Benefits and Risks of Life Insurance Premium Finance

Life Insurance Premium finance is the safer way of purchasing life insurance, especially for high net worth individuals. It allows a company to borrow the cost of life insurance premiums. It usually occurs when the company has a very high premium that makes it necessary to borrow the amount in part or in whole to prevent reducing the company’s liquidity.

More often than not, traditional lenders don’t provide premium financing, and business owners need to look for specific premium financing providers to secure the loan.

Benefits of Premium Finance

When a company releases a large amount of payment, its owner must first consider whether the funds are needed for the daily operation of the company or for the expansion of the business. And in order to prevent liquidating some of the company’s assets or using key funds, financing is required.

More often than not, businesses depend on some type of loan to be sustainable. Premium financing is often a part of the debt cycle for company with high corporate owned life insurance costs.

A business owner can finance multiple policies via a single agreement that allows the owner to make a single insurance premium payment a month. In most cases, insurance companies accept premium financing and accept payment straight from the finance provider. When that is the case, the premium finance company will bill the business owner instead of the insurer.

Premium Financing of Non-Qualified Executive Bonus Plans

Premium financing can be used on non-qualified executive bonus plans, which are available for vital employees of any type of corporation. The employer has the discretion to select the workers to cover and the amount of the bonus. The business owner pays for the premiums on the policy, and the employee has to pay tax that’s equal to the premium amount.

 

The Working Procedure Of Debtor Finance

Debtor financing is gaining continuous popularity to finance the growing businesses. It enables you to pay for the organizational expenses using the slow-paying invoices. It provides a flexible line of credit which depends on outstanding invoices and may be very beneficial for both small and large businesses.

Let us try to know more about Debtor financing, its working, and benefits in this article.

What is Debtor Finance?

Debtor Finance is a non-specific term alluding to items that store an organization by financing its invoices. It is also known as Cashflow finance. The two most basic types of Debtor financing are Invoice Factoring and Invoice Discounting. Both of these tackle the same issue and give same advantages. Be that as it may, they work in a different way and offer diverse features.

How Debtor Finance Works?

As a business conveys services to the customers, the solicitations invoices raised are sent to the financier. The financier then checks the invoices and advances up to 90 percent of the unpaid receipt esteem inside 24 hours. The business can then get to the accessible assets as required. The remaining rate of the receipt is paid to the business once the client receipt is fully paid, less a little charge.

The business can hold control of the accounting and accumulations capacities, or they can select the lender to control this capacity as a component of a full administration arrangement. Most Debtor Finance financiers offer online access to reporting, permitting the business to track installment receipts.

There are two types of Debtor Finance:

Disclosed:

In this type the debtor or customer is informed on invoices that funds are directly payable to the financier. This is termed as Invoice Factoring.

Confidential:

In this type the debtor or customer is not aware of the fact that the funding being provided. This is known as Invoice Discounting.

Invoice Factoring:

Invoice Factoring is a disclosed finance facility intended to enhance an organization’s Cashflow by transforming invoices into working capital. It gives speedy access to up to 90 percent of the estimation of verified Invoices. The remaining equalization, less charges, is made accessible to the business once installment is received from their customer. This facility is a recourse facility. The small businesses which have cash flow problems uses Invoice Factoring.

Invoice Factoring is normally given as a full administration arrangement, with obligation gathering, deals record organization and reporting gave to organizations who don’t have their own credit administration assets. The lender’s expert obligation accumulation administrations can help with gathering obligation expeditiously and proficiently. Be that as it may, with a figuring understanding set up it is still workable for a business to keep dealing with their own obligation gathering if craved.

Invoice Discounting:

The classified finance facility intended to enhance an organization’s cash flow by giving financing against the organization’s outstanding receivables is known as Invoice Discounting. It is used by the large companies which have a proper credit and collection procedure. It gives snappy access to up to 90 percent of the estimation of the confirmed Invoices. The remaining balance, less charges, is made accessible to the business once installment is received from their client.

