6 things school owners must know before taking a School loan

Lack of adequate finance should not be a constraint when it concerns improving or a running education institution. There are several options in the financial market for school loans that can be procured to upgrade campus infrastructure, buy new equipment for your labs/classrooms, add new facilities for students and staff or any other productive purpose.

How to get loan for school” is no more a concern for prospective borrowers. The availability of multiple alternatives, however, makes it necessary for the borrowers to be aware of certain factors before they settle upon a particular source of funds. Let us look into six of these.

1. Does the loan require collateral?

Loans for private schools may be secured or unsecured. Many banks still ask borrowers for collateral to be pledged as security. While the low interest rate of such school loans may be alluring, the idea of hypothecating a valuable asset to the lender feels distressing. Fortunately, schools that cannot afford secured loans can get collateral-free finance from digitally enabled NBFCs, also known as FinTech companies. A FinTech lender usually does not require collateral, and issues loans based on the borrowers’ creditworthiness.

2. Is there a limit on the minimum loan amount to be taken?

Inflation rates warrant that nothing worth investing is cheap. However, why take a big loan that will entail much interest? FinTech companies keep an adequate range on the issuable loan amount to accommodate the needs of all institutions that want to apply for school loans. There are no rules requiring schools to apply for a large ‘minimum’ amount if they need merely 5-10 lakhs for the planned purpose.

3. What will be the tenure of the loan?

No institution would like to be debt-ridden for long. Payment of total interest is also high on long-term school loans. This is why it is advisable to check the tenure before accepting the funding from any lender. A FinTech company can be very accommodating and can provide a loan that can be paid back in only one year. A loan for educational institutions may also be stretched to three years.

4. What is the interest rate, processing fee and other charges on the loan?

While taking loans for private schools in India, check the interest rate and additional charges upfront. Banks and traditional NBFCs often have low interest, but their processing fee, documentation charges, legal fee, commission and a bunch of other charges may add up to a significant amount. At times, this is also necessary to cover their paper-centric loan approval process. Conversely, FinTechs that have a succinct digital application process charge a processing fee of up to 2.5%.

5. Are there any pre-closure charges?

Whether you are applying for a loan for construction of school building or to buy new equipment for teaching, your earnings may make it possible to pay off the outstanding balance earlier than its tenure. Such an eventuality is usually met with pre-closure penalties. It is advisable to check the rate of this fee before paying off a lump sum. As compared to banks, most FinTech companies have no or low prepayment charges on their loans.

6. How will the loan be repaid?

Along with the repayment charge, it is also good to check the repayment options for school loans. EMIs are the only way to pay off the debts availed from a majority of the traditional lenders. In comparison, FinTechs have flexible repayment options that can be adjusted as per the borrower’s preferences.

Capital Float is a leading FinTech lender for educational institutions in India. Visit https://www.capitalfloat.com/school-finance to know more about our school loans.

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Convenient Supply Chain Financing Creates Resiliency In The System

Supply chain finance is an important but often underrated aspect of supply chain management. At its core, supply chain management is the management of the flow of material / services, data and money through a network of assets from the point of origin to the point of final consumption (and back). Natural disasters, geo-political crisis and financial crisis faced by the world over the past decade have forced companies to move away from only optimizing their supply chains to making them more resilient. For a supply chain to be truly resilient, all risks associated with the asset base managing the flow (i.e. the material & services, data and money) must be negotiated intelligently, keeping in mind that each one represents a point of failure or a point of opportunity.

Industries are habituated to ignore the significance of supply chain financing. While there has been a lot of collaboration between different constituents of supply chains, they usually center on inventory. However inventory and finance are intrinsically linked; increased players in the supply chain machinery is directly proportionate to the increased complexity in the financing of the process. This is especially true in a country like India, where the number of intermediaries, in many cases outnumbering the actual value addition points, poses a complex problem from the paradigm of supply chain finance and more importantly supply chain resiliency.

