Asset finance leasing - XL Business finance
  XL Business Finance Blog » invoice financing

Posts Tagged ‘invoice financing’

How to choose an invoice financing company

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Without a doubt invoice financing is still the most buoyant and flexible form of business finance today. However there are so many different invoice financing companies and products  to choose from how can you be sure that you are using the most appropriate and best value funder for your business. Luckily XL Business finance has been helping businesses for over ten years to choose the most appropriate funder.

Too often the easiest option is to be  railroaded into your clearing banks factoring or invoice discounting company. This may not always be the best option. As you probably know factoring and invoice discounting release up to eighty percent of a businesses unpaid invoices in ready cash ready to be used for working capital requirements.  However there a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a finance company. Like any business different factoring and invoice discounting companies have different sweet spots. The problem with the high street banks is that try and be all things to all men and can often fall short on service and delivery compared with other independent providers. In certain circumstances the bank may be the best choice and indeed one bank in particular is exceptional providing international trade finance whereas another is most excellent in providing funding against contractual debt.

In addition certain finance companies are most excellent at invoice discounting but struggle to add the required level of service to deliver a competent full factoring service. When it comes to full factoring with credit control and debt collection specialist and independent factoring companies provide a far superior products to the banks. It can be difficult to argue against the banks when it comes to invoice discounting however there are benefits to choosing a third party provider such as not having too many eggs in ones basket.

A Guide to Invoice Financing

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Again Invoice financing is a generic term for factoring and invoice discounting all of which provide funding against your unpaid debtor book. Because invoice financing is secured against your debtor book it is a very flexible form of finance that grows with your business. It is fast becoming the first choice cash flow facility for many businesses replacing bank overdrafts which by comparison are restrictive in terms of proving cash and onerous in terms of security and flexibility.

Invoice discounting is usually provided in a confidential manner and is normally appropriate for businesses that are established , profitable and have good internal credit control procedures. Most invoice discounting companies will release up to 80% against your debtor book with the remaining 20% being paid to you when your customer pays less any charges due.  There are usually two charges for the operating the facility. Firstly there is the interest charge , an amount over bank base rate which is applied to the amount of cash you actually borrow and not the facility amount. The rate is usually comparable to a bank overdraft and in some cases can actually be cheaper. The second charge is for operating the facility and this is charged as an percentage of actually turnover. The amount charged depends upon the turnover, the number of invoices and also the quality of your invoices. Most invoice discounting companies have a comparable charging structure.

Factoring is usually provided on a disclosed basis SO that your customers are aware that you are factoring your invoices. Because factoring finance is provided in a more open format it is usually available to most businesses including new starts , loss making businesses and businesses that have been declined invoice discounting. The facility is provided in exactly the same way however the factoring company will be responsible for credit control and will add value to your business for making sure that your invoices are paid on time.

Invoice Financing Explained

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The ability to obtain cash against your unpaid invoice can have a massive affect on your businesses cash flow and hence your ability to trade. Invoice financing is the generic term for factoring and invoice discounting both of which will release up to 80% of your unpaid invoices. The remaining 20% is paid when your customer pays you less any charges due to the invoice discounting company. As cash becomes more and more tight we understand that credit terms are being stretched further and further. Invoice financing is the perfect solution to ease your Cashflow and unlike a bank overdraft the facility is not repayable on demand and will grow with your business.

However there is a subtle difference between factoring and invoice discounting. Whilst both products release cash against your total debtor book factoring usually provides credit control as an additional service and invoice discounting is usually provided on a confidential basis. Which facility is best for your business depends on your own requirements and trading performance. XL Business Finance is one of the countries leading factoring and invoice discounting brokers and we have been helping businesses for over ten years obtain the most appropriate funding partner. You wouldn’t go to your butcher for open heart surgery so why go to your bank for finance advise. We believe that we are more qualified and better placed to help a business choose the best funding partner.

As invoice discounting is usually provided on a confidential basis this means that your customers are unaware that you are discounting your invoices. The finance company is unable to call your customers and verify the amount of your invoices. therefore invoice discounting is deemed to be a more risky facility and as such is usually only available for profitable more established businesses that have th necessary controls and procedure in place. Factoring however is conducted in a more open way and as such the finance company can call your customers to check invoice amounts and as such it is a facility more widely available.

