Merchant Cash Advance Accounting – A How To Guide

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This is the introduction and first question in an interview between deBanked’s Sean Murray and accountants Yoel Wagschal, CPA and Christina Joy Tharp.

Funding small businesses is the easy part of merchant cash advance. Anyone can fund. It’s what comes after that’s tricky and I don’t just mean capturing those receivables you’ve purchased, but also recording everything in such a way that you’re not scrambling around tax time.

I have a B.S. in Accounting but I asked the experts Yoel Wagschal, CPA and Christina Tharp his staff accountant for their insight on managing the books for a merchant cash advance company. We’re still a ways off from April 15th so now is your opportunity to fix whatever you might not have done in 2014 and start off on the right foot for this year. Thanks again to Yoel and Christina for answering these questions.

Q: As a funder, what systems should I have in place to make sure I can:
a. Prepare business tax filing
b. Be ready for an audit to raise capital
c. Know whether or not I am making money

A: First of all you have to understand that every type of business has this exact same question. The answer is that you need to have proper accounting entries and records which will then aid you in creating the financial statements (ie: balance sheet, income statement, statement of retained earnings, and statement of cash flows).

Whether it is a tax filing, a bank audit, or an internal inquiry, the solution is identical because all of those situations require the same financial material in order to answer them. In order to prepare a business tax filing a company must provide its profits and losses. That is the same information provided in an audit to raise capital and it is the same information a business owner needs to see how much money they are making (or losing!).

The exact system is obviously custom fit to your individual business model but it should follow these very basic steps:

i) Think the entire process through from cradle to grave
ii) Be sure to codify where funds are coming in from:
a. Investments from syndicators
b. Payments from merchants
c. Commissions
iii) Be sure to codify where funds are being sent to:
a. Funds to merchants
b. Funds to syndicators
c. Commissions
iv) Be sure there is a system of checks and balances which will alert you to the following common errors:
a. Funds not received from/sent to syndicator
b. Funds not received from/sent to merchant
c. Commissions not received
v) The bank account is the authority while the system is only a representation:
a. Your system balance should reconcile with your bank account
b. It is advisable to have a separate bank account for funding transactions

You will also want to pull up trial balances and earnings reports, which must be input correctly from the very beginning in order for these reports to be accurate and effectual.

What makes this industry different is that an accounting system can make or break an MCA company. For example, a supermarket usually has good POS software for inventory control. If an employee drops a “box of tomatoes” it’s not the end of the world. The loss is either immaterial or if it is material the accounting system will pick up the big monetary discrepancy.

In the MCA industry a “box of tomatoes” could be anything from a $0.05 loss to a $500,000 loss. Because the MCA industry deals with money as its product and is often processing transactions at breakneck speed, there needs to be safeguards in the system to catch any and all mistakes in real time.

Our accounting firm has seen where people built attractive systems which seemed good to the funder. However, if the funder lacks accounting knowledge when this “box of tomatoes” falls out they may not be able to place exactly where the loss occurred. Or even worse, they may not realize a loss has taken place until it is too late. For example, if you wait until the end of the tax year and then discover that merchant payments have been missed how do you recoup those funds? It’s the same situation if incorrect amounts are funded to merchants, if incorrect commissions are paid out, or if syndicators have not invested the funds they were expected to.

This interview was done with Yoel Wagschal CPA and his staff accountant Christina Tharp. They can be reached at:

Phone (845) 875-6030
Fax (845) 678-3574

Please consult with an accountant to assess your particular situation and needs.

Last modified: May 25, 2016
Sean Murray

Category: merchant cash advance

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