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Posts Tagged ‘invoice discounting’

Can I obtain Stocking Finance

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

The answer ( as with anything ) is MAYBE! Stocking Finance traditionally is an add on to a factoring or invoice discounting facility. It is sometimes possible to obtain funding in the form of a stand alone facility from an independent trade finance company and of course for the right sort of customer it is possible to obtain funding via your own bank. The following article will hopefully give you an idea as to where your business sits in terms of funding options.

Traditional bank funding as with most facilities is provided for own bank customers and is based on the trading performance of the business. A business that has been trading for at least three years, is extremely profitable, has a strong balance sheet and possible has tangible security will have a good chance obtaining funding from the high street banks. As with any finance product not all banks will offer stocking facilities and the product will vary from bank to bank. A good independent finance broker will be able to point you in the right direction.

Stocking on the back of a factoring or invoice discounting facility is slightly different. A business that is buying high value goods which can be easily disposed off maybe able to obtain funding irrelevant as to their trading history. For example non perishable items such as TVs which are being imported for a third of what they are being sold for will be more easily fundable than frozen fish for example. Whilst all factoring and invoice companies offer stocking facilities there are only a couple that offer a true revolving stocking facility. Certain funders offer an increase in facility to provide funding up to a 100% of the debtor book however this is done so on a short term basis. This overpayment secured against stock will be repaid back over a 12 month period.

Cash Flow Loans Explained

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

There are many types of cash flow loans available to commercial businesses however we thought it might be worth explaining the different options. A cash flow loan in the traditional sense is a loan from a bank based on the performance of the business. Rather than securing the loan against bricks and mortar a multiple of the profitability is lent to the customer. These types of loans reached their peak in the run up to the credit crunch however are only starting to make somewhat of a recovery.

Whilst factoring , invoice discounting and even bank overdrafts are a form of cash flow loan they are different in that they are secured by other means. Factoring and invoice discounting facilities are secured against the debtor book and overdrafts are more often than not secured against bricks and mortar and even personal guarantees. Obviously it is possible to obtain a bank overdraft without security however you will probably know only token overdrafts are available from most banks without the benefit of tangible security

Cash flow lending was very prevalent in the acquisitions and mergers market  where significant sums were required to purchase a profitable business however there was very little security in terms of  property, findable debtor book or plant and machinery. A traditional asset based lender will lend cash against some all all of these tangible assets.

As with any financial institution the parameters for cash flow lending will vary greatly. An experienced commercial finance broker will have their finger on the pulse and will be able to help you find the most appropriate finance company. Don’t get too excited because we believe that this is still the most difficult area for funding and it will take time before the banks fully regain their confidence in this sector

Factoring Finance explained

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Factoring is simply the ability of a business to raise cash against unpaid invoices. Typically 80 % funding can be obtained however depending on a businesses personal circumstances a higher payment or even a lower prepayment may be available.

Unlike invoice discounting factoring is provided on a disclosed basis which means that your customers are aware you are factoring your invoices. In fact you will add to your invoice a clause asking that payment for the invoice is paid direct to the finance company. Upon receipt the finance company will pay the remaining 20% due to you less their interest charges and fee for running the account.

Factoring can also provide full credit control leaving you free to run your business instead of worrying about chasing your customers for payment. It is important to remember that factoring is a value added product and is not just about providing a cash flow facility. What is the use of having the cheapest funder in town if at the end of the day they are hopeless at collecting your unpaid invoices. This is where a good independent factoring broker can add value to the decision of choosing the right funder

There  are many criteria that you should consider when choosing the correct factoring company for your business. If you are a new start business there are finance companies that are geared up specifically for this purpose. Also your geographic location should have a significant bearing on your decision as some of the smaller independent that can provide a n excellent service but  are very much locally based. also the nature of your business and the type and quality of your debtor book will also have a bearing on your final choice of factoring company.

There are plenty of companies to choose from and as such a good impartial view point will have alot of time and potential future heartache!

Is Invoice Discounting Better than a Bank Overdraft?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

We think so but then again why wouldn’t we ! As an independent business finance specialist we are firm believers that borrowings should be spread across as many financial institutions as possible. We also believe that any form of invoice discounting is better than a bank overdraft.

