Information for the city of Birmingham
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city's population was 212,237 according to the 2010 United States Census. The Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047 according to the 2010 Census, which is approximately one quarter of Alabama's population.Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading.
Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, United Kingdom; one of the UK's major industrial cities. Many, if not most, of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. In one writer's view, the city was planned as a place where cheap, non unionized, and African American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining.
Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies.In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. Since that time it has also obtained a campus of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is also home of the private Birmingham Southern College. Between these two universities and Sam University, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferencesFrom Birmingham's early days onward, the steel industry has always played a crucial role in the local economy.
Though the steel industry no longer has the same prominence it once held in Birmingham, steel production and processing continue to play a key role in the economy. Steel products manufacturers . In recent years, local steel companies have announced about $100 million worth of investment in expansions and new plants in and around the city. Vulcan Company, a major provider of crushed stone, sand, and gravel used in construction, is also based in Birmingham.In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by investments in bio technology and medical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and its adjacent hospital. The UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center providing health care and breakthrough medical research. UAB is now the area's largest employer and the second largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 18,750 as of 2011.
As of 2009, the finance & banking sector in Birmingham employed 1,870 financial managers, 1,530 loan officers, 680 securities commodities and financial services sales agents, 380 financial analysts, 310 financial examiners, 220 credit analysts, and 130 loan counselors. City Center in downtownThe telephone company that is now owned by ., which was formerly and before that , which had its headquarters in Birmingham, has a major nexus in Birmingham, supported by a skyscraper downtown as well as several large operational center buildings and a data center.The insurance companieshave their headquarters in Birmingham, and these employ a large number of people in Greater Birmingham.Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies,each with more than $500 million in sales per year, are located in Birmingham. The Birmingham metropolitan area has consistently been rated as one of America's best places to work and earn a living based on the area's competitive salary rates and relatively low living expenses. One study published in 2006 by Salary.com determined that Birmingham was second in the nation for building personal net worth, based on local salary rates, living expenses, and unemployment rates.A 2006 study by web site bizjournals.com calculated Birmingham's ""combined personal income"" (the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a year) at $48.1 billion.Birmingham's sales tax, which also applies fully to groceries, stands at 10 percent and is the highest tax rate of the nation's 100 largest cities.Although Jefferson County's bankruptcy filing was the largest government bankruptcy in United States history, Birmingham remains solvent
Information for the state of Alabama
The state has invested in aerospace, education, health care, banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the state's gross domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming conglomerates.
Occupations outside of agriculture were widespread by 2008. Employment in that year was 121,800 in management occupations; 71,750 in business and financial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences; 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in fire fighting, law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in office and administration support; 20,510 in farming, fishing, and forestry; 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair; 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and material moving.
You are about to be relieved of the stress and time consuming process of collecting on your accounts receivable.
Alabama Factoring Company
Factoring is when a commercial finance company, also known as a factor or factoring company, purchases a business's outstanding accounts receivable. -Alabama Factoring Company
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Alabama Factoring Company Articles
Factoring at businessfactoring.org
Important Points to Remember When Choosing Your Factoring Company
Now that you’ve decided that factoring would be a solid business decision for your company, the next step is to find the perfect factoring company for you. Once you start looking you’ll discover that there are many factoring companies (or ‘factors’) in the marketplace, and this is the perfect situation for you as a potential factoring client.
But it can also be confusing, because now you have to find the right factoring company to suit your business’s needs. To assist you in making the right decision we’ve listed below the main issues that should be considered when choosing a factoring company.
Factoring Fees and Terms
Before making your final decision and entering into a factoring agreement, check out the fees applicable and the terms of the contract. Both of these can vary a lot, depending on the factoring company and the industry it's serving. When you start your research you’ll discover that some factoring companies charge a flat fee: this fee is, in effect, a certain percentage of the total value of the customer invoices you sell to them; whilst others have additional charges to cover the general costs of doing business – such as, money transfers, shipping, collateral, and so on.
Ensure that the factoring company you’re considering working with is transparent and upfront with you about its fee structure. In addition, you may want to consider a long term contract with your factoring company if it includes flexible rates or a price break. If you’re receiving competitive offers from other factoring companies or you have increased factoring volume, you’ll discover that many factoring companies will be prepared to adjust their rates. A one year contract is the industry standard for most factoring agreements. Generally, unless you give your factor a 60 or 90 day notice, your factoring contract will automatically renew.
What’s the Difference between Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring?
It’s important that you understand the difference between recourse and non recourse factoring prior to choosing your factoring company, because you need to know what the best fit would be for your company and your customers. So, with non recourse factoring, all of the credit risks for the collection of the invoice belong to the factoring company; while recourse factoring means that, with you being the client, you’ll ultimately be responsible if the factoring company is unable to collect payment on your customers’ invoices.
There are benefits to recourse factoring, and perhaps the main benefit is that it’s less expensive than non recourse factoring. If you have a recourse agreement and the customer defaults on payment, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be asked to settle the debt out of pocket. Generally, what happens is that the factor will hold back a portion of either future cash advances or payments being held in reserve, with the money being placed in an escrow account awaiting settlement of the debt.