As with anything in a complex supply chain, the bulk of the power resides in a few constituents (maybe the retailer or the manufacturer depending upon the specifics of the value chain). These companies understandably look out for their own interests especially when it comes to supply chain finance. Though concepts like JIT (just in time) inventory and quick turnaround times from order-to-delivery have reduced inventory levels held drastically, most companies still hold onto the traditional 30-45-60 day of credit terms with their suppliers. This puts incredible financial stress on the supplier which in the worst case manifests in poor quality of supply. In the long run, this increases the total cost of ownership for the company, i.e. investment in more stringent QC processes, returns, disruption to the manufacturing process, supplier switching costs etc. Applying the same principles of collaborative thinking to supply chain finance will not only make the overall chain more resilient but also optimize the flows and pass on efficiencies in the long run to the end consumer.

In today’s business environment where “share holder value” is no longer a buzz word but the focus of every corporate board of directors, it might be wishful thinking to expect companies to share their margins or reduce days of credit to suppliers in the interest of collaboration. This is where a third party financial institution plays an important role. By providing liquidity to the supplier on the basis of the credit umbrella provided by the bigger company, the addition of the third party financial institution creates a win-win across all stakeholders involved. This is even more critical in the case of small and medium sized enterprises, which at this point are forced to spend only a fraction of their efforts on innovation and growth.

While some large corporates do have some form of supplier financing initiatives through tie ups with Banks and NBFCs, in most cases the coverage of the initiatives are limited (to some marquee suppliers) and in a larger amount of cases are a generic form of receivable financing based on existing credit policies of the financial institutions, which are out of sync with business realities. It is imperative for large corporates to have a supplier financing initiative for all their suppliers, especially the SMEs to manage their financial risks. In turn it is imperative for the financial institution to have a tailored product which reflects the operating realities of the industry and also the specificity of the supply chain. Collaboration of all three stakeholders, i.e. the large corporate, SME supplier and financial institution will be critical to ensuring a sustainable supply chain finance program.

We live in an interconnected world; therefore large corporates have the responsibility to ensure that their SME suppliers have access to finance, if they truly want to make their supply chains resilient.

Prashant Adhurty

Prashant has 11 years of experience in business strategy and operations, with specific expertise in the areas of project management, supply chain management and business process formulation , across the retail sector, United Nations system & international organizations, telecommunications & high technology, oil & gas and 3rd party logistics. He has successfully managed and delivered projects for clients based out of Europe, the USA, Africa and India.
At Capital Float, Prashant heads Business Development for Supply Chain Financing.

Oct 24, 2018

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5 Practices Business Owners Can Adopt at the Beginning of a Financial Year

The start of a brand new financial year is filled with several emotions for SME owners, ranging from relief after the intense pressure of March, anticipations and excitement for the year ahead. Amidst these, business owners often don’t find the opportunity to celebrate the year that has gone by and the new financial year up ahead.

The new financial year is the only occasion that is of sole significance to an SME, whereas every other event, festival or celebration involves friends and family. It is that time when the SME can celebrate with their team the previous fiscal year that was full of learnings, experiences, peaks and troughs. The beginning of a financial year also presents a unique prospect to start over; SMEs can renew their enthusiasm and vigor as they make new business decisions.

Indeed, celebrating the new financial year can become an ongoing ritual for SMEs as it also helps establish a stronger workforce with a refined drive towards the company’s vision. To gain an advantageous start, here are some practices to ease you into the new fiscal year, so that you can look forward to bigger success celebrations at the end of it.

1. Set financial goals
Whether your financial goals are numerical or tangible, they should be defined in a manner that lets you evaluate if they can be achieved or not. These can be long-term, such as profitability, margins, sustained cash flows, etc. that may not be accomplished over the span of the financial year ahead or specific goals that are short-term.

For example, a retail store that has rented a space might learn that the building owner plans to sell the building eventually, and intends to acquire the space for further expansion. For a smooth sale without depleting the working capital, the retailer should have a clear sense of the cost of down payment, mortgage and additional costs. Based on this, they can create a strict budget for the year and stick to it. Another option is to avail collateral-free finance options such as Term Finance or Merchant Cash Advance that offers flexible modes for repayment.