The problem with a  bank overdraft means that you are at the beck and call of the bank. An overdraft is repayable on demand and at the first sign of trouble it can be withdrawn at a moments notice. No one ever thinks this will happen but believe you me, we have seen it happen and the consequences are not pretty. Another problem with bank overdrafts is that the amount you can borrow is determined by the strength of your balance sheet or the level of  security available. Bank overdrafts of any significant amount are normally secured against bricks and mortar.

Invoice discounting couldn’t be different. A facility is secured against your unpaid invoices and within reason as your business expands so does the size of the facility available. Providing you are looking for standard trading terms borrowings of 80% of debtor book are the norm without the need to provide additional security.

Directors warranties are the normal comfort obtained from the invoice discounting company which provides an indemnity against any fraudulent activity. Fair enough one thinks

XL Business Finance has been helping the SME market for over 10 years sourcing the right kind of funding for a business’s particular needs. Give us a call today to see how we can help you

International Invoice Discounting

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

In this challenging economic climate the high streets banks appetite to write international invoice discounting deals has declined somewhat. In fact there are very few invoice discounting providers that will provide a true international invoice finance facility. The good news is that there are still a number of lesser known funders willing to assist in this very difficult market.

As an independent finance company we have been advising businesses for over 10 years as to which finance company will suit their particular requirements. There are many different factors which will need to be taken into consideration when making a recommendation. For example, a particular invoice discounting company maybe very comfortable in the SME market whereas once a business gets into the multi million turnover bracket there are a few foreign banks that may be able to provide a funding arrangement. It is important that you contact someone like ourselves because a finance company wishing  to write business only a few months ago maybe being restricted funds today and as such their terms and conditions may not be as favourable as rather than say no they price themselves out of the deal.

As we know no finance institution admits being skint and as such they go through the motions, promise the earth and ultimately deliver nothing. At XL Business Finance we no exactly which finance company is strong in our particular sector and as such we add vale by making sure you speak to the correct finance company sooner rather than later!!

Using an Invoice Finance Broker

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Any search on the world wide web will reveal numerous factoring and invoice discounting companies. Some of them will be actual lenders, others will call themselves “independent” in that they are not bank owned but they are still a lender and some ae brokers. In our opinion using an invoice finance broker will save you the most time and help you obtain the most appropriate funder for your particular requirements.

However there are two types of brokers. Some of the websites you see on the net are more like like cost comparison sites and will give the business the opportunity to compare quotes. These sites will link into half a dozen factoring and invoice discounting companies and as a result you will be bombarded with calls from half a dozen companies. We are not sure how this type of service can be providing best adviser particularly when no one actually speaks with you to discuss your business.

Surely the best type of broker is the one that either has a meaningful conversation with you in order to find out about your business or even better they take time to visit. At XL Business finance we have access to all the finance companies on the cost comparison sites and far more in addition. Following an initial interview or meeting we can pinpoint the two or three most appropriate invoice finance providers. And the good news is that this service is absolutely free. If XL Business Finance makes an introduction to finance company and they take you on board as a customer a fee will be paid by the finance company to ourselves. This fee is in no way loaded to the charges paid by your selves.  ALL invoice discounting and factoring companies pay the same level of fees because the broker market is one of their biggest sources of business. Therefore you can ensure you are getting  totally independent viewpoint

Confidential Factoring Explained

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Most business understand invoice discounting and most businesses understand full factoring. However confidential factoring maybe available to businesses that require or would prefer a confidential facility.

At a time when many businesses are still struggling for cash the financial institutions have tightened up their criteria as to who qualifies for confidential invoice discounting. A business would need to be well established and have a profitable trading history. The finance company has far less control with an invoice discounting company because they are unable to verify all the invoices and as such it is potentially open to fraud via fresh air invoicing. Factoring which is just about available to any type of business providing you haven’t previously defrauded a factoring company. The factoring company is able to phone your customers to verify invoices and because they also chase payment on your behalf they have a much greater degree of control.

Confidential factoring however provides a solution that provides a compromise for the business and the funder. With confidential factoring the finance company provides the business with their own dedicated phone line and credit controller. They chase the debt in your business name and if any of your customers call for the credit controller the company will answer in your business name. Any funds collected are paid into a trust  account in your name and as such the finance company can exercise a reasonable amount of control. Hopefully this will give you the confidentiality that your business desires.