Our suggestion is that you find a factoring company that offers both recourse and non recourse factoring, because not all of your customers will be good candidates for recourse factoring. An experienced factoring company working with a strong credit team can also behelpful in ensuring you’re working with good customers: this will relieve some of the pressure of being stuck with bad debt.
Experience and Capital: The Two PreRequisites
Your company should be looking for a factoring company with experience in your industry, including the capital structure to fund your business as it continues to grow. Once you start researching factoring companies you’ll discover that there are a lot to choose from; however, many of these are recent start ups with limited experience. Prior to signing any factoring agreement, do your research and look into the history and background of the factoring company concerned, especially its ability to provide financial services in your area of expertise.
The idea with factoring is that, as your company grows, the funding of your customer invoices will grow with you.Research the factoring company’s client base and their capital structure. What’s a typical account size? What’s the factoring volume of their largest client? Is the factoring company limited to how many debtors it can handle? In general, factoring companies that have been serving your industry for many years will usually be able to offer your business the best deal.
Additional Factoring Services
There are many more benefits to factoring than simply increasing your company’s cash flow. Because the factoring company will be handling the collection of your customer’s invoices, your company will be saving time and resources. A good factoring company will also be able to evaluate companies in your industry and provide credit information. In short, your factor will ensure that you experience excellent customer service. You’ll be matched with your own representative who’ll be able to address any questions or concerns you may have about your factoring account.
So, when researching factoring companies, look for a factor who not only offers additional products but provides a high level of customer service that will help your business grow by assisting you in making smart business decisions.
You are about to be relieved of the stress and time consuming process of collecting on your accounts receivable.
Alabama Factoring Company Articles
Bookkeeping Mistakes Commonly Made by Freight Brokers
It’s true that freight brokers shoulder a lot of responsibility; from matching shippers and carriers, to ensuring that each and every piece of cargo arrives at its proper destination. Freight brokers also have the added responsibility of accurate bookkeeping, because failure to prioritize bookkeeping can result in the loss of money.
Below we’ve listed some common bookkeeping mistakes made by freight brokers, and how to avoid them–
Handling the Accounting In-House
Many business owners try to save money by handling the books themselves, or perhaps delegating this very important task to a family member or an inexperienced employee. Sure, you may save time and money initially, but errors can be costly: when you attempt DIY accounting you could well end up with more expensive financing terms, higher bond premiums, or a number of other unforeseen expenses. It’s very important that you hire a competent bookkeeper because, not only will you save money, but you’ll know that the job will be done accurately, quicker, and more efficiently.
We understand only too well that running any business is time-consuming and hard work, and many freight brokers are simply too busy doing their day-to-day tasks to focus on bookkeeping tasks, such as the monthly reconciliation of credit card accounts and bank accounts. It’s through reconciling statements that you get a clear idea of how much credit or cash you actually have, and you can also pick up on any errors that may have occurred.
It can be so tempting to postpone this rather tedious task, but the truth is that your credit card statements and bank statements must be reconciled every month, preferably the moment each statement becomes available. In this way you’ll be able to identify any potential problems in a timely manner; problems such as lost checks, missing deposits, fraudulent charges, and so on.
Failing to Track Invoices and Receivables
You’re not going to get paid if you’re using poor accounting practices with your accounts receivable. Let’s face it, getting paid equals cash, and cash is the lifeblood of every business. An experienced freight broker understands that your cash flow can be strained by the delay between when you pay your carriers and when you receive payment from your customers. If you’re finding that tracking and collecting invoices is taking too long, why not consider invoice factoring? An invoice factoring company will purchase your invoices for a small fee, with the bonus being that you get paid immediately, plus you’re spared the time and expense of having to deal with collections.
Don’t Forget Liabilities
One of the major considerations a surety has when looking at your business financials in order to underwrite a bond is whether you have sufficient assets to cover your liabilities. Many times we see an inexperienced bookkeeper recording a liability, but when the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it results in liabilities being overstated and net income being understated, which makes your business appear to be less financially secure than it really is. These serious errors can be avoided by employing the services of an experienced bookkeeper. We also recommend that you have another set of eyes (which may be an owner or a CPA) regularly review the balance sheet to check for unusual account balances
Too Many Expense Categories
Another common error we often see with inexperienced bookkeepers is creating too many expense categories, or miscategorizing expenses. Generally, most industries and businesses have a standard set of expense categories, and when a loan underwriter or surety sees too many categories, or the miscategorizing of expenses, it stands out like a big red flag. It tells them that your books are not well prepared. Use an accountant or experienced bookkeeper to correctly set up your accounting software right from the beginning, and don’t automatically add new expense categories unless careful consideration has been made. Remember to ask your accountant or CPA for advice, because they’ll be able to guide you on how to classify expenses.
