Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Let's See the Numbers!

Companies that sell their invoices on The Receivables Exchange are required to provide two years of financial statements as a part of the Seller qualification process. Once approved as Sellers they are also supposed to provide quarterly updates to their financials.

Those updated financials are supposed to be posted to the Seller Profile pages, allowing Buyers to update their due diligence analysis.

As we approach the anniversary of the first TRE transaction I think it is appropriate to point out that the Exchange does not appear to be enforcing the requirement to update financial statements.

If it IS enforcing the requirement, it is NOT posting the updates to the Seller Profile pages.

The most recent financial information available, in many cases, is still as of year-end 2008. In nearly every case, the statements provided at the time a Seller posted its first auction are still the only ones available.

Given that the great majority of Sellers provide only internally-generated statements, it can hardly be argued that there hasn’t been time to update statements through at least the second calendar quarter.

As important as I think it is to Buyers to be able to make decisions on the basis of appropriately current information, the Exchange itself should also be looking closely at the changes in Sellers’ financials.

TRE has a significant stake in the impact of Seller use of the Exchange on Seller financial health.

I would hope, in fact, that the management of the Exchange has already made an arrangement with a credible third-party; perhaps a well-known business school, for instance; to study the impact of TRE’s unique platform on the subsequent financial health of its Sellers.

The job of attracting good-quality Sellers has been difficult. TRE does a good job of quantifying the theoretical value of accelerating cash receipts in its marketing efforts. If the theory is borne out we should be approaching the time when some ACTUAL value-added can be empirically demonstrated.

It would be a shame if the experience of the first TRE Sellers was not used to make the job of attracting subsequent Sellers easier.

Ultimately, proof of the value of TRE to its Sellers should be apparent in the analysis of subsequent financial results. If subsequent statements are not obtained by TRE and made available for analysis, not only will TRE Buyers be inappropriately under-informed, but a key analytical and marketing tool will be lost to TRE management and marketers.

The transparency of the auction process should be matched by transparency in the information flow.

So, let's see the numbers!

No comments:

Post a Comment