Invoice Discounting is generally utilized by built up organizations that have an in-house accumulations or credit administration division These organizations deal with their own particular accumulations and needn’t bother with the financier to gather invoices for them. Organizations exploiting Invoice Discounting may not require all invoices funded, and may just utilize it as a sort of overdraft office for critical stock buys or wages. Invoice Discounting permits a business as far as possible on the sums attracted down to control interest costs.

 

The Secrets of Litigation Finance

There are secrets to litigation finance that every plaintiff should know prior to applying for lawsuit funding. Too many plaintiffs rush to litigation finance as the answer to their current cash flow problems without completely understanding the intricacies behind litigation funding. This article should shed some light on plaintiff litigation finance and the secrets that some litigation finance companies use to make money

What is litigation finance?

Litigation finance is not a “loan” but rather it is a cash advance based upon the merits of a lawsuit that provides a plaintiff with sufficient funding to reach the conclusion of the case when the plaintiff will receive his/her fair share of the settlement or verdict. Litigation finance companies invest in the lawsuit itself as opposed to advancing money to the plaintiff in the form of a loan. Litigation finance is not based on a plaintiff’s prior credit or bankruptcy status. Other terms used for this type of funding include: lawsuit loan, litigation funding, litigation loan, lawsuit funding, lawsuit finance, lawsuit cash advance, case loan, case cash advance, plaintiff cash advance, litigant funding, pre-settlement loan, pre-settlement lending, pre-settlement cash advance, etc.

How do litigation finance companies make money?

All litigation finance companies are different and charge interest and fees differently. We all agree that litigation finance companies assume a lot of risk due to their investment in the lawsuit as opposed to investing in the plaintiff. The investment is therefore only as solid as the case. We are all familiar with how quickly a good case can get thrown-out or a jury can award a large settlement for a case that we could call “frivolous.” The United States justice system never ceases to surprise us. With that in mind, the investments of litigation finance companies are risky. They must charge relatively high interest rates on the cases that are successful in order to make-up for the unsuccessful cases. Some litigation finance companies use a multiplier instead of an interest rate which is really just a different way of accomplishing the same thing.

Are there other fees associated with litigation finance?

Again, all litigation finance companies are different and charge interest and fees differently. Generally speaking, the answer to this question is “yes.” These fees usually show-up on the contract that the plaintiff’s attorney must sign and are then taken from the settlement upon a successful case. Some examples of these fees include: origination fees, application fees, documentation fee, closing costs/fees, premature payoff penalty etc. These fees are not that different from traditional loans but plaintiffs should be aware of these so they are not blind-sided when they see these fees.

 

Car Finance Options and Solutions

Because most people don’t have cash to buy new cars, it is often a choice between leasing and using an auto loan. We will further analyze the benefits of each type of car finance option. The choice that you make will heavily affect your income over the next years. The first thing you should realize is that the decision of buying with cash or lease doesn’t involve just the money aspect, but the time aspect as well.

The car finance option you choose depends on the importance you give to owning a new car. If you value having the latest models on the market, then this will justify spending more money on this privilege. If your view of a car is orientated towards transportation and comfort (you want a car for practical reasons), then owning the newest model should take a few steps back on your priority list. You should think about these facts first and then consider the more tangible issues of car finance options.

The car finance deal that you are going to make starts when the salesperson asks you what kind of car finance option you want to use. Your answer can be one of the following: buy the car, lease the car or pay cash for the car.

If you want to buy the car, the dealer will ask you to fill in a credit application based on your credit scores. An auto loan will be arranged through the dealership. This car finance option usually is a 36-60 month endeavor. The longer the time the lower the payments will be. The amount of money you pay for this car finance option depends on your interest rate, down payment and total sum of loan. Also be careful, as the dealer will want you to make a large down payment. This car finance deal is based on the fact that, until you pay for the vehicle, the lending institution will own the car. The car’s ownership papers will be sent to you after all payments have been made.

