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.
Saves yourself stress of thinking how to deal with your receivables.
Factoring Companies In Alabama
Factoring is when a third party commercial finance company purchases the Invoices or Accounts Receivable from a business. -Factoring Companies In Alabama
THE SECRET OF HAVING GOOD CASH FLOW
Factoring Companies In Alabama Articles
Factoring in the Future of a Trucking Business: A Story
John Thompson let the phone ring on his desk. He let his morning coffee cool and left his cigarette to ash itself in the tray, because he is trying to make the biggest decision ever for his trucking company. Thompson Trucking Company was at a turning point of growth and John had to decide if signing with a factoring company was the right way forward.
John’s father had started as an owner-operator and had grown Thompson Trucking Company into a fifteen trailer fleet over forty years. There had been some hard times when it seemed everything was going to go under and even John’s mother strapped herself into a cab to make hauls. His father had lived long enough to witness the price of hires drop during the recession and watch the eruption of fuel prices afterwards. Now the company was solely in John’s hands and he wanted to live to see it in better shape for his sons.
To move Thompson Trucking Company ahead into the future, he needed a steady cash flow but there was just not enough money to go around. His employees needed to be paid. They had families and household bills too. Some of the refrigerated trailers were in need of repairs and he felt to stay competitive it was also a good idea to invest in specialized haulers to be ready for the constant requests he was getting for loads of new energy and agriculture equipment. Every time he had to turn down a request, Thompson Trucking looked weak in a very strong market.
His father would have told him to wait and to take his time adding on new technology. John allowed himself a good hard chuckle. His father had been against placing GPS units in the cabs. He would say, “Why do you need the voice of some woman to tell you to get off at an exit that has been the same exit that has been there for years?” Also his father had the habit of teasing all the drivers he caught switching into automatic even though driving in automatic was much more efficient though not manly in his father’s eyes. His father days were long gone and technology was actually an important improvement for the business such as having Qualcomm to cut down on fruitless time communicating on the phone for bills of lading.
John believed a successful man is always thinking of his next step. What would be the next step for Thompson Trucking? And how would he be able to afford it? Funding was all tied up in the mortgage for the office and garage and in the fuel bills. He just finished paying off the small bank loan for installing satellite radio in the trucks for the guys.
But was factoring the answer? There was a lot he didn’t understand about the process. It sounded a lot like ninth grade algebra which just didn’t feel like it belonged as part of the trucking business. Factoring companies buy your invoices and manage your accounts receivable for a certain percentage of the invoiced amount. The factoring company gives the trucking business its payment right away which allows the business to have continuous cash flow so it can pay employees, buy fuel, and make repairs for upcoming hauls. Without the assistance of factoring, you have to wait for customers to send you the payment which is often 30 days late. In those 30 days, a trucking company can’t pay its bills and employees in invoices.
Now it was time for John to do his homework. John had heard that there were companies that charged for same day money transfers and would only advance a percentage of the money owed to your company while holding the rest in a private account if they didn’t get their bill payment within 60 or so days. Plus it was worse still if the customer didn’t pay up at all because then the factoring company would take it right out of the money supposed to be coming to you! Through the grapevine, he’d also heard about how some companies suddenly slipped you onto a sliding scale of percentages even if you had already signed a lengthy contract for maybe 3% or 7% so there you are with 10% coming as a cost to you out of the freight bill. His friend Ronnie who had a trucking business in Missouri, was run nearly into the ground by a factoring company that charged him the full freight bill on top of the factoring fees. Well, what was the point of going to a factoring company if there was shady business like that going on?
But it turned out to be quite easy. All the factoring companies he researched were open about their business practices and very friendly on the phone when he called. Their customer service actually knew things about their company and spoke in nice clear English so he could understand what was being explained. He didn’t mind signing an exclusive contract. He liked the idea of a long term commitment so he knew he wouldn’t have to bother going back and forth to different companies and wasting time filing more forms. Nobody charged him for credit checks and they offered him a fuel advance on the pick-up of the load. Many companies offered a non-recourse factoring program that suited him just fine. Also he was happy to hear how much he was offered in terms of percentages on the freight bills. It was good money.
It was really refreshing dealing with the factoring people. They were more personable than those loan managers at the bank. It seemed as though those bank people spoke another language, but these factoring guys knew the trucking business and spoke to him like a client, not like a beggar for a handout. The factoring companies didn’t worry over his credit and the debt troubles his father had had in the past of the company. Factoring was based on the credit of his customers and on their reliability which worked well for John because he and his father had built up good strong relationships over decades with their list of clients. So he knew they would understand when the factoring company contacted them for the invoices. His clients wouldn’t think poorly of Thompson Trucking and the factoring companies appeared capable of handling the accounts receivable in the same polite manner that his father had used over the years.