2. Evaluate the scope of debts
The beginning of the year is the best time to assess the debts that you might have accumulated over the past years. Start by weighing each of your existing loans based on its cost, interest rate and other subsidiary factors such as prepayment penalty. Always ensure that the loan with the highest ticket size is repaid first.

Business finance is not often a liability-encountering measure, but also an instrument for growth, expansion and diversification of your business. If you have a promising business opportunity at hand and are reluctant to accept it due to a shortage of funds, this is when you should consider availing business finance. To determine the customized credit solution that best suits your business, check out Our Products.

3. Improve book-keeping
Unorganized compilation of financial records is the most recurrent theme for SMEs who let go of trickling financial losses, only to discover a gaping hole in its wake. Unexpected, unrecorded cash expenses often eat their way into the profitability of a business, resulting in a long-lasting impact that might take several years to recover from.

It is integral to maintain records of operational and financial performance, and the method you adopt to maintain these play a major role in determining the accuracy of the data. If you have been managing business accounts on your own, it is advised that you hire an experienced tax accountant or opt for an enhanced accounting software this fiscal year. This will keep you free to focus on other tasks, with the assurance that you one step closer to higher profits.

4. Plan for new partnerships
Large corporations can perform the role of different stakeholders to an SME; they can assume roles as business partners, product distributors or customers. Contrary to conventional belief, small businesses have much to gain by associating with bigger businesses that operate differently from the way the SMEs function. This ensures that the partnership remains fruitful for both the entities involved, and avoids situations where they find themselves competing with each other If you feel that your enterprise will benefit from such a collaboration to supplement time, logistical organization and resources, this new financial year is when you can make that move.

5. Identify a new customer base
For any SME, extending the outreach of your brand to a wide demography of consumers is instrumental to evolve into a larger organisation. If you envision a steady rate of growth, what best time to target a brand new audience than the start of the financial year? You can also think of ways to improvise your product or service for a high-potential customer segment that is less exposed to competition. At the end of the day, this is an exercise that promotes out-of-the-box thinking.

A sound financial budget prepared with the above points in mind ensures that you are better prepared to face the new fiscal year. Also, it gives you an edge over your competitors on several fronts, and getting a business finance partner for your needs becomes much simpler when you are armed with a well-calculated plan.

Capital Float exists to serve the unique business aspirations of ambitious SMEs like you. With a growing base of 80,000 customers in over 300 cities across India, we provide customized credit solutions for the diverse needs that you might have. Paperless loan application, minimal documentation requirement and quick processing ensure that you receive funds when you need it. Choose from our new, innovative financial solutions for FY 18-19 and get ready to #BreakLimits!

Oct 24, 2018

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Implications of GST on Manufacturing

GST — the unified tax system that is set to revolutionize indirect taxation in India— is finally here. Some of its key proposed advantages are streamlining of tax payments, reduction in tax frauds, and ease of doing business. Here is a look at how these will play out in the manufacturing domain.

Make In India & Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector in India contributes a mere 16% to the overall GDP. However, the potential to make this a high-growth and high-GDP sector is huge. The “Make in India” campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes this possibility real, by giving impetus to the sector. Furthermore, PwC estimates that India will become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of 2020. It would be interesting to know how the Goods and Services Tax or GST impacts this roadmap.

Impact of GST on Manufacturing

GST is one of the key policy changes that will have a direct impact on manufacturing establishments. So far, the existing complex tax structure has been a dampener, resulting in the slow growth of the sector. GST is expected to liberate the sector by unifying tax regimes across states.