There are some important aspects of car leasing that make it attractive to customers, such as: low monthly payments, low down payments and low maintenance costs. The main advantage is that a customer will get a car without giving too much money at once. The monthly payments are kept at a low level, lower than buying car with an auto loan. Another benefit of this car finance option is that the car will have a 3 year warranty and will be covered for mechanical failure during this period. As you can see by now, this looks very attractive and affordable by anyone, but there is a slight disadvantage (the same as in the case of a loan). You will have car payments until the entire sum of the car is paid. Only when you do this, the car will finally be yours.

From this point on the car finance deal will be over and if you have to begin leasing again the assumed responsibility of payment rates will last a long period of time again. The conclusion is that this car finance option (using the leasing method) is more expensive on a long term. Car leasing is actually the most expensive way to go, but those who favor it point out that over a 10 year period this car finance method is the best the average income customer can support.

If you are interested in leasing, this car finance option has some variations. All auto leases allow you to drive the car for a limited number of miles per year. The more you drive, the higher your payments will be. However, if you come to think of it, you save money in the long run. The contract will contain a residual price for the car, which you will pay at the end of the lease as the car passes into your possession. Be careful because this is the riskiest car finance deal of them all!

If you decide to pay cash for the car the transaction everything will be very simple. This is the most favorable car finance deal if your income can support such a large transaction. Negotiating with the dealer will most likely make this car finance option even more attractive. Choose wisely as every car finance offer has its own ups and downs, and every car finance company will try to persuade you into taking their option into account.

 

Financing Your New Look

So you’re considering having some cosmetic surgery done, but your insurance won’t cover it and you don’t have the money to pay for it up front. Believe it or not, there is a way to finance that tummy tuck or eye lift.

What to Consider:

The Cost

Cosmetic surgery is expensive. Procedures cost anywhere from $500-$25,000 depending on the type of procedure being performed. Financing your surgery will only add more to that cost due to interest rates.

As with any type of financing, your interest rate will vary based on your credit history, selected loan term and the loan amount. Available loan terms may include 12, 24, 36 and 48 months or a revolving credit line depending on your credit background. Keep in mind: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be skeptical of financing companies offering 1% rates, because there is usually a hidden cost behind these offers.

Also keep in mind that you may need to come up with a down payment in order to finance your surgery. Down payment requirements are determined based on your credit history and your health care providers requirements, if any. If you have average or above average credit, you may not be required to put any money down.

As with any type of financing, whether it be a car, a home, or even cosmetic surgery, you should take into account what your current financial situation looks like and determine whether or not you can afford a regular monthly payment for the next 24, 36, 48 or 60 months.

If you have not already done so, figure out your monthly income subtracted by your bills, don’t forget to include miscellaneous items such as groceries, toiletries, gas, household products, pet food, etc. After you have created a monthly budget, you can now determine whether or not you can afford another $100-$200 monthly payment.

The Procedure

Before you begin to get all excited about the prospect of financing your new look, it’s important to understand why you want to have this kind of procedure done. Make sure your expectations are realistic and that you are doing this because you believe there are no other options. Consider both the pros and cons of cosmetic surgery and weigh your other options.

A good rule of thumb for financing cosmetic surgery is to finance only major surgical procedures. If you’re considering Botox, for instance, the prices are reasonable enough, but if you’re financing the injection(s), it will cost you more than it’s worth.

You should also keep in mind that most types of cosmetic surgery need to be maintained on a regular basis, and fighting the aging process completely is futile.

Finding a Surgeon

Although a cosmetic financing company can refer you to a surgeon, it’s best to find one before you contact a financing company. Dr. Steve Fallek, a cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon in New York and Englewood, NJ suggests that a financing company is not going to be able to give you the best plastic surgeon.

