in Canada is a more expensive form of financing. You need to demonstrate that you have solid gross margins that will absorb an additional 2-3% per month of financing cost. If your cost structure allows you to do that and you have good marketable product and good orders you’re a perfect candidate for p o factoring from inventory financing lenders in Canada.

Don’t want to navigate that maze by yourself? Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can ensure you maximize the benefits of this growing and more popular business credit financing model.

A Brief Guide to Employment Law for New Employers

It can be an exciting time for a business owner when their business has grown large enough to employ people to continue with the required expansion. However, there are some key points that every new employer should be aware of so they do not fall foul of employment laws that regulate employers and their employees.

1. Employers should issue an employment contract within 12 weeks of an employee’s start date. Failure to do so could mean that an employer has immediately broken the law. The contract should outline the terms and conditions of employment and include things such as remuneration, working hours, holiday allowance and holiday pay.

2. Ensuring that a business employs the right people is important and during the employment process care should be taken not to discriminate in any way against potential employees, this includes discriminating on the basis of age, race and disability.

3. The National minimum wage should be a consideration as this varies according to age of employee.

4. Job descriptions are an important part of employing staff. If staff do not have clear and defined roles outlining their duties and exactly what is expected of them then this can lead to constructive and unfair dismissal cases.

5. The grievance policy should be set out and explained clearly at an early phase of an employee’s employment. An employee has a right to express a grievance either with their line manager or know the protocol if the grievance is with their line manager. Failure to clearly outline this policy can also lead to employers being taken to an employment tribunal.

It is important for employers to realise that employee’s have rights in the workplace and that failure to observe these rights can lead to breaches of employment law. It is becoming increasingly common for employee’s who have been on the receiving end of a breach of employment law to seek the specialist help of employment lawyers who are experts in helping them obtain justice.

This help is not just for the employee though employers are increasingly employing the services of employment law specialists to help them either prevent potential breaches of the law by drawing up employment contracts or providing terms and conditions for them to give to employee’s. In some cases employers will use employment solicitors to act on their behalf if an employee does decide to try and take the employer to an employment tribunal.

Purchase Order & Letter of Credit Financing

Many business opportunities come with an associated challenge. For most entrepreneurial businesses, the greatest challenge is financing the business opportunities created by your sales efforts. What are your options if you have a sales opportunity that is clearly too large for your normal scale of operations? Will your bank provide the necessary financing? Is your business a startup, or too new to meet the bank’s requirements? Can you tap into a commercial real estate loan or a home equity loan in sufficient time to conclude the transaction? Do you decline the order? Fortunately there is an alternative way to meet this challenge: You can use Purchase Order Financing & Letter of Credit financing to deliver the product and close the sale.

What is purchase order financing?

Purchase order financing is a specialized method of providing structured working capital and loans that are secured by accounts receivables, inventory, machinery, equipment and/or real estate. This type of funding is excellent for startup companies, refinancing existing loans, financing growth, mergers and acquisitions, management buy-outs and management buy-ins.

Purchase order financing is based upon bona fide purchase orders from reputable, creditworthy companies, or government entities. Verification of the validity of the purchase orders is required. The financing is not based on your company’s financial strength. It is based on the creditworthiness of your customers, the strength of the commercial finance company funding the transaction, and in most cases a letter of credit.

What is a letter of credit?

A letter of credit is a letter from a bank guaranteeing that a buyer’s payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount. If the buyer is unable to make payment for the purchase, the bank is required to cover the full amount of the purchase. In a purchase order financing transaction, the bank relies on the creditworthiness of the commercial finance company in order to issue the letter of credit. The letter of credit “backs up” the purchase order financing to the supplier, or manufacturer.

Is purchase order financing appropriate for your sales program?

The perfect paradigm is a distributor buying products from a supplier and shipping directly to the purchaser. Importers of finished goods, exporters of finished goods, out-source manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors can effectively use purchase order financing to grow their businesses.

Is purchase order financing appropriate for growing your sales orders?

Purchase order financing requires you to have management expertise- a proven track record in your particular business. You must have bona fine purchase orders from reputable firms that can be verified. And you must have a repayment plan; often this is from a commercial finance company in the form of accounts receivable or asset-based financing.

You should have a gross margin of at least 25% to benefit from purchase order financing. Sellers of services or commodities with low margins, such as lumber or grain, will not qualify.

The bottom line decision for purchase order financing:

It can take two or more years to develop a profitable business. Banks generally base their lending limits on a business’ performance for the past two or three years. Purchase order financing, combined with letters of credit and/or accounts receivable or asset-based financing can give you sufficient funds to cover your operating costs, financing costs and still realize significant profits. If you qualify for purchase order financing, you can grow your business by taking advantage of large purchase orders and eventually qualify for bank financing.

