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Confidential invoice discounting is the ideal invoice finance product for businesses that want to do their own credit control and do not want their customers to know that invoices are being funded. Confidential invoice discounting provides businesses with working capital and will prepay up to 90% of the gross invoice value.

Confidential invoice discounting can however be very hard to come by due to the criteria invoice finance companies put in place.

Lenders look beyond the basic invoice finance criteria of selling to other businesses on credit terms and invoicing in arrears of delivery. Lenders will look more carefully at a businesses financial performance and they expect a robust balance sheet. Equally important are the processes that a business employs to collect in outstanding invoices.

 

Recruitment Finance is a new site that has been launched by the Cash Flow Solutions group.

While it is still under development it will provide an in depth guide on what facilities are available for recruitment companies.

Recruitment companies typically access recruitment finance to allow them to pay wages of their temps. This can take the form of a simple invoice discounting facility, a factoring facility with the added benefit of a credit control service or a full back office solution that provides a full back office service.

For many businesses invoices discounting provides the cash that is needed to ensure that their business can survive. Without the necessary cash they cannot pay employees or suppliers. Customer payment patterns can be erratic and can cause cash flow issues and headaches.

Invoice discounting is typically the cheaper of the invoice finance facilities available to businesses. It can also be confidential meaning your customers are unaware of any lenders involvement.

In terms of qualifying for invoice discounting¬†it really rests on processes rather than financial performance. Don’t get me wrong financial performance is important but without the right processes in place you will not qualify for invoice discounting no matter how profitable you may be.

There are 2 main process that will be looked at. Your invoicing process will be interogated. It is important that a good audit trail exists and that invoices are raised in arrears of delivery.

Your credit control process or procedure is also important to demonstrate that debts are collected methodically and professionally rather than not at all or on an ad hoc basis when you have time.

If your invoicing process is not right it is unlikely any type of invoice finance facility will be made available. If your credit control procedures are not adequate it is likely a factoring facility would be offered rather than an invoice discounting facility.

Asset refinance is typically the re-financing of equipent or vehicles already owned by a company.

This can be done to inject cash into the business when the assets are unencumbered. In this instance there will be an initial injection of cash into the business but equally there will be additional monthly repayments that will need to be met.

Alternatively assets can be refinanced to reduce the monthly repayments on an existing finance agreement. This can be done by spreading the repayments over a longer term. Typically this will be done to reduce monthly repayments and as such it has a positive impact on cash flow.

The assets that are suitable for refinance are what we terms hard assets. These are durable, identifiable assets that can easily be valued and readily sold. Suitable assets include vehicles, printing presses, earth moving plant, etc.

Import finance is used to facilitate the import of goods and their subsequent sale.

We typically use a combination of trade finance and invoice factoring to structure a finance facility that funds the entire trade cycle.

On the back of a confirmed order we can provide a finance facility that will pay your supplier and will finance the transaction right up to your customer settling your invoice.

Invoice finance quotes can differ dramatically.

They can differ in different ways and for different reasons and it is important to compare like with like. We have touched on this elsewhere on this forum and this article is worth a read – http://www.invoicefactoringforum.com/invoice-factoring-quotes-comparison/

However, when considering any invoice finance quote is is important to understand the following:

  • what service is actually being offered. Please remember that a full factoring offer that includes a credit control service and bad debt protection will cost less than a finance only facility.
  • have you considered total costs? different companies charge different fees beyond the headline rates of the service fee and the discounting fee. Some service fees are all inclusive while other companies charge for nearly everything on top of the service fee.
  • What is the quality of the service? Remember you get what you pay for.
  • Is the structure of the facility right for your company? If not then no matter how cheap it is you are wasting your money.

I feel it is important to find the right structure and then properly evaluate total costs to allow a genuine comparison.

 

Trade finance can be a valuable source of finance that can facilitate international trade. We typically use trade finance along side an invoice finance facility to assist importers.

If an importer has a confirmed order from a credit worthy customer we can provide a letter of credit to a supplier guaranteeing payment. They can then ship the goods. Once received the supplier is paid by the LC. The goods are delivered and an invoice is raised. An invoice finance facility can finance the invoice which repays the trade finance facility. When the customer pays the invoice finance facility is repaid.

The whole transaction from start to finish is financed. This allows small businesses to accept large orders they would otherwise have to turn down because of lack of working capital.

I see a lot of clients who insist from the outset that they want an invoice discounting facility but most of them don’t actually know why.

Invoice discounting is available and importantly it is more readilily available than it used to be. However, factoring is the easier facility to obtain is it represents lower risk to the lender.

So what can invoice discounting offer?

Confidentiality – yes invoice discounting can be confidential but some companies insist on a disclosed facility. Factoring, however, can also be a confidential facility or a disclosed facility.

Control – some companies prefer to keep the credit control in-house rather than outsourcing to a factoring company. So invoice discounting allows a business to maintain control over the credit control function. However, so does a CHOCS facility which is a type of factoring facility.

Cost – many feel that invoice discounting is cheaper. Certainly for larger businesses I would agree. However, at lower levels of turnover there is probably not a lot in it.

Rather than deciding that invoice discounting is what you want I think it is important to consider the structure of your facility, the characteristics you want and then the costs of such a facility.

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