IFA’s Certification for Account Executives in Factoring
The Certified Account Executive in Factoring (CAEF) designation is the first professional certification of its kind that recognizes professionalism within the Factoring Industry. This program is the gold standard of best practices in Factoring and Receivables Based Finance. The IFA assembled an impressive group of Subject Matter Experts who developed a common knowledge base and an Exam with the intent to appropriately distinguish between candidates who possess superior working knowledge of the factoring industry versus those who do not. In developing this exam, all guidelines for a professional certification test were strictly adhered to.
This designation promotes and protects the factoring industry by providing recognition for those individuals who understand the complexities of general factoring and have demonstrated their expertise in the management of factoring accounts. Earning the CAEF designation is not easily achieved and the CAEF credential demonstrates to all that a Certified Factoring Account Executive possesses superior knowledge and experience.
The goals of an Account Executive within the Factoring Industry are to preserve and protect the capital employed in client relationships and to provide a level of professional service that results in long-term client retention. The risk profile of clients who use Accounts Receivable Finance changes fluidly and the CAEF has demonstrated an expertise in structuring and managing facilities that appropriately manage that risk.
Who is an IFA Certified Account Executive?
The role of an Account Executive (AE) may have different attributes depending on where the AE is employed. Factoring Companies, Banks, and Commercial Lending Institutions are able to provide receivables-based financing solutions to a variety of industries or they may only focus on certain niches. What they all have in common is the employ of Account Executives, some may call it a Loan Officer or even a Relationship Manager or a Portfolio Manager. Account Manager is also a common title in the industry. In general, an Account Executive is that person who manages the day to day client relationship in a factoring or other receivables based lending environment. In order to effectively manage a factoring relationship the following knowledge base is employed:
- Understand Invoice Verification Methods with direct experience performing Verification
- Identify the Collateral Paper Trail
- Analyze Collateral
- Analyze Account Debtor Risk
- Perform limited Financial Statement Analysis (Account Debtor and Client)
- Manage client reserves
- Have direct experience with performing or managing the collection process
- Manage the Account Receivable Aging (Turns, Trends, and Concentrations)
- Perform Eligibility Calculations (knowledge of ineligible categories, aka “no-buy”)
- Recognize Secured Party rights under the Uniform Commercial Code
- Understand collateral threats and how to manage through them
- Identify different Factoring Products and how to manage each
- Recognize the differences between Factoring and Asset Based Lending, Purchase Order Finance or other alternative funding structures
- Perform Client servicing techniques/problem solving
- Recognize Red Flags/Early Warning Signs of distress in the Client Relationship
- Work with Government Contracts
- Understand Legal Documentation (Purchase & Sale Agreements, Various supporting legal documents )
- Understand Client Compliance Methodology
- Know proper Notice of Assignment
The CAEF must possess a working knowledge of all the above. The CAEF may not actually perform each of these duties but should know about them in relation to the role of an Account Executive. If you work for an operation that segments these duties among different classifications of staff then check with your employer and request cross training to establish some experience with duties that you may not already be accustomed to.
The CAEF has a thorough understanding of and ability to apply all of these essential elements in managing factoring relationships.
How to become an IFA CAEF:
Your interest in becoming a CAEF means that you are motivated to prove your level of knowledge of receivables based finance. Being an Account Executive in the Factoring Industry means different things within different institutions. Generally, this title is held by those individuals tasked with the day to day dealings representing the factor in a client relationship. If you have been employed in such a role for a minimum of two years and you adhere to the Code of Ethics as published by the International Factoring Association then you may apply to sit for the exam. The IFA does not require CAEF Candidates to be a member of nor work for a member of the International Factoring Association.
Merely having two years of experience is not a guarantee that an individual will receive this accreditation. It really is the experience and knowledge base that the individual possesses that will help them to achieve this accreditation. CAEF candidates who achieve a passing score on the comprehensive 100 item exam will be awarded the CAEF designation.
Apply for the Exam:
Click Here to access the application to sit for the exam.
Once your application has been processed you will be provided with a web address, a username, and password which you will use to schedule the exam at a location near you.
There are over 300 locations across North America available to candidates who wish to take the exam. Each testing center’s schedule varies based on availability so if you encounter any problems with scheduling please contact ISO Quality testing direct at 866-773-1114.