Overall, GST is expected to have a positive impact and boost manufacturing.  Here is why:

  • Removal of multiple valuations will create simplification: The old tax regime subjects manufactured goods to excise duty, which is calculated differently in different states. While some states calculate excise duty based on transaction value, others calculate it based on quantity. Most manufactured goods’ excise duty is currently considered on MRP valuation. This creates great confusion in valuation methods. GST will usher in an era of transaction-based valuation, making calculation of tax much simpler for the manufacturer.
  • Entry tax subsummation will reduce cost of production: The subsuming of the entry tax for inter-state transfers is a key reason for reducing cost of goods and services. For example, a supplier of cement from Maharashtra to Karnataka was earlier required to pay entry tax when the supply crossed the interstate border. For Karnataka, the entry tax rate was 5% of the value of the goods. The supplier would pass on this additional cost to the customer, resulting in increase in selling price. With entry tax being subsumed, the supplier need not pay the entry tax rate amount and consequently, not charge the customer this amount either.
  • Improved cash flows: Under the new tax laws, manufacturers can claim input tax credit on input goods, which seems to be a positive sign for cash flow. SMEs are keenly observing the time difference between input tax credit and the credit being available.
  • Single registration process will provide ease of registration: The old regime required manufacturers to register each manufacturing facility separately, even those in the same state. GST will simplify the plant registration process by allowing single registration for all manufacturing entities within the same state. Previously, if a brick manufacturer had factories in Bangalore, Hubli and Dharwad, each unit had to be registered separately. Under GST, all of these factories would be jointly registered under the state of Karnataka. Of course, different state-entities will require separate registrations under GST too.
  • Removal of cascading will lead to lower cost-to-consumer: The old tax regime does not allow manufacturers to claim tax credit on inter-state transaction taxes such as octroi, central sales tax, entry tax etc. This results in cascading of taxes—an extra cost to the manufacturing company. Manufacturers end up passing on these extra costs to the consumer. The unified GST regime will eliminate multiple taxes and thus lower cost of production; this, in turn, will mean lower pricing for the consumer. For example, prior to 1 July 2017, SMEs in manufacturing used to pay Excise Duty, Central State Tax and sometimes VAT too at 12.5%, 2% and 5.5% respectively. With GST in effect, they are required to pay 18% in taxes.
  • Restructuring of supply chain: To align with the GST law, businesses will be required to realign their supply chains. However, this is a blessing in disguise. Till date, most supply chain structuring has been designed around how to manage tax regimes. With a single tax regime, this will change, and supply chain structures will focus on driving business efficiencies. An example is that of warehousing. The old regime demands that warehouse management be based on arbitrage between varying VAT rates across states. This is expected to change to bring in economic efficiencies and more customer-centricity going ahead.

Manufacturers, however, are concerned about the following aspects:

  • Increase in immediate working capital requirements: Branch transfers and depo transfers will be treated as taxable under GST; IGST will be applicable on these transfers. This increases the requirement for immediate working capital. Another reason for increased working capital requirements is that the receipt of advance is taxable as per GST rules. Also, stock transfers are treated as “supply” and hence are taxable under the GST regime.
  • More stringent and elaborate transaction management: GST aims to achieve better tax compliance. To make this possible, manufacturers must work towards streamlining existing transactions; this means additional resources and costs. For example, under GST, credit in respect to an invoice can be taken only up to one year of the invoice date. Also, the provision of reverse charge means that the liability to pay tax falls on the recipient of goods/services instead of the supplier. The payment of reverse charge is dependent on the time of supply (30 days from the date of issue of invoice by the supplier in case of goods and 60 days for services).These changes will require manufacturers to carefully assess and track their supply processes, especially the timelines. This may mean hiring a better skilled compliance workforce, and better systems and software. More legal considerations will also mean more costs.
  • Lack of clarity on local exemptions: Despite GST being proposed as a unifying platform for indirect tax, all the components for manufacturing are not yet clear. One such area is localized area-based exemptions. The old structure provides certain exemptions for certain goods in specific states (for example the North East or hilly states). Under GST, most of these exemptions are likely to be removed, resulting in a negative cost-impact on these manufacturers. Such companies must reassess their financial position in view of such likely changes.

Overall, one can say that the impact of GST on the manufacturing sector is positive. It provides a unique opportunity to streamline business operations to become more compliance and profitability-oriented, rather than tax-oriented. It puts power in the hands of business leaders to bring about positive change and steer their enterprises on a growth path, powered by GST-compliance.

Read more of our content on GST by clicking here.

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Oct 24, 2018