Incomplete Information on Invoices
It’s very important that, when you invoice your customers, you provide sufficient detail on each line item. Do you invoice by weight, per piece, or per mile? Or is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges to invoice, such as reimbursements for fuel or fees, these should be listed as separate line items. In addition, these charges must be clearly and accurately detailed in order to avoid any confusion. When you send invoices to your customers that include clear and concise details, it prevents pushback from your clients. If there’s missing information on your invoices and your customers are confused by unrecognizable charges, it could well cause a delay in payment, which is the very last thing business owners need.
Not Understanding the Functionality of Accounting Software
Many freight brokers purchase an accounting software package because they’re anxious to get their business up and running, but they fail to learn how to use it correctly. This is probably not an issue if you’re already outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping tasks; but if you’re using this software in any way at all, perhaps to enter checks and run reports, it’s important that you spend some time learning how to use all the available functions. When used correctly, the right accounting software can save you a lot of time, in addition to providing real-time information on the state of your business. It’s this information that helps you make important business decisions!
Alabama Factoring Company Articles
A ‘Factor’ is a third party commercial financial company who purchases the Accounts Receivable from businesses: this transaction is known as ‘Factoring’. Factoring exists so that businesses can receive a quick injection of cash, as opposed to waiting the 60 or 90 days for customers to pay their invoices. Factoring is also known as Accounts Receivable Financing, and Invoice Factoring.
The majority of factoring companies purchase invoices and advance money to the business within 24 hours; however, the nature and terms of factoring can (and do) differ among financial service providers and industries. Depending on your customers’ credit histories, your industry, and other specific criteria, the advance rate on your invoices can range from 80% to as high as 95%. The factoring company not only collects on your invoices; it also offers back office support to your business.Once the factoring company has collected on your customer’s invoice,you’ll be paid the balance of the invoice – less the factor’s fee for assuming the risk. The primary benefit of factoring is that businesses no longer need to wait anywhere between one and three months for a customer to pay their accounts: they now have access to cash in hand so they can operate and grow their business.The Advantages of Factoring
There are a few reasons why factoring has become an invaluable financial tool for many businesses, including start ups. As mentioned above, the main benefit is that businesses can now receive a quick boost to their cash flow because factoring companies, in general, will provide cash on accounts receivable within 24 hours. This resolves the problems businesses experience with short term cash flow, and in many ways this injection of cash can help to grow a business. Besides handling your customer collections, factoring companies can also evaluate your customers’ payment and credit histories.Other benefits of factoring include:
• It can be customized to a business’s needs and managed to ensure that capital is available when it’s needed;
• It’s not based on your own business or credit history: it’s based on the quality of your customers’ credit;
• It’s not based on your company’s net worth: it provides a line of credit based on sales;
• There’s no limit to the amount of financing, unlike conventional bank loans;
• This financing will not show up as a debt on your balance sheet, because it’s not a loan.Who Uses Factoring?
Companies of all different sizes, including start ups, use factoring; and today factoring has become common business practice across many industries. Factoring is now widely used in the transportation industry, including manufacturing, textiles, trucking, oilfield services, wholesale and distribution, and staffing agencies. Interestingly, factoring receivables is practiced in many countries around the world and has a long history of success.
Can I Factor? My Company’s New, with No Financial History
Yes, you can! In fact, factoring has become an excellent tool for start up companies because no company credit history or balance sheet is required. It’s not really your company’s finances that the factoring company is concerned with; they’ll base their financing on your customers’ payment histories and credit scores.
What Percentage of My Invoices Should I Factor?
The answer to this question really depends on the unique needs of your business. Some companies only factor invoices for customers who typically take a long time to pay, while others factor all their invoices. The receivables that a company can factor range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars each and every month.
What’s the Difference between Factoring and a Bank Loan?
• The difference between factoring and a bank loan is that you’re not assuming any debt with factoring because it’s not a loan;
• With factoring, there’s no emphasis on your balance sheet – it’s all on your customer’s invoices;
• In addition, a bank loan is typically one lump sum, whereas factoring provides a steady flow of funds;
• Factoring companies can also help improve your company’s balance sheet by assisting with your credit and collection functions;
• A bank loan adds to your debt, whereas factoring converts receivables (an asset) into cash (another asset);
• And of course, bank loans can be very difficult to get because they’re limited by your balance sheet.How Do You Start the Factoring Process?
The factoring process can be very simple to set up. The customer will be asked to complete a short application form, and may be required to follow up with other reports and documents.
Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring: What’s the Difference?
• With Recourse factoring the client is ultimately responsibility for the payment of the invoice; whereas
• With Non Recourse factoring, the factoring company accepts responsibility for the risk of collecting the invoice.It’s important to note that some factoring companies over offer both types of factoring – recourse and non recourse.
What Are the Contract Terms and Fees Applicable with Factoring?
There are different fee structures with different factoring companies: some factors charge an overall factoring fee which is determined by the creditworthiness of your customers and the monthly volume of invoices; while others charge additional fees to cover shipping, money transfers, and other costs associated with doing business. Before signing with any factoring company make sure you understand the fees and terms applicable to your contract. Also note that most factoring contacts are renewed annually.
Do I Need Credit Insurance on Debtors?
Insurance is not typically required, but in specific circumstances it may be.
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