Prepare for the Exam:
Review anything and everything that you may have available to you such as an Operations Manual or Policies and Procedures Manual used by your company. Attending training courses given by various training institutions is also a good point of reference for you. As an example, the IFA’s Account Executive/Loan Officer seminar provides instruction and materials as well as discussions meant to enhance the educational experience. The IFA has also developed a guide detailing the best practices in the factoring industry for Account Executives that can be helpful when taking the CAEF Exam. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of an Account Executive and offers a comprehensive framework of suggested guidelines. The guide can be purchased in the IFA Store
The subjects covered in the exam are:
- Factoring Products & Processes
- Knowing your Client
- Credit Analysis
- Collateral Analysis
- Legal, Regulations & Ethics
- Loss Prevention/Early Warning Signs
If you have been actively employed as a Factoring Account Executive for a minimum of two years you will qualify to sit for the exam. If you are a member of the factoring community, you already know that it is unique in that every funding company or business unit is formed using their own corporate structure representative of the talent employed at their office. What this means is that there is a diverse group of practices and a lack of uniformity amongst factoring operations.
Simply being an expert in your particular firm’s policies and procedures will not likely be sufficient to earn CAEF status. A CAEF will have demonstrated a working knowledge of the many different methods of structuring funding solutions within the factoring or receivables based industry.
The Certified Factoring Account Executive program seeks to standardize best practices in use by many successful institutions today. While the practices may differ amongst funding companies, the standards of prudent capital deployment apply universally.
It is important to note that the organizations that you may have been employed by may not have the same corporate structure with respect to roles within their organization as other factoring operations may have. As an example, your title may be that of a Portfolio Manager instead of an Account Executive and yet when you compare the elements of portfolio management to account management they are essentially the same. If this is the case, even though your title might not be an Account Executive, you would still qualify to take the exam if the job description matches but the title does not.
Take the Exam:
Once your application has been processed and you have scheduled the exam you will visit an authorized location to take the exam. The reason that the exam is given at a proctored location protects the integrity of the exam. These locations are hosted by centers that appoint someone to watch over the candidates who take the exam.
When you arrive at the testing center you will have to supply them with your Candidate Admission Letter (you will receive this when your application has been processed and you schedule online) as well as documentation that provides proof of your identification such as a Driver’s License or Passport.
You will be required to sign documents evidencing your agreement to keep the contents of the exam confidential. Next, relax you are ready to take the exam. You should plan on the exam taking approximately two hours to complete.
If you do not receive a passing score, you are eligible to take the exam up to two more times in the same twelve month period that starts from the date of your original application date. You will need to pay the standard fee to retake the exam. To take the exam again, either call the IFA at 805-773-0011 or reregister on the IFA website and a confirmation will be sent to your email to schedule a time and a location.
Maintaining your Certification
All Certified Account Executives in Factoring are required to advance their professional development through ongoing continuing education. In order for the CAEF to maintain an active credentialed status, recertification is required every two (2) calendar years. The Certification Cycle begins on the first day of the calendar year following the CAEFs initial certification and restarts subsequently every two years from that date. The CAEF must complete a minimum of fifteen (15) CFE units per each two (2) year Certification Cycle in order to maintain an active credential. Click here for more information on the continuing education requirements and the pre-approved programs.
A CAEF is required to submit a CFE Reporting Form
verifying the completion of all CFE Units no later than the first (1st) day of February following the recertification cycle. A CAEF that does not meet the deadline will be placed on inactive status.
The CAEF must submit a CFE Credit Request Form
for programs that have not been pre-approved by the CAEF Oversight Committee no later than one hundred and twenty (120) days following the conclusion of the event and prior to the last day of a CAEF’s recertification cycle. A review of the program content, instructor qualifications, and length of study time will be analyzed and an appropriate number of CFE units will be assigned by the CAEF Oversight Committee.
Make the most out of your Accomplishment
Congratulations, passing the CAEF exam indicates that you are one of the elite among factoring professionals. Feel free to use the logo and title as a means to promote that you achieved best in class status in your profession. The IFA will not publicly announce or list your name in any public directory as a means to ensure the privacy of CAEF’s. However, this does not preclude you or your employer from broadcasting via press releases or otherwise that you have proven your mastery of the specialized skills required to operate in the field of receivables based finance.
Once you have achieved your CAEF designation you will be provided with a formal Certificate and an electronic copy of the CAEF logo. You are authorized to use the logo and/or the title of “CAEF” on your business cards, resume, general correspondence and social media networking sites. You are authorized to use the title and logo so long as your designation is active.
There are continuing educations requirements so you are asked to discontinue the use of the logo and title should you elect to not maintain an active CAEF status.