You want to go to a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who is reputable, honest and who hopefully you’ve gotten the name from someone who has had plastic surgery from that person. Fallek says patients should ask their surgeon to recommend a finance company.

 

Small Business Financing Options – Despite the Credit Crunch

There’s no question that the financial crisis and ensuing credit crunch have made it more difficult than ever to secure small business financing and raise capital. This is especially true for fast-growth companies, which tend to consume more resources in order to feed their growth. If they aren’t careful, they can literally grow themselves right out of business.

Amidst all the gloom and doom, however, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: There are still options available for small business financing. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look and how to prepare.

Where to Look

There are three main sources you can turn to for small business financing:

Commercial Banks – These are the first source most owners think of when they think about small business financing. Banks loan money that must be repaid with interest and usually secured by collateral pledged by the business in case it can’t repay the loan.

On the positive side, debt is relatively inexpensive, especially in today’s low-interest-rate environment. Community banks are often a good place to start your search for small business financing today, since they are generally in better financial condition than big banks. If you do visit a big bank, be sure to talk to someone in the area of the bank that focuses on small business financing and lending.

Keep in mind that it takes more diligence and transparency on the part of small businesses in order to maintain a lending relationship in today’s credit environment. Most banks have expanded their reporting and recordkeeping requirements considerably and are looking more closely at collateral to make sure businesses are capable of repaying the amount of money requested.

Venture Capital Companies – Unlike banks, which loan money and are paid interest, venture capital companies are investors who receive shares of ownership in the companies they invest in. This type of small business financing is known as equity financing. Private equity firms and angel investors are specialized types of venture capital companies.

While equity financing does not have to be repaid like a bank loan, it can end up costing much more in the long run. Why? Because each share of ownership you give to a venture capital company in exchange for small business financing is an ownership share with an unknown future value that’s no longer yours. Also, venture capital companies sometimes place restrictive terms and conditions on financing, and they expect a very high rate of return on their investments.

Commercial Finance Companies – These non-traditional money lenders provide a specialized type of small business financing known as asset-based lending (or ABL). There are two primary types of ABL: factoring and accounts receivable (A/R) financing.

With factoring, companies sell their outstanding receivables to the finance company at a discount of usually between 2-5%. So if you sold a $10,000 receivable to a factor, for example, you might receive between $9,500-$9,800. The benefit is that you would receive this cash right away, instead of waiting 30, 60 or 90 days (or longer). Factoring companies also perform credit checks on customers and analyze credit reports to uncover bad risks and set appropriate credit limits.

With A/R financing, you would borrow money from the finance company and use your accounts receivable as collateral. Companies that want to borrow in this way should be able to demonstrate strong financial reporting capabilities and a diverse customer base without a high concentration of sales to any one customer.

How to Prepare

Regardless of which type of small business financing you decide to pursue, your preparation before you approach a potential lender or investor will be critical to your success. Banks, in particular, are taking a much more critical look at small business loan applications than many did in the past. They are requesting more background from potential borrowers in the way of tax returns (both business and personal), financial statements and business plans.

Lenders are focusing on what are sometimes referred to as the five Cs of credit:

o Character: Does the company have a strong reputation in its community and industry?

o CapitalLenders usually like to see that owners have invested some of their personal money in the business, or that they have some of their own “skin in the game.”

o Capacity: Financial ratios help lenders determine how much debt a company should be able to take on without stressing the finances.

o Collateral: This is a secondary source of repayment in case a borrower defaults on the loan. Most lenders prefer collateral that is relatively easy to convert to cash, especially equipment and real estate.

o Conditions: Conditions in the borrower’s industry and the overall economy in general will play a big factor in a lender’s decisions.

Before you meet with any type of lender or investor, be prepared to explain to them specifically why you believe you need financing or capital, as well as how much capital you need and when and how you will pay it back (if a loan) or what kind of return on investment a venture capital company can expect. Also be prepared to discuss specifically what the money will be used for and what kind of collateral you are prepared to pledge to support the loan, as well as your sources of repayment and what measures you will take to ensure repayment if your finances get tight.