Ten Tips for Comparing Health Care Policies

Australians already know that health coverage can provide security for individuals and families when a medical need arises. Many, however, do not know how to find the best value when comparing health insurance policies.

Below are 10 tips everyone should read before shopping for private health coverage.

1. Choose coverage that concentrates on your specific health needs, or potential health needs.

The first thing you should do before comparing your health plan options is determine which policy features best fit your needs. A 30-year-old accountant, for instance, is going to need very different coverage than a 55year-old pro golfer, or a 75-year-old retired veterinarian. By understanding the health needs that most often correspond to people in your age and activity level group – your life stage – you can save money by purchasing only the coverage you need and avoid unnecessary services that aren’t relevant. For instance, a young family with two small children isn’t going to need coverage for joint replacement or cataract surgery. A 60-year-old school teacher isn’t going to need pregnancy and birth control-related services.

Whether it’s high level comprehensive care you’re after, or the least expensive option to exempt you from the Medical Levy Surcharge while providing basic care coverage, always make sure you’re comparing health insurance policies with only those services that make sense for you and your family.

2. Consider options such as Excess or Co-payment to reduce your premium costs.

When you agree to pay for a specified out-of-pocket amount in the event you are hospitalized, you sign an Excess or Co-payment option that will reduce your health insurance premium.

If you choose the Excess option, you agree to pay a predetermined, specific amount when you go to hospital, no matter how long your stay lasts. With a Co-payment option, you agree to pay a daily sum up to a pre-agreed amount. For example, if Joanne has an Excess of $250 on her medical coverage policy and is admitted to hospital, regardless of how long her stay turns out to be, she will pay $250 of the final bill. If Andrew has signed a $75×4 Co-payment with his provider, he will pay $75 per day for just the first the first four days of his hospitalization.

For younger individuals who are healthy and fit with no reason to expect to land in hospital any time soon, either of these options are great ways to reduce the monthly cost of your medical insurance premiums.
Keep in mind that different private insurers have their own rules when it comes to Excess and Co-payments, including how many payments you will need to make annually on either option. It is important to read the policy thoroughly and ask questions in advance in order to have a clear understanding of what you are paying for, and what you can expect coverage-wise in the event that you are hospitalized. Also, make sure you choose an Excess option greater than $500 if you’re purchasing an individual policy, or $1,000 for family coverage, in order to be exempted from the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

3. Pay your health insurance premium in advance before the cost increases.

Each year insurance providers increase their premiums by approximately five percent sometime around the first of April, a practice approved by the Minister of Health. By instituting these annual increases, your health insurance provider retains the ability to fulfill their obligations to policyholders despite increasing medical costs.

Most private medical policy providers allow policy holders to pay for one year’s premium in advance, which locks them into the previous year’s rate for an additional 12 months – a great way to save money. In order to take advantage of the savings offered, most insurers require payment in full be made within the first quarter of the year, between January and March.

4. Lock in to low cost health insurance at an early age.

The most obvious advantage any Australian can take when it comes to saving money on your insurance premiums is to buy in early to the least expensive rate available. And by early, we mean before age 31. Everyone who is eligible for Medicare will receive at least a 30 percent rebate from the government on the price of their health care premium, no matter what age you are. However, by purchasing hospital coverage before the July first following your 31st birthday, you can be ensured the lowest premium rate available.

After age 31, your health insurance rate is subjected to a two percent penalty rate increase for every year after age 30 that you did not have health insurance. Therefore, if you wait to purchase private health coverage until you’re age 35, you will pay 10 percent more annually than you would have if you had purchased it at age 30.

There are exemptions for some people who were overseas when they turned 30, or for new immigrants, and certain others under special exception status. However, if you purchased private insurance after age 30 and are paying an age loading penalty on your health coverage, you will be relieved of the excess penalty after 10 years of continual coverage.

The earlier in life that you lock in to a private health plan, the more money you will save both immediately and over your lifetime.

5. Choose a health care provider who already works with your health fund.

Determine which hospital you prefer if and when the need for treatment does arise, and seek out those health insurance providers that have an agreement with your hospital of choice before making a decision on your health insurance purchase.

It’s a good idea to also find out if your insurer has a list of “preferred providers,” which would include those physicians and practitioners who also have made arrangements with the health funds regarding their charges for services. Request this information from every provider when comparing health insurance policies. This way you can be sure you’ll receive the full gamut of benefits available at the lowest possible cost. These preferred providers often have “no gap” cover – special rates that reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket expenses to policyholders.

6. Double check your health insurance policy before you schedule any treatment or procedures to make sure you have coverage.

