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Invoice Discounting

Invoice finance is now being offered by Investec Capital Solutions. This is after Investec Bank acquired Amicus Commercial Finance from the Amicus Group. Amicus had failed to secure a banking license as expected. As a result, Amicus undertook a strategic review across the group in order to reduce operational costs and ensure that its core short-term property lending business continued to grow. The sale of the invoice finance side of the business was after this failure. It must have been unsettling for staff and clients alike given that Amicus Commercial Finance was only established in 2015.

Invoice finance is typically provided by way of invoice discounting or factoring. It allows a business to access up to 100% of the gross value of outstanding invoices. It is a great source of working capital and smooths cash flow so you don’t need to worry about when customers pay late.

When considering which invoice finance provider to use you should consider 4 main areas:

1. Structure – if the facility is not structured properly it will not generate the cash you expect it to.

2. Pricing – the difference between the most expensive solution and the cheapest can be dramatic. It is also important to look beyond headline rates and consider total costs.

3. Service levels – they way you are treated by a lender is important. You are paying for a service and you deserve the best. Things such as stability, staff turnover and general attitude of the lender can make a big difference.

4. Security – ensure you understand what your liabilties are in terms of security requirements.

If you are looking for a factoring or invoice discounting facility why not undertake a complete market review using the simple 3 step form above. That way you can secure the most competitive terms in the market. Whatever your situation there is likely to be a lender that will meet your needs better than other invoice finance providers.

By using our expertise you can ensure not only that you get the best rates but also the best structure.

 

Do you want to access invoice discounting but don’t want to provide a personal guarantee?

Invoice finance without a personal guarantee is available. You can contact Funding Solutions on 0845 251 4040

Many invoice finance providers insist upon a personal guarantee and others only insist upon a guarantee if you are factoring. This seems strange to me as the lenders risk associated with invoice discounting is higher than it is with factoring. However, the criteria for invoice discounting with these lenders if far more stringent so the personal guarantee is less important.

Why do lenders look for a personal guarantee?

A typical requirement for a personal guarantee will be between 10-25% of the overall funding line while some lenders will look for unlimited personal guarantees in the first instance.

The reason lenders look for a personal guarantee is to keep the directors interested in a failed situation. If a guarantor stands to lose money under a guarantee they will help the lender collect in outstanding debts. It may mean they need to dig out a proof of delivery or a signed timesheet to help resolve a dispute.

Are personal guarantees called upon?

Rarely are personal guarantees called upon. Invoice finance lenders are lending against outstanding invoices and their calculation of prepayment relates to what they feel they will be able to collect out in a failed situation. On that basis the outstanding debt is repaid by collecting out what is owed by customers. This can be a troublesome process so the directors or guarantors help is often vital and as already stressed the guarantee is there to keep them interested in assisting.

In fairness banks and other lenders are becoming far less reliant on personal guarantees than they used to. Mostly due to reputational risk, especially where the family home is the main asset underpinning a guarantee.

So do I have to provide a guarantee?

In short no. There are lenders available who will provide funding without a personal guarantee.

Shop around or use a reputable broker such as Funding Solutions.

The permanent recruitment sector has historically been neglected by the invoice finance industry. There was a time when the industry would not finance perm recruitment companies.

So why was the perm recruitment industry neglected?

It was neglected because of the perceived risk involved in dealing with invoices that related to permanent placements. With temporary recruitment the rates are agreed, work is completed, timesheets are signed and invoices are raised. If the hours are multiplied by the agreed rates correctly there is very little that can be queried. In comparison, an invoice for a perm placement is raised when the candidate starts work and sometime before they have even started. What happens if the candidate does not show up on the first day? What happens if they walk out after their first week? What happens if the company finds they are not suitable and let’s the candidate go? Typically there are various rebates due depending on when they part company. As such there is no guarantee that invoices raised will be settled in full if at all.

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If you are looking to finance a recruitment business you are in luck as there are several options open to you especially if you are providing contractors or temps that complete time sheets. That said, if you are a permanent recruitment company there are also several options that are available to you.

If you are a recruitment company thatis paying wages weekly against signed time sheets there is a good chance your clients are only paying you monthly at best. Recruitment businesses or notoriously cash negative for this very reason and if you have a fast growing recruitment business this problem is only compounded.

So what finance solutions are available to you?

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Invoice discounting has often been reserved for larger, well established businesses and smaller businesses have been forced to accept invoice factoring.

The good news is that invoice discounting can be accessed by smaller businesses.

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We are often approached for finance by someone starting a new start recruitment business.

New start recruitment companies can range from an individual setting up on their own through to large organisations with ambitious recruitment plans and everything in between. Whatever the size of the business cash flow is key to ensure that contractors wages can be paid on a weekly basis. This is why finance is important.

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I am often amazed at how much disbursements cost factoring clients over and above the ‘headline’ charges. It is not uncommon for some clients to be paying more in disbursement charges than they do in service fee and discounting fee combined.

I was with a client yesterday where this was the case. When I spoke to them about the fees they were very upset about the ‘games’ the factoring company concerned were playing.

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Trade finance is a great product for importers of goods to the UK. When combined with an invoice factoring facility trade finance can help to finance the whole trade cycle. This means finance can be provided right the way from the confirmed order from your customer right the way through to your customer settling the invoice.

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