Does Your Customer Data Support the Value of Your Receivables? | FundingGates blog
Trade Accounts Receivable (AR) represents the credit a company extends to its business partners. AR is essentially an approach to financing customers’ business operations, using the supplier company as the lender rather than a bank or other source. Particularly when markets are slow-moving and cash availability is low, trade credit tends to be what keeps businesses in business. AR is a business asset (which explains why it shows up on the balance sheet), because it is something the business has that is of value. When the business needs to get a little of its own financing, should an approach using AR as the basis be a consideration? Is it even possible?
AR “financing” means that the business trade accounts receivable are the main consideration of the lender in providing financing, where the AR is either collateral for the loan or is a factor making the business eligible for the loan. There are many types of AR-based financing, and there are still more issues to think about before trying to use AR as a financing tool.
When it comes to other assets in the business, the information about them is probably pretty well-known. Physical assets in particular don’t leave a lot of question as to their value – at least in terms of what was paid for them and then depreciated over time. Other assets, like Accounts Receivable, are a bit more difficult to value. Realistically, the value of the AR may not actually BE the book value of the AR, because not all of that money may be able to be collected. Considering that companies fail or go bankrupt or experience other events which cause them to default on obligations, there is risk connected to the AR and, subsequently, a question of whether or not it makes sense to “leverage” that AR for immediate cash.
There is research out of the Columbia School of Business (among other sources) which discusses a condition called “information asymmetry”and how it may impact the business decision to use AR financing.