0845 643 9485
Call now for expert advice

Stories Tagged ‘Invoice Factoring Company’

The perception of invoice finance has changed from being the ‘lender of last resort’ to being a flexible and accessible form of working capital for growing businesses.

Over the years the invoice finance industry has changed its own methods internally to become more user-friendly and acceptable. It has embraced online technology to provide a user friendly interface between the lender and the client. These systems differ from lender to lender but they can allow real time uploading of invoices directly from account packages and they can provide in depth reports about such things as debt turn, specific customer reports and the discounts offered. This more accurate and timely monitoring has allowed lenders to monitor risk more closely and has reduced the perceived risk. This is good news for clients of any invoice factoring company as it has driven down costs and increased the prepayments lenders are now willing to offer. These days we often see lenders offering finance at up to 90% of invoice value and recently I saw a client on 95% prepayment with a bank provider.

Credit control techniques have also been developed that use a mixture of computer generated letters and statements alongside the human touch via telephone calls. These techniques are often a vast improvement on the often ad hoc activities employed by a busy business owner. That said the industry at large accepts that not all business owners want to outsource the credit management function of their business as they want to retain control. The truth is that the closer a lender is to a businesses customers the lower the risk is in providing an invoice finance solution. Beyond the traditional facilities of invoice factoring and invoice discounting the industry have developed various products that can meet the requirements of clients yet still mitigate the risks the lender worries about.

The lack of availability of traditional overdraft facilities over the last decade has also bolstered the numbers of invoice finance users in the UK. This is partly due to what is often referred to as the ‘Brumark Case’ where it was deemed banks are not secure against the book debts of a company unless they have taken an active interest in them. This meant that the security of a traditional all-asset debenture was in question and banks forced clients to offer additional security or to move onto an invoice finance facility to replace the overdraft. This perhaps resulted in many businesses being ‘unwilling brides’ in accepting the facilities of invoice factoring companies it did raise the profile of the invoice finance industry at large and did change the perception somewhat.

More recently with the ever publicised ‘credit crunch’ in full effect the banks were not actively lending in traditional formats, many an asset finance company closed it’s doors and the commercial mortgage companies vanished. In stark contrast the invoice finance market remained very active and in particular the independent invoice finance companies. It is true that there were difficulties in providing the credit limits businesses required on their customers but the appetite to lend against good quality book debts remained firmly in place.

Credit terms have become the norm and any ‘small to medium’ business hoping to supply a ‘high street chain’ or a major supermarket are bound by their agreements and standard payment terms. In contrast they are unlikely to enjoy the same terms with their suppliers who will need paying along with wages and other overheads. The end result for most businesses is a stretch on cashflow and as a result an invoice finance facility is a necessity rather than a choice for many businesses. Large businesses are now used to seeing assignment notices on the invoices they receive and will certainly not frown upon the fact a supplier is using invoice finance. Knowing there suppliers have a suitable facility in place to smooth cashflow and fund growth probably gives them comfort.

There are of course still a lot of businesses that turn to the invoice finance companies as the last resort to breathe some life back into their businesses. Some of these businesses really are on their last legs and while the injection of cash can buy them time it is up to the business owners to make the required changes to save the business. If this does not occur then they are simply delaying the inevitable.

There are now circa 50,000 businesses in the UK that use some form of invoice finance. It is a type of finance promoted by both the Federation of Small Business and the British Chamber of Commerce. Large businesses are comfortable with the fact their suppliers use invoice factoring or invoice discounting. Banks are actively encouraging to take up invoice finance wherever it is a genuine option. This type of finance has become more accessible and also more acceptable as a form of finance for successful businesses.

Cheap Invoice Finance Companies can be found but ‘cheap’ is obviously relative to other invoice finance providers. Invoice Finance will typically nearly always be more expensive than an overdraft facility, however Invoice Finance offers additional benefits such as flexibility. Smart Factoring Quotes do however have a few lenders at present who claim that they will not be beaten on price so why not help us test that theory for the benefit of your business?

Cheap invoice finance companies will offer the overall lowest fee structure once you have considered the service fee, discounting fee (including the base rate, minimum base rate and discounting margin), audit fees, set up fee, legal documentation fee, survey fee, etc, etc.. The list of additional fees from some lenders can be extensive and unfortunately not always transparent or easy to understand.

When selecting an invoice finance facility and provider my advice would be not to just shop on price. In the first instance you need to see which invoice finance providers can offer you a facility that works for your business and it’s unique circumstances. It is pointless taking up an invoice finance facility that will not provide what you need just because it appears cheap. Find which invoice finance providers can offer what you require and then do the price comparison ensuring you look beyond the headline rates and consider total costs. Remember you will typically be tied in for 12 months with an invoice finance facility.