Invoice Finance or bank overdraft for an SME

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

It appears that a bank overdraft as a means to financing a businesses cash flow requirements is becoming second place behind invoice financing. For starters it appears to be more and more difficult to obtain an overdraft. For many businesses it may be that they can obtain a token amount of £10-£20k and this may depend on the length of time a business has been  trading and whether it is profitable or not.

An invoice financing facility such as factoring or invoice discounting is secured against the unpaid invoices of the business. As a rule of thumb you can obtain 80% of your unpaid debtor book on a revolving credit facility. Therefore as your business expands so does the size the available facility. And it doesnt matter how the performance of your business fluctuates it is not repayable on demand.

The problem with a bank overdraft it is repayable on demand. Up until the last year or so it was virtually unheard of  for a bank to withdraw an overdraft. Not any more . We are often hearing of situations whereby an overdraft is being reduced following a poor set of results. This will never happen with an invoice financing facility which isn’t repayable on demand. In addition once you get on with a bank overdraft it may be difficult to move away. The bank may offer you a factoring or invoice discounting  in addition to your bank overdraft however we often see the total facility being restricted. You may find that you may have had more funding using an independent factoring company or invoice discounting facility that specialise in invoice financing. Beware!!!!!

Invoice financing contractual debt

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Approach most invoice financing companies for a factoring and invoice discounting facility and as soon as they realise there is an element of contractual debt they run a mile. The good news is that there are one or two finance companies that specialise in financing contractual finance.

They are two completely different finance companies. One is a bank owned invoice financing company and the other is an independent based invoice discounting company. ie they are not bank owned. Compare any of the two quotes and you will probably find the bank owned invoice discounting company is slightly cheaper. However in our experience the bank owned finance company may not give the best service. Being a bank you will probably find they have more inexperienced staff. Not say they all are but it will be pot luck as to the level of service you obtain. The bank will probably quote a higher pre payment but as we know with any part of contractrual invoicing what you invoice isn’t necessarily what you get paid. This is where the problems start. A larger financial institution will have greater difficult reconciling payments and you end up with disallowed invoices and possibly less cash in the bank

Whilst no one funder is perfect the independent will understand that payments coming in through the door do not always match up but they have a far greater experience in reconciling the accounts. It might also be that whilst the independent quotes a lower prepayment you end up with far more cash in the bank. The independent will base their prepayment on advice from their in house quantitative surveyors and whilst a  lower prepayment might not be ideal it will also protect the directors by not exposing themselves too much from a personal point of view.

Why use an invoice financing broker?

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Any search of google will reveal hundreds of choices of invoice financing companies. There are three main types of companies. Independent brokers, bank owned invoice finance companies and independent factoring and invoice discounting companies. Independent brokers are a good place to start. Not to be confused with an independent factoring or invoice discounting company that provide the funding and service themselves but are independent in that they not bank owned.

A good independent broker will know the factoring and invoice discounting market inside out. Based on your businesses particular circumstances such as length of time trading, location , profitability, turnover and quality of debtor book he or she will be able to narrow the choice of factoring companies down to about two or three of the most suitable funders. Different lenders have different lending criteria and most have different sweet spots. What is one mans poison is another mans whatsit. We would always recommend having a meeting with a max of two to three providers so you can a feel for personalities and decide which finance company that you may be able to work more closely with.

We would also be wary of a site that links in to a number of different funders to provide the cheapest possible quotation. There are so many factors which need to be taken into consideration when choosing your funding partner. Although cost is certainly important it shouldn’t be the be all and end all as there are so many other consideration which should be considered.

XL Business Finance is one of the leading indpendent brokers in this firld and without a doubt will certainly be able to add value to the proceedings.

Invoice financing and trade facilities

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Invoice financing can provide  much needed working capital however when combined with an international trade finance facility the two  facilities dove tail to provide the complete funding solution. Any businesses wishing to import goods from a foreign country can do so without having to use any of their own capital provided that you have guaranteed orders in the UK. On trhe back of these orders the finance company will provide the cash to import the goods. As soon as the goods are delivered to your customers premises, you will raise an invoice. Either the customer pays immediately and the trade facility is repaid in full or you provide your customer with credit and the same finance company provides an invoice discounting or factoring facility against your invoices and the proceeds are used to pay the trade facility.

This process would seem pretty simple however not all financial institutions provide the two services together. If you went to the bank asking fro a trade facility the amount of credit you are provided with will depend on the length of time your business has been trading, how profitable it is, and the level of available security. Providing a one stop shop is difficult in that it is a very specialist market however once you know which funders are in the market you might be pleasantly surprised as to the level of funding available.

