Monthly Archives: May 2016

Accounting Tips That You Need to Know

unduhan-14What’s the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper? What are accounting ratios, accounts receivables and accounts payables? And what exactly does your accountant mean when she says your financial statements need to follow GAAP standards?

Whether you do your own accounting, have an in-house accountant or hire a third party accounting firm, having a grasp on accounting speak can help your business tremendously. Not only will it allow you to understand your numbers better, but it will also help you make wiser business decisions. To help you get started, here are some basic accounting terms small business owners need to know, followed by our reference guides.

Accounts payable are the bills and other debts that the business needs to pay. As a matter of fact, the only thing that a business pays that is not considered accounts payable is payroll. Everything else falls under the category, making it a critical aspect of your business.

“The accuracy and completeness of a company’s financial statements are dependent on the accounts payable process,” said Harold Averkamp, founder and author of accounting advice website Accounting Coach. “The efficiency and effectiveness of the accounts payable process will also affect the company’s cash position, credit rating and relationship with its suppliers.”

Implementing a dependable accounts payable system will produce accurate financial information you need to plan for both the short and long term. Here’s what you need to know about keeping up with your business debts.

How to Choose a Service

Choosing a factoring service doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three things to consider when selecting one for your business:

  1. What type of factoring does your business need?
  2. How much of your outstanding invoices do you need funded and when do you need it?
  3. How much are you willing to pay?

We will help you answer these questions below, but if you already know what you need and just want to see our recommendations for the best factoring service, visit our best picks page.

The first step to choosing the right factoring service for your business is figuring out which type of factoring you actually need. For instance, do you need a factoring service that covers all of your outstanding invoices upfront, or will a partial payment suffice? Do you prefer to keep receiving payments from customers, or will you hand collections over to the factoring company? And do you want to be held responsible to the factoring company if customers don’t pay? These are just some of the considerations we’ll cover below.

First, to help you better understand the many different types of factoring, here is an explanation of how factoring works, followed by a breakdown of the most common factoring services.

How factoring works

Factoring is an alternative method of financing that allows business owners to sell their invoices, or accounts receivable, to a third party, the “factor.” Factoring helps to fuel growth by providing the funds necessary to keep businesses going while waiting for customers to pay for outstanding invoices.

Here’s how factoring works in real life:

EcoNuts, an organic soap nut retailer that appeared on Season 4 of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” was unable to secure an investment deal, but still had a large purchase order from a major retailer on the line. The company opted to work with factoring company BlueVine to successfully fill the order. [See Related Story: BlueVine Review: Best Bad Credit Factoring Service]

“When [EcoNuts] came to us, they were limited by their working capital they had on hand to meet that demand,” said Edward Castaño, vice president of marketing at BlueVine. “They had so many outstanding invoices from TJX [parent company of TJMaxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and the Sierra Trading Post], that it made it hard for them to fulfill orders.”

According to Castaño, EcoNuts didn’t have the cash to purchase the supplies and cover the salaries to fill the new orders, which put their growth trajectory at risk.

“[EcoNuts] used our invoice financing solution to unlock the cash trapped in their invoices to fulfill new orders and maintain their growth trajectory,” he said.

Small Business Loans Tips

unduhan-15Kabbage offers small businesses lines of credit of between $2,000 and $100,000. Each time you draw against your line of credit, you have six or 12 months to pay that money off. Instead of paying interest, however, you pay fees of between 1 and 12 percent each month. To apply, fill out an online application and link the system to either your business bank account or an online service you are already using, such as QuickBooks. Kabbage’s platform automatically reviews the data on those sites to determine if you meet the company’s standards for a loan. The process typically takes just minutes to complete. Once approved, you have instant access to your loan. Go here for our full review of Kabbage.

Best Startup Loans: Accion

Accion is a nonprofit microlender that specializes in small business loans. It offers loans specifically for startups that have been open for less than six months. Accion’s loan amounts and minimum requirements vary by state. Among the more common requirements are a minimum credit score of 575, sufficient cash flow and proof of income. Maximum loan amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000. Applications can be filled out online, with approval usually taking place within one month. Accion’s loans, most of which have annual percentage rates starting at 10.99 percent, are repaid on a monthly basis over the length of the loan. Go here for our full review of Accion.

Best Merchant Cash Advances: RapidAdvance

RapidAdvance offers merchant cash advances of between 50 and 250 percent of your monthly credit card volume. Loans are repaid by giving RapidAdvance a fixed percentage of future card receipts until the loan is paid off. To qualify, you need to have been in business for at least three months, have at least $2,500 in monthly credit card receivables and have a physical location for your business. You can apply for the advance online or over the phone. The approval process can be completed in 24 hours, with funds available within three days. Go here for our full review of RapidAdvance.

Best Bad Credit Loans: OnDeck

OnDeck offers fixed-rate loans of between $5,000 and $250,000. To qualify, you need a minimum credit score of 500 and an annual revenue of at least $100,000, and must have been in business for at least one year. Loans have lengths ranging from three to 24 months and are paid back on a daily or weekly basis. You can apply for a loan online or over the phone. Approval can be completed in just a few minutes, with funds deposited into your account within 24 hours. Go here for our full review of OnDeck.

Best Equipment Loans: Crest Capital

Crest Capital offers equipment financing of up to $1,000,000. Financial documents aren’t needed for financing of less than $250,000. The lender has a wide range of loan and lease terms, including fixed-rate loans, $1 purchase agreements, 10 percent purchase options, fair-market-value leases, guaranteed purchase agreements and operating leases. To qualify, you must have been in business at least two years and have a minimum credit score of 650. The approval process can be completed in as fast as 4 hours. Go here for our full review of Crest Capital.

Our Methodology

To determine the best alternative lenders, we started with a pool that included all of the lenders on the comprehensive list below. After some preliminary investigation, including a look at other best-pick lists and initial research into each lender, we interviewed small business owners to discover new lenders to add to our list. We also eliminated peer-to-peer lenders and online sites that match businesses with lenders, because these lenders didn’t fit into this year’s best-pick categories.

Ultimately, we settled on 28 alternative lenders to research as best picks: Accion, American Business Credit Services, American Capital Group, American Express, Amerifund, Ascentium Capital, Balboa Capital, BFS Capital, CAN Capital, Crest Capital, Dealstruck, Direct Capital, Fora Financial, ForwardLine, Fundation, Kabbage, Kalamata Capital, Keystone Leasing, Merchant Advisors, OCM Financial, OnDeck, PayPal, RapidAdvance, Rapid Capital Funding, Shield Funding, SnapCap and Square. (See below for the full list of alternative lenders.)

Next, we researched each lender by investigating the types of loans it offered, the amount of money that could be borrowed and for how long, the application and approval process, and repayment procedures. We also considered any general term-rates that were listed on these lenders’ websites. After narrowing the list to 18 final contenders, we contacted each lender’s customer-service department by phone, and live chat if possible, and posed as business owners in order to gauge the type of support each company offered.