Recognizing Potential Transaction Red Flags in Factoring
The key to being a successful factoring broker is to identify and develop leads that have a high likelihood of being approved by the factor company you work with. The flip-side of this is that successful factoring brokers avoid leads that are marginal and have potential issues which may result in their application being denied.
Questionable leads can be a huge time suck that diverts your time and effort from identifying and developing leads to increase your business volume.
Identifying problematic leads can be difficult however experience will help you recognize the signs that point to potential problems. These signs are red flags that the lead you are trying to develop may not result in an approved client. Avoid problematic leads by recognizing these 10 transaction red flags.
The prospective client refuses to provide information or documentation and is suspicious. Documentation contains many errors, misspellings, and inconsistencies with company names. The prospective client is unable to send all their documentation and/ or due diligence in one or two email submissions. Legitimate clients are cooperative and provide complete as well as error-free information and documentation on a timely basis.
Account debtors with bad credit
Client customer (“account debtors”) with weak and unfavorable trade references, poor payment history, new banking relationships, and absence of credit facilities are red flags for potential problems.
Evidence of collusion between the prospective client and its customers
A sudden large increase in credit terms followed by the customer’s insolvency, or a surge in volume with a new customer that has limited trade and bank references and is unable to pay, are examples of possible collusion.
Transaction has been shopped around to different funding sources or promoted by other brokers Transactions that have been shopped around are a good indicator that there are potential problems. Factor companies most likely will not decline business opportunities unless there are red flags.
Prospective client is a start-up or has very limited operating history
Companies that are start-ups or have limited operating history have a much higher risk of operating and financial problems. There is always the chance that the business may be a front for financial fraud or to pass on risk.
Web and social media presence
Most companies need web and social media presence to be successful. Little or no internet infrastructure is a red flag for potential financial fraud or an indication that the prospective client does not have sufficient business experience.
Spotty client background
Excessive litigation, unfavorable media coverage, and a poor reputation in its industry. Prospective clients that are contentious and difficult to deal with are a higher risk for operating and financial difficulties, and they may simply not be worth the hassle of doing business with.
Body language of the client
A prospective client’s body language can say a lot. Being overly aggressive or even desperate, nervousness, evasiveness, inability to hold eye contact, confusing and contradictory statements, and unexplained urgency or requests for short cuts with changes to the transaction at the last minute are all red flags.
Transaction has unusual features or trends – size, nature or frequency of transaction
Unusually large transactions, a few large single-invoice sales, increasing volume in a declining economy, a significant increase in sales to a new customer, and significantly more generous credit terms may be indications of potential problems. Transactions that are unusual for prospective client’s profile or significantly different than past history and industry norms are all red flags.
If the transaction seems too good to be true, it probably is. Unrealistic assumptions and projections not supported by past history or expected trends in the industry and economy, and documentation that shows no past due accounts, DSO equal to credit terms, or other unlikely KPI results are warning signs. A sharp increase in sales volume that is not consistent with past history, sales and marketing programs, and industry and economic outlook may indicate falsified sales.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales or other sales issues
Sales must be business-to-business (B2B) for the accounts receivable to be eligible for factoring. Many businesses today are trying to sell their products DTC, and some businesses may have both DTC and B2B sales so be on the lookout for any prospective client’s sales that may be to consumers.
Consignment and guaranteed sales which are sales that are subject to any contingency other than normal returns in the course of business for quality or delivery issues are also red flags. Prospective clients with retail customers experiencing high levels of returns, chargebacks, sales allowances or large sales deductions may result in customer (account debtor) payments not satisfying the amount advanced to the client. This may necessitate a reduction in the advance rate, or jeopardize the viability of the factoring program.
Learning to recognize potential transaction red flags will save time for you and the factor you work with. Time that you can use to successfully identify and develop viable client leads to build your business volume.
Capstone has the experience and resources to help you build your business volume. For more information on Capstone’s broker resources, please read: Broker Resources – Capstone Capital Group (capstonetrade.com).