 

What the Heck is Owner Financing?

Owner financing is a very common real estate purchase structure which has really come into the forefront of buying and selling in a buyers market. So I decided I would put together a quick overview of what owner financing is, since most buyers, sellers and even real estate professionals are usually unfamiliar with the term and the types of contracts involved. Remember structuring owners financing deals works for all types of real estate transactions big and small; home or commercial buildings.

Owner Financing Overview:

Owner financing is when all or part of the agreed upon purchase amount is held by the seller. I always tell people to look at it in the terms of a bank, the seller is holding the financing in the same way a bank would. The seller receives the monthly payments based on an agreed upon rate and term with a future balloon date for full pay off. This type of real estate transactions is very common in a buyer’s market like we are seeing now, and even more common now that lenders have tighten their underwriting guidelines and or have completely stopped lending. These sets of circumstances have created a smaller buyers pool, however the amount of property owners that still want and need to sell is still there. Seller financing can be a great way to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers.

Owner Financing Term Length:

The length of an owner financed property can differ between the time lines of both the buyer and seller. Almost all owners financed monthly payments, no matter if they are commercial purchasers or home purchases are amortized over 30 years. A typical contract balloon term is a minimum of two – three years, since 24 months is a key number for most lenders to see that you have been making on time payments on this property before lending on the buyers purchase/refinance of the owner financed contract. In addition it allows the buyer to clean up any credit or financial issues that are dragging them down from buying, if that is the buyer’s personal situations. But what is even more important in this market is that allowing the financial lending markets to stabilize and open back up. This has been the major factor for owner financing.

We have been structuring the length of our owner financing contracts out a minimum of three years with three, one year extension options. This brings the full possible balloon payment out to 6 years, if needed. This is simply because we need to make sure we give enough time for those financial lending markets enough time to rebound and starting lending again. In addition we have had owners request longer terms because of the huge tax benefits that a longer term brings, we will get talk about that subject on another article.

Down Payment or No Down Payment:

The subject on providing a down payment on the owner financing contract is always a sticky one. From the sellers stand point they usually want as much down payment as possible, why? Because, if the buyer has some “skin in the game” they are less likely to walk away from the property and contract. From the buyers stand point they always want to come in with as little a down payment as possible, thus limiting their risk.

Personally from my experience and many others I feel that most sellers should accept a smaller down payment if one at all. I know… I know what you are thinking… WTF, why would I take the risk? My point of view comes from the simple fact that if a buyer has circumstances come up that they can no longer make payments on the property, they are still going to walk away if needed, regardless of having a down payment or not. Yes…yes… I know having a down payment would at least be some kind of compensation to the seller. However from my stand point I would rather receive a few thousand dollars from the buyer and allow him/her to keep any additional monies for reserves and repairs on the property, because they do and will come up. You see from my experience if someone runs into a tough financial spot, I would rather them have reserves that can float the payment until they get back on their feet vs. being tapped out of funds day one after buying a property.

This goes for both residential and commercial real estate. Maybe even more so for commercial real estate since there is a high volume of repairs, maintenance and normal unit turns which having a reserve account is a must have to be successful. And the best thing is that you can always have compensating factors for low to no down payments such as higher interest rate and or higher balloon payoff.

 

Alternative and Non-Bank Financing – Don’t Be Afraid!

The good news is that, despite the tight credit environment, there are many alternative and non-bank financing options available to companies that need a cash infusion, whether it’s to beef up working capital or help facilitate growth.

However, the bad news is that business owners often shy away from non-bank financing because they don’t understand it. Most owners simply rely on their banker for financial information and many bankers (not surprisingly) have only limited experience with options beyond those offered by the bank.

