The Big Ask: Why Your Financials Are Critical When Applying for a Bank Loan
Are you prepared if and when the time comes?
If you’re in the construction business, you know that sometimes all that stands in the way of you and a big project is a little cash flow. Our construction clients often ask us if their companies are decent candidates for bank loans, especially if they’re looking to finish big projects and need cash.
“People often think the worst because they’ve been unprepared in the past, are out of money and don’t have their paperwork prepared to respond to bank requests in a timely manner,” says Partner and Construction Team Lead Ian Grimbleby.
Clients who are very organized and prepared are attractive candidates for bank loans, Ian cautions that timing is the bigger challenge — often, when you need a loan, it’s because you’re in a bind, and you might not have the proper information at hand.
At Grimbleby Coleman, we’ve helped many construction clients put their best foot forward before applying for a loan. Here are our top tips.
Get up to date. Be prepared — your bank may hit you with requests that require up-to-date information, and they will need it quickly. Make sure you have your most current financial statements before you head to the bank. Ian cautions, “Would you bid a job unprepared? Treat the bank like a new customer or job, because that is what you are to them and they are going to evaluate you.”
You should always have relevant financial information on hand, including information from the past 6-12 months. A tax return won’t be enough information for financing, even if you’re simply looking for cash to purchase equipment for an upcoming job.
Know what’s important. The bank will evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) such as working capital, interest coverage, profit margins and return on assets compared to the industry benchmarks. Of course, it is good, sound protocol to keep these financials current even if you aren’t looking for a loan. However, your bank definitely will want to see a list of assets that can serve as collateral. “If you have current assets (receivables and inventory) and equipment, but you’re just cash poor, you’re probably a good bank loan candidate,” Ian says. “If all your assets or equipment is financed and there is little equity in the business (for whatever reason such as losses or you pulled cash out), the conversation with the bank is going to be tough.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It takes discipline to maintain good quarterly financial statements. Make sure your company’s financial statements are intact each month, and take the time to analyze and reconcile your financials. Go the extra step to make sure more than just your cash, accounts payable and receivables are accurate. You will need to understand the health of the entire balance sheet including fixed assets, payroll liabilities and notes payable. If you or your bookkeeper are falling behind or need assistance, our team is here to help get you back on track. Please give a member of our Construction team a call before your next loan meeting.
As a Manager, it only makes sense that Linda likes “listening, meeting with clients and being in a position to help with whatever their accounting needs may be.” She’s been working in accounting since 1980 and with us since 1994.
When she’s not helping clients, Linda serves on the Board of Directors for the Townsend Opera and as Vice President of the local chapter of CSEA. She also actively participates in fundraising year-round for various local charities.
Linda admires Alton Brown, celebrity chef, because he’s “entertaining and explains cooking from the scientific point of view;” Maya Angelou, because “she’s a terrific writer, wise, honest and thought-provoking;” and Martha Beck (life coach and writer), because “her writing inspires me to get the most of life and to be a better person.”
Regardless of the season, Linda spends her Saturdays either “in my kitchen trying new recipes, or sewing something in my sewing room.”