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Pitfalls

Factoring agreements are typically for 12 month periods with either a 3 month or 6 month notice period.

However, there are companies offering factoring with no minimum contract.

You could opt for a trial period, a rolling 28 contract or a rolling 3 month contract. Smart Factoring Quotes can help you access all these types of agreements.We will also explain in full the fee structure so you have a full understanding of what you will be paying.

We understand the invoice factoring market and all that it can offer. We also understand the frustrations that businesses face when looking to set up these agreements. We understand how to get you the invoice finance facility that you want.

As an invoice finance broker I speak with a lot of businesses who are looking for cash flow solutions for their businesses.

It would be fair to say that their is a real mixed reaction towards invoice finance and especially factoring. A lot of this relates to the perception that factoring is a last resort and I would argue that this is certainly no longer the case.

However, having read various posts on several forums their seem to be some common complaints about factoring companies. These include hidden costs, actual prepayment not been as high as quoted headline rate, reserves and retentions, lengthy contract periods and poor service levels. Unfortunately in a lot of cases I feel that this business owners do have a valid case.

Another area that received a lot of publicity on the FSB forums is the hefty collect out fees and early termination fees that can be levied by lenders. These can often be totally out of sync with the work load required to collect in any outstanding debts and many view these charges as opportunistic.

If you have any valid complaints and you wish to air these experiences we will accept posts on this forum – please use the comment box below. However, we will not allow “witch hunts” so please do not name individuals and please try to stick to the facts.

If you are looking to invoice discount it is worth considering your options very carefully. Different invoice discounting companies operate in very different manners. Depending on how your business operates it could make a huge difference to the amount of working capital your facility generates and also how much the finance costs.

Let’s take a quick look at these 2 areas and see what can happen:

What can impact on costs when invoice discounting?

  • some companies operate a simple charging structure with just a service fee and a discounting fee. Other companies will charge for a variety of additional costs that are not always transparent. Additional fees can include set up fees, arrangement fees, audit fees, renewal fees, minimum service fees, minimum base rate and a whole list of other disbursements. I have been approached by some businesses where the disbursements were more than the main service fee. In effect this was more than doubling their expected costs.

What impacts on cash generated when invoice discounting?

  • beyond the obvious prepayment percentage are various variable that can impact on the amount of cash a facility generates
  • these include the overall facility limit, individual debtor limits, concentration limit, what invoices can be notified, the recourse period, etc..

Elsewhere on the forum I have gone into more detail but I just want readers to be aware that they should be looking beyond headline rates on both pricing and prepayment. It is imperative that any invoice discounting facility is set up properly and for that you need expert independent advice.

Invoice Discounting Newcastle – at Smart Factoring quotes we offer independent and impartial advice from our office in Ryton Village just outside Newcastle.

We were recently approached by a well known local fish wholesaler who was unhappy with their existing invoice finance provider. They had recently entered into an agreement with an invoice discounting company who after taking them on had moved the goalposts considerably. They had dropped the prepayment level and had also dramatically reduced the limit on the facility.

This was having a severe impact on our client the fish wholesaler in Newcastle.

e managed to source a new provider who was committed to providing a higher prepayment level and also a higher facility limit on a confidential invoice discounting facility. At the same time we managed to reduce their costs by 23%.

If you take out an invoice finance facility and the prepayment is 80% you may well think that you will receive 80% of the total ledger. In theory that should be the case if the facility is set up properly. The key is to understand what your eligible debt is. Let’s look at areas that could reduce your eligible debt:

Concentration Limits – I have already touched on this in a previous post about concentration limits so will not go into too much detail. However, any debt that falls outside the concentration limit will not be eligible for funding and as such can reduce the eligible debt dramatically.

Recourse Period – If you have a recourse period of 90 days any debt that is over 90 days old will not be eligible for funding. If you have a £100,000 ledger but £20,000 is over 90 days old then the eligible ledger is only £80,000. This is what the prepayment level will be applied to.

Debtor limits – If you have 10 debtors of £10,000 you will have a ledger of £100,000. If you had an individual limit of £5,000 for each of those debtors the total eligible debt would only be £50,000 and with an 80% prepayment applied this would generate funding of £40,000. By trading over agreed credit limits you will in effect reduce the actual prepayment level.

It is imperative you set up a factoring facility that can accommodate the unique features of your own ledger. Ensure that the debtor limits and concentration limits are what your require. Shop around! Also ensure that you understand the recourse period and the effects it has on your funding and costs. Work hard to ensure debts are collected within the recourse period.

A concentration limit indicates how much debt an invoice finance funder will allow with a single debtor. By way of an example if your concentration limit is 30% and your total ledger is £100,000 then the lender will only consider £30,000 of funding with any single debtor. Supposing you had £50,000 of debt with your largest debtor then only £30,000 would be considered as eligible debt. This would reduce the total eligible debt to £80,000 so if your prepayment was 85% the funding generated would be £68,000.

It is important to understand the impact of a concentration limit on your funding. In the example above although you as a business have an 85% prepayment level the impact of the concentration limit has reduced the actual prepayment level to just 68%.

Concentration limits will not be an issue for many businesses who have a good spread of customers. However, if you feel that one customer could account for 20% of the money owed to you at any one time it is important to consider the concentration limit. Some lenders impose a rigid 20% concentration limit while others will offer a concentration limit as high as 100% meaning they will finance a single debtor. Be honest with yourself and try to envisage what may happen in the future.

North East Factoring

As a business owner in the North East factoring could provide your business with the cash flow solution it needs to grow and prosper. It is no secret that businesses are taking longer and longer to pay their invoices and as such many business owners have cash tied up in their debtor book. Factoring could be the answer to your cash flow problems but it is important to understand all costs and risks.

Smart Factoring Quotes has an office based in Ryton, Newcastle and works with local businesses to explain not only the benefits of invoice finance but also the costs and risks involved. You can contact us for impartial advice. We are happy to answer any questions and we are totally independent to you can rest assured our advice is impartial.

We don’t believe in the hard sell approach and our aim is to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. This means a balanced approach in explaining the downside of factoring such as the costs and the risks you take in providing security such as personal guarantees and indemnities. Until you fully understand the benefits and the associated costs and risks of any finance facility how can you make a decision?

 

Non recourse factoring seems to cause some confusion and I must admit it has caused me to raise my eyebrow on occasion.

A true non recourse facility means that once a debt is notified and you are within the credit limit set by the lender you have nothing to worry about. If it goes past the agreed ‘recourse period’ the debt is settled by the lender.

However, some lenders offer credit protection/bad debt protection/ credit insurance alongside their finance products but this is not true non recourse. Any bad debts rely on you as the client making a claim. During the settlement period the debt in effect could be recoursed back to as far as funding is concerned. Alternatively the lender may continue to finance that particular debt at the clients expense.

If non recourse factoring is what you are looking for it is important to ensure you understand how any bad debt must be claimed for but also how it will effect your funding.

If you want to know more please contact Smart Factoring Quotes.