To help ease some of the fear that owners often have of alternative financing, here is a description of the most common types of non-bank financing. There are many struggling businesses out there today that could benefit from one of these alternative financing options:

Full-Service Factoring: If a business has financial challenges, full-service factoring is a good solution. The business sells its outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance company (also referred to as a factoring company) at a discount-typically between 2-4 percent-and then the factoring company manages the receivable until it is paid. It is a great alternative when a traditional line of credit is simply not available. There are a number of variables to a program, including full recourse, non-recourse, notification and non-notification.

Spot Factoring: Here, a business can sell just one of its invoices to a factoring company without any commitment to minimum volumes or terms. It sounds like a good solution but it should be used sparingly. Spot factoring is typically more expensive than full-service factoring (in the 5-8 percent discount range) and usually requires extensive controls. In most cases, it does not solve the underlying lack of working capital issue.

Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing: A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have good financial statements and need more money than a traditional lender will provide. The business must submit all of its invoices through to the A/R finance company and pay a collateral management fee of about 1-2 percent to have them professionally managed. A borrowing base is calculated daily and when funds are requested an interest rate of Prime plus 1 to 5 points is applied. If and when the company becomes bankable, it is a fairly easytransition to a traditional bank line of credit.

Asset-Based Lending (ABL): This is a facility secured by all the assets of a company, including A/R, equipment, real estate and inventory. It’s a good alternative for companies with the right mix of assets and a need for at least $1 million. The business continues to manage and collect its own receivables but submits an aging report each month to the ABL company, which will review and periodically audit the reports. Fees and interest make this product more expensive than traditional bank financing, but in many cases it provides access to more capital. In the right situation, this can be a very fair trade-off.

Purchase Order (PO) Financing: Ideal for a business that has a purchase order(s) but lacks the supplier credit needed to fill it. The business must be able to demonstrate a history of completing orders, and the account debtor placing the order must be financially strong. In most cases, a PO finance company requires the involvement of a factor or asset-based lender in the transaction. PO financing is a high-risk kind of financing, so the costs are usually very high and the due diligence required is quite intense.

The message I am trying to convey is simply that financially challenged business owners should not be afraid to consider alternative or non-bank financing options. It’s a fairly simple matter to learn what they are, how much they cost and how they work. Alternative financing is a much better option than facing the challenges of growth or turnaround alone. It is a known fact that the vast majority of business failures are due to a lack of working capital-but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With a better understanding of these different types of non-bank financing, you’ll be in a better position to decide if they might be the answer to your financing challenges.

 

Understanding Car Financing

When you want to purchase a car, one of the main considerations is financing. This is because many people do not have the initial high amounts of money, which are required to meet the cost of the car. One thing you should note about Car financing is that it is very hard to quantify, it is determined by many other factors such as the type of car that you want to purchase, the price tag and the possibility of a trade-in. All these mean that you will be offered different finance packages by different organizations, and it is your duty to choose the most appropriate one.

The best way to approach car financing

With all the factors involved, Car financing becomes a very complicated issue, which needs proper understanding of the financial world. Since most of us do not posses such skills or information, the best approach would be to involve the services of a car finance broker. The broker will assist you in all the areas associated with car financing. Remember car financing, just as any other form of financing will require various paperwork. In most cases, people are already overwhelmed by their daily lives, it is therefore better to leave the broker to fulfill the formalities helping you secure the loan.

Some people obviously benefit more than others do from this arrangement. One of the groups that will benefit mostly from the services of a car-financing broker is those who are self-employed. This is because most of them cannot produce satisfactory historical profit figures to satisfy the financial provider. The duty of the broker is therefore to find institutions, which are more likely to offer better terms. The broker is also going to help you negotiate for better terms just like those offered to people who provide sufficient history of profitable trading.