Any time you are headed to a private hospital for treatment, first check to see if the hospital and your health insurance provider have an agreement to be absolutely sure you have adequate coverage. At the same time, check with your insurance provider, physician and the hospital to see if there is a Gap between their fees and the government’s Medicare Benefits. This is extremely important because if your physician charges more than Medicare covers and you do not have a “no Gap” plan set up, you could find yourself responsible for a considerable bill. Simply contact your doctor and your insurance company to double check on these items, and avoid being saddled with an out-of-pocket expense your weren’t expecting.

7. File your expense claims promptly.

When you have a health insurance membership card, you can file a claim against your benefits at the time of treatment with no additional paperwork or filing to worry about, at least in most cases. Sometimes, you may still need to file a claim with your insurance provider. When that happens, make sure to file your claim promptly. The typical cut off for insurers to pay health care claims is two years. You can file your health insurance claim directly with your provider or at your area Medicare office, which has a reciprocal agreement in place with most insurance providers.

8. Whenever you travel overseas, suspend your health coverage.

Anytime you travel overseas for more than a few weeks but less than 24 months, certain medical insurance providers allow policyholders to suspend their memberships for the time they’re out of the country, freeing the policyholders from paying premiums during that time period. While your insurance policy is suspended, your Lifetime Health Cover status remains intact, so you do not have to worry about age loading added when you return home. Contact your health insurance provider to make sure of their policy and rules regarding waiting periods and re-activation.

Remember too that Australia has reciprocal arrangements in certain countries, including New Zealand, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K. For more information,

9. Review your policy benefits annually.

Lifestyles change, individuals get married, have children, age – children grow up and move out on their own, couples separate. A lot can happen in the span of 12 months, which is why the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman recommends that everyone review their policy benefits once every year to make sure your coverage still fits your needs.

Regardless of your life changes, your Lifetime Health Cover status remains protected, and waiting periods for benefits that equal your current coverage are waived in compliance with the Private Health Insurance Act of 2007. This means you will be able to file claims related to features you had before you made any changes without interruption in benefits.

10. Compare policies to get the best price and the coverage you need.

To make sure that you are getting the best possible price on your health insurance premium, you must compare policies from different insurers, Make sure you are comparing policies that reflect the treatment plan and coverage you need, without filler services that you won’t need. The more you know about private health coverage and government sponsored Medicare, the more likely you will find the best value for your money when it comes time to purchasing or renewing your health coverage.

Employment Contracts and Your Business

It is common practice for employers to enter into agreements with their employees to commence an employer and employee relationship. Agreements are commonly put into writing by the employer incorporating terms, which both the employer and employee mutually agree with at the outset as a standard form or negotiated terms between the parties. Surprisingly there are many employers who enter into verbal agreements with employees and do not finalise the terms of employment into written form, or an employment contract.

Over time a business’ operations and employee’s responsibilities may change, however these changes fail to be incorporated into verbal or written contracts. This often leaves employers and employees exposed to uncertainty and potentially legal exposure.

Written employment contracts allow for the terms of employment to be clear and unambiguous to ensure both parties are aware and understand their responsibilities, duties and obligations under the agreement from the commencement of employment until it is either amended or terminated. These contracts are known as common law employment contracts.

Common law employment contracts are not “industrial instruments” unlike Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), Awards and Notional Agreements Preserving State Awards (NAPSAs).

A common law employment contract can operate simultaneously with an AWA, however employers need to bear in mind that common law contracts cannot undercut the terms of an industrial instrument.

If you use common law contracts in your business it is imperative that you ensure all the terms or any relevant industrial instrument are carefully observed.

A restraint of trade clause seeks to impose limitations or restrictions on an employees’ conduct after they leave employment. Restraints of trade clauses are intended to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests and goodwill. There will always be two competing interests, an employees’ freedom to earn a living against the need of an employer to protect its legitimate business interest.

Employers need to bear in mind that restraint of trade clauses will only be valid if they are reasonable under relevant Restraints of Trade Legislation in each state and territory. In New South Wales; what is reasonable under the Restraints of Trade Legislation 1976 (NSW) will depend on factors including:

The subject matter of the restraint.
The time and area of its operation.
The nature of the employer’s business and the industry in which the employer operates.
The relationship of the employee to the employer’s clients and customers.
The nature of the work performed by the employee.

A properly drafted restraint of trade clause in an employment contract for an employee is an effective tool to protect an employer’s legitimate interests and is capable of enforcement where it can be established that an employee deliberately copied customer lists or business records before leaving employment and did so with the intent to compete against their employer. An employee can be restrained from continuing to engage in conduct in breach of their obligations under an employment contract and damages may be awarded to the employer in particular circumstances.

Restraint clauses can be a useful means of protecting legitimate business interests however employers should consider that determining the correct scope and application of valid restraint clauses is often complex and difficult and legal advice should be sought.