This is a relatively new product and as such anyone that has had any experience with confidential factoring we would be very interested to hear your opinions.

Import Finance

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Import Finance enables a business to theoretically import goods and sell them to an end user without having to use any of their own cash. Providing there is a reasonable margin within the deal and the goods have been presold then an import finance facility will dove tail nicely with a factoring or invoice discounting facility.

This type of trade finance facility isn’t readily available from high street banks. A bank will provide a trade facility for a business to import goods however any facility provided will be done so against the strength of the business and profitability . In many circumstances a bank will also want additional security such as a charge over property. A bank type trade facility will only enable the strongest of businesses to obtain funding.

However a specialist trade finance company will proive a seamless facility for most types of businesses to new starts to businesses which maybe have had some trading difficulties. On providing evidence that the goods have been presold funding can be obtained to import these goods. Obviously the finance company will take title during the process. On delivery an invoice will raised to the end user. Either the invoice is paid in full and the trade facility is repaid or the invoice is discounted via a factoring or invoice discounting facility enabling the end user to sell the goods before having to pay for them. Assuming there is more than 20% profit in the transaction the factoring facility or invoice discounting facility will pay 80% of the invoice and hence again pay the trade facility in full.

International Trade Finance Explained

Friday, May 14th, 2010

There are a  number of ways that specialist trade finance companies can help your business. In many cases a complete funding solution is available which might not be available from the banks. A business that has a requirement to import goods maybe able to obtain funding providing that they have confirmed orders for their goods.

For example if a wholesaler is importing televisions but doesn’t have the cash to buy the televisions from the foreign supplier and provided the wholesaler has orders for the TVs in the UK a complete funding package will be available. An import facility is provided for the wholesaler to import the TVs. As soon as they hit the UK and are dlivered to the end customer an invoice is raised as per usual providing however many days credit. The wholesaler will then factor that invoice with the same finance company to repay the trade element of the facility providing a dovetailed finance solution.

This is slightly different from how the banks work that don’t look to be repaid from a factoring or invoice discounting facility but from the sale of the goods at some point in the future. The banks way of doing things is slightly more risky and as such they will look to support business that are only profitable, with a strong trading history and a proven track record.

The dovetailed solution poses a less of a risk to a finance company as they keep control of the transaction from start to finish. Although these facilities may be more expensive than a bank they enable businesses that have no track record or are even new starts or have very little cash to obtain import finance.

Turnover too big for my invoice discounting company

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

On the face of it one invoice discounting is the same as another invoice discounting company. For the majority of businesses this probably the case. However as mentioned on previous blogs all finance companies have their own sweet spots and this includes the total exposure they will go to or one company or in other words the total amount of funds out. If you find that your invoice discounting or factoring company is restricting your overall credit limit then t might be time to seek an alternative view point. As one of the UK’s  leading invoice finance brokers we believe we are well placed and qualified to help you with such matters.

There are usually a number of different reasons why a finance company will restrict your overall limit. It may be because your business has had a dip in performance and they wish to monitor your activities more closely. The banks in particular will get nervous in this situation and as such try and reduce their overall exposure. At a time when your business needs cash most this can be massively inconvenient and can possibly make the trading situation worse.

It may be that you have beached your covenants. The most common being pre invoicing or misappropriating cash. More often and not these more serious breaches result in being given a red card. When faced with a potential new funder it is always best policy to come clean and explain the reasoning behind your actions. All factoring and invoice discounting companies will take a reference and any misdemeanours will always be found out.

Or it could be that the finance company is  uncomfortable with  the overall  exposure not because there is anything wrong with your business but because the funding limit is getting too big for that particular business. In this situation an amicable parting ways is usually the best option. Even some of the high street banks get nervous with some of their larger clients and as such some professional advice and help will enable you to find the most appropriate funding partner.

 
 
 

XL Business Finance Ltd is a privately owned and independent business financing company with established links to many of the UK's leading finance houses. XL Business Finance provides a viable alternative to high street banks that lack the flexibility and imagination to provide a solution to most business users requirements. XL Business Finance can provide a full range of business financing solutions and we ensure a high level of customer service and pride ourselves on quick decisions. Our independent status will ensure any offer of funding and asset finance leasing is best suited to our customer’s needs.

XL Business Finance, Eaton Place Business Centre, 114 Washway Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 7RF UK.

 

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