XL business Finance has been helping many businesses trading internationally with cash flow solutions. We know depending on your location . length of time in business and the level of profitability which invoice financing company will be best suited for your particular business. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to have a stack of security available. Thankfully there are a number of independent finance companies that providing the exit route is watertight they will take a commercial view.

How to choose an invoice financing company

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Ok so we have established over the last few blogs that as the UK emerges out of the recession that using banks for working capital funding and in particular bank overdrafts is probably not the best form of finance. However there are so many invoice financing companies available how do you know which one will suit your particular business and who will give you the best deal. There are many factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a provider. First there is a big difference between invoice discounting companies and factoring companies. The finance companies that are good at factoring are not always good at invoice discounting and visa versa.

Although both financeproducts will release cash against unpaid invoices of up to 80% factoring is more more of a service orientated product providing credit control as an added benefit. The idea is that you outsource this to the factoring company who will chase your customers and make sure the cash comes back to the business in a timely fashion. The cost of the factoring service is minimal compared with employing a full time credit controller. However with factoring cheapest is not always best. Although there isn’t a massive amount of difference between costs you do tend to get what you pay for. If you pay peanuts for a facility you will probably get monkeys chasing your customers if they can be bothered at all.

The service aspect is less important when it comes to invoice discounting however the bigger the financial institution the further you are away from a decision maker there if you need some flexibility a smaller company can provide quicker turnarounds. Confidential invoice discounting as it suggests is kept secret from your customers and it provides a working capital facility that unlike a bank overdraft grows with your business.

how to choose an invoice financing company

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Invoice financing is a form of cash flow finance which can release up to 90 % of your unpaid invoices. It can take form in a variety of different variations. There are basically 3 0r 4 core products and the 50 or so finance companies offering invoice financing provide slight variation on each of the  core products. Invoice financing can take form as factoring , invoice discounting , confidential invoice discounting and confidential factoring. Invoice finance has beenone of the fastest growing areas of finance in recent years and even in the current economic climate and credit crunch there are still many finance companies offering such products. At one time invoice finance was seen as a lend of last resort. This stigma has just about disappeared especially when you consider the risk of using a bank overdraft which have always been repyable on demand. Invoice financing will provide a more secure form of funding that potentially can grow as your business does. XL Business Finance has been helping and advising businesses for nearly ten years and placing them with the most appropraite finance company.

Which finance company is best for you depends upon a number of different factors. Firstly do you require factoring or invoice discounting. The finance companies which are good at factoring are not necessarily the best at invoice discounting and visa versa. Factoring as much as providing cash flow is also about credit control and providing a debt collection service. Certain finance companies are geared up to chase customers debtors better than others. Also your geographic location must be a consideration. There are a number of smaller privately owned factoring companies dotted around the country.  These finance companies can provide a most excellent service however they tend to stick to reasonably locall based companies. There might be one of these companies close to you. It is worth getting us to check it out for you.

Invoice Financing for an SME

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Without a doubt there are still many options when it comes to obtaining finance against your unpaid debtor book. The ability to release up to 80% of your unpaid invoices can provide a financial life line for many businesses and can provide a viable alternative to any bank finance arrangement.  Invoice financing is still an area of finance where there still seems to be many finance companies in the market for writing new business however how do you know which provider is best for your particular requirements. XLBusiness Finance has been helping many businesses obtain the most appropriate factoring and invoice discounting products based on their own unique set of personal circumstances.

Depending on whether a business requires factoring or invoice discounting we may recommend a completely different finance company. Although invoice discounting is less about providing a service the cheapest is not always the best because credit limits on individual customers and the overall funding limit must be taken into consideration. Also a bank invoice discounting company may be providing the cheapest facility however the banks are not always the best choice if your business experiences any difficulties. Factoring on the other had is all about adding value in terms of providing a credit control and efficient collection service.  Banks quote cheap rates however they are not the best at collecting the cash. An independent that doesn’t necessarily have to be more expensive will provide a much better service.

In addition we will take into account your geographic location, your turnover, the quality of your debtor book, whether there is a contractual element to your invoicing, the quality of your own internal procedures and of course the size of your required funding limit. Within a few minutes of your time and asking a few of these basic questions we guarantee to narrow the most appropriate finance company to to or three. This will save you time and money and free you to get on with running your business.

 
 
 

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.

 

Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Preston, Sheffield, Stoke, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire, Staffordshire