John stepped out of his office to let his secretary know to expect the arrival of the factoring contract shortly. He felt exhilarated by the new possibilities that would make the future of the company fun again and put the stress of the difficult times behind him. With the capabilities of this new cash flow, John could actually expand Thompson Trucking Company further across the country and perhaps even go international into Canada. His heart felt full knowing his sons wouldn’t have to worry about money because of the right decisions he had made for their trucking business.
Saves yourself stress of thinking how to deal with your receivables.
Factoring Companies In Alabama 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!
Factoring Companies In Alabama Articles
How Factoring Saved A Staffing Agency
The Bellosa Temporary & Permanent Hiring Agency has been experiencing a major uptick in business since the unemployment crisis began. The unemployed and underemployed workers have been keeping the phones ringing. The staffing agency is also fielding a lot of calls from employers too, looking for just the right hire. Company President and Vice President, Laurie Bell and Ted Stevens, have not experienced a boom in business since they first opened the doors in 2009, during the recession. They had an idea then that this would be a profitable venture.
The mantra that Laurie and Ted live by is that there’s always going to be people searching for work and of course employers will always be on the lookout for good workers. This is especially true in healthcare staffing, the industry they specialize in. This seemed to be a safe bet for them as they embarked on this venture, but with any small business, the only way to keep the doors open is to keep pressing forward and out perform the competition.
In a relatively short period of time Laurie and Ted had built a nice sized business, they were able to hit the ground running with some brilliant marketing programs and a number of contracts from insiders. They grew rapidly, the timing couldn’t have been better and they were very lucky in this aspect. By the fall of 2011 Laurie and Ted had weathered some ups and downs but they did have some solid clients like a few big insurance companies and a university hospital close by. These clients always paid their invoices on time. But they did start to notice a decrease in accounts receivables from some smaller clients such as rehab centers and private practices.
As winter approached they recalled previous winters and holiday seasons and realized that accounts receivables usually did slow down during this time. Laurie and Ted made the decision to delay their late payments until after the New Year. This plan didn’t really appeal to them as it’s no way to start a New Year, but they seemed to have no other options.
When New Year’s had come and gone they realized that their Accounts Receivables had gone from 30 days past due to 60 days past due. Before meeting with their accountant Scott, they’d decided something had to be done, but they didn’t know what.
Sitting in the conference room with Scott they listened as pulled all the figures up on his iPad saying,“Okay you two, I’ve been looking over the files you sent over and I can certainly see why you’re worried about your late A/Rs but there may be a way to fix this. Do either of you know what factoring is?” Scott inquired.
Laurie and Ted looked at each other quizzically, and then Laurie said “I think it rings a bell, but I’m not really sure. Can you explain it?”
Scott began laying out the details, “You are sitting on a pile of invoices that are past due. The more time that goes by without them being paid, the bigger the bind this puts your business in. It makes it very difficult for you to grow, much less hire anyone new. If you don’t have enough cash coming in . ”
Ted interrupted with, “Then it could make it difficult to take on any new business because we wouldn’t be able to hire the additional personnel we need and meet our weekly payroll. We need an inflow of cash and we really can’t wait. If we have to wait any longer on these invoices we’ll be in trouble.”
Scott jumped in saying, “And this is precisely why I wanted to discuss factoring with you. The factoring company will purchase the invoices you are sitting on that are up to 3 months late, which gives you the cash you need now.” He then showed him a chart on a piece of paper he placed in front of them.
Laurie began to carefully scrutinize it asking, “Is this the fee schedule?”
Scott answered, “Yes it’s all right there. The factoring company makes 1% to 3% of the total amount of each invoice they purchase.”
“That’s sounds like a good deal to me”, Ted said.
The three of them sat there and talked this over for a while and then Laurie and Ted made the decision to go forward realizing this was the best way to keep them afloat. They knew if they couldn’t accommodate all the new clients they were acquiring the competition would get them and they would go down, they could just not afford to turn any business away.
They now needed to fill out an application and submit it to the factoring company and they also needed to show them a few back invoices, undergo a credit check for their company. Credit checks would also need to be done on the companies owing the debts that the factoring company would be purchasing.
It didn’t take long for Bellosa’s credit to be approved and the creditors’ as well. Before long the factoring company purchased the overdue invoices and Laurie and Ted got the influx of cash they needed to cover things and allow them to continue growing their business.
The next time Laurie and Ted met with their accountant Scott, there were smiles all around.Scott said, “I’ve taken a look at your books so I know that factoring was the right solution for you.”
“It worked perfectly”, Laurie stated and went on to say, “The tiny amount we paid out for this influx of cash was certainly worth it.”
Ted chimed in with, “Without a doubt! Whatever the fees were we made back and more since we were now able to hire more personnel so we could take on more business. It worked out for us and for them I would say!”
“That’s what’s great about factoring!” Scott exclaimed with a look of satisfaction on his face.
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