Since car financing brokers deal in only one type of financial product, they have a clear understanding regarding the product. They also use specialized tools such as car loan calculators, which will help you, understand the long-term effects of the loan that you take. Remember a loan might seem cheap now but present adverse effects later on. You will therefore enjoy more piece of mind depending on the advice provided by such specialists.

Apart from using the services of a broker, you can also source your car financing online. This method presents you with various banking institutions to source your financing from. In order to exploit this dimension fully, you need to have a clear understanding of what sort of deal you are getting into. Luckily, there are certain tools, which you can utilize to help you gain a deeper understanding of the loan you are acquiring. They include:

• Car finance calculator- this will help you get a clear picture of what you will be paying every month. It will also help you understand how long it will take before you can repay the loan.

• Chattel mortgage calculator- you can also utilize this calculator, which acts the same as the car finance calculator but on terms, attached to chattel mortgages rather than general loans.

 

Commercial Financing – The Benefits of Off-Balance-Sheet Financing

There are two different categories of commercial financing from an accounting perspective: on-balance-sheet financing and off-balance-sheet financing. Understanding the difference can be critical to obtaining the right type of commercial financing for your company.

Put simply, on-balance-sheet financing is commercial financing in which capital expenditures appear as a liability on a company’s balance sheet. Commercial loans are the most common example: Typically, a company will leverage an asset (such as accounts receivable) in order to borrow money from a bank, thus creating a liability (i.e., the outstanding loan) that must be reported as such on the balance sheet.

With off-balance-sheet financing, however, liabilities do not have to be reported because no debt or equity is created. The most common form of off-balance-sheet financing is an operating lease, in which the company makes a small down payment upfront and then monthly lease payments. When the lease term is up, the company can usually buy the asset for a minimal amount (often just one dollar).

The key difference is that with an operating lease, the asset stays on the lessor’s balance sheet. The lessee only reports the expense associated with the use of the asset (i.e., the rental payments), not the cost of the asset itself.

Why Does It Matter?

This might sound like technical accounting-speak that only a CPA could appreciate. In the continuing tight credit environment, however, off-balance-sheet financing can offer significant benefits to any size company, from large multi-nationals to mom-and-pops.

These benefits arise from the fact that off-balance-sheet financing creates liquidity for a business while avoiding leverage, thus improving the overall financial picture of the company. This can help companies keep their debt-to-equity ratio low: If a company is already leveraged, additional debt might trip a covenant to an existing loan.

The trade-off is that off-balance-sheet financing is usually more expensive than traditional on-balance-sheet loans. Business owners should work closely with their CPAs to determine whether the benefits of off-balance-sheet financing outweigh the costs in their specific situation.

Other Types of Off-Balance-Sheet Financing

An increasingly popular type of off-balance-sheet financing today is what’s known as a sale/leaseback. Here, a business sells property it owns and then immediately leases it back from the new owner. It can be used with virtually any type of fixed asset, including commercial real estate, equipment and commercial vehicles and aircraft, to name a few.

A sale/leaseback can increase a company’s financial flexibility and may provide a large lump sum of cash by freeing up the equity in the asset. This cash can then be poured back into the business to support growth, pay down debt, acquire another business, or meet working capital needs.

Factoring is another type of off-balance-sheet financing. Here, a business sells its outstanding accounts receivable to a commercial finance company, or “factor.” Typically, the factor will advance the business between 70 and 90 percent of the value of the receivable at the time of purchase; the balance, less the factoring fee, is released when the invoice is collected.

Like with an operating lease, no debt is created with factoring, thus enabling companies to create liquidity while avoiding additional leverage. The same kinds of off-balance-sheet benefits occur in both factoring arrangements and operating leases.

Keep in mind that strict accounting rules must be followed when it comes to properly distinguishing between on-balance-sheet and off-balance-sheet financing, so you should work closely with your CPA in this regard. But with the continued uncertainty surrounding the economy and credit markets, it’s worth looking into the potential benefits of off-balance-sheet financing for your company.