Cash flow shortages can happen to almost any business, but invoice factoring can provide a quick, easy solution. Invoice factoring involves the selling of your account receivables or invoices to secure immediate working capital.
Invoice factoring lets you unlock cash that’s tied up in your unpaid invoices. Obtaining cash this way can be an easy, effective tool to solve small or medium size businesses financial challenges. Invoice factoring might be right for your business if you lack adequate working capital to maintain your operations or expand to the next level. Perhaps you’ve considered other options like bank loans, lines of credit or credit cards. But if your company doesn’t have enough financial stability or business credit, invoice factoring could be the perfect alternative to bank financing.
Here’s why: Approval for invoice factoring doesn’t hinge on your company’s credit history. Instead, it depends on the creditworthiness of your customers. Companies that purchase invoices will evaluate your customers based on their stability and payment track record. The invoice factoring company’s main concern is determining how likely your customers will pay and how quickly.
Apart from your customers meeting qualifications, your invoices must also pass certain criteria. There can’t be any existing primary liens on your invoices, meaning no other company should have a claim on the payments once they arrive. This ensures that the company purchasing your invoices has a clear right to collect the funds in your place.
Just about any company that generates commercial invoices can take advantage of invoice factoring. But is invoice factoring right for your business? It could be if your business is struggling to make ends meet because of long billing cycles, you’re wasting time collecting down payments from slow paying clients, you’re unable to take advantage of business opportunities due to lack of funds, or your business isn’t financially strong enough to obtain traditional bank financing.
Advantages of Invoice Factoring Besides providing fast access to capital, invoice factoring offers a number of other important advantages. It gives you unlimited access to funds without adding liability to your balance sheet. Because invoice factoring isn’t a loan, there’s no debt or monthly payments involved. Plus, invoice factoring is a flexible arrangement because it doesn’t require any long-term contracts.
Additionally, invoice factoring makes it easier for you to offer credit terms to customers. This can help you increase your sales without negatively impacting your cash flow. Invoice factoring also can help you take advantage of the early payment discounts many vendors offer on bills within ten days. Ultimately, invoice factoring can help build business credit. The cash flow you create from invoice factoring can make it possible to pay your vendors on time and establish a stronger credit rating. And this can assist you with securing credit from other vendors and financial institutions.
Another significant benefit of invoice factoring is the professional debt collection service provided by the factoring company. The factoring company is equipped to handle debt collections professionally and efficiently, leaving your staff to focus on core activities such as creating more sales. In addition, this will reduce your costs associated with processing invoices and handling collections costs.
How Invoice Factoring Works Invoice factoring is a transaction in which you sell outstanding invoices for immediate cash, instead of waiting the typical 30 days for the invoices to be paid. You receive an up-front, lump-sum payment for your invoices that’s slightly less than face value. The advance payment which can be provided within as little as 24 hours is typically 70 to 90 percent of the total invoice value.
After the purchasing company receives full payment for the invoice, you’ll receive the remaining value minus a ‘factoring’ fee. This fee is based on a number of factors, including your customer’s credit worthiness, the average terms, and the invoice number and size. However, generally, the invoice factoring fee is up to five percent of the invoice value.
To give you an idea about how invoice factoring transactions work, here are some of the main steps in the process:
Step 1: You submit an application to an invoice factoring company.
Step 2: After you’re approved for invoice factoring with the company, you can start forwarding your customers’ invoices to the company for cash advances. (Your customer will receive a bill from the factoring company, which will be responsible for all payments processing activities related to the invoice.)
Step 3: Assuming everything checks out, you’ll be advanced up to 90 percent of the value of the purchased invoices.
Step 4: Your customers most likely submit payments to the company that bought their invoice. This company, in turn, will forward you the remaining, unpaid portion of the invoice excluding the invoice factoring fee, of course.
When choosing an invoice factoring partner, it’s important to select the right kind of company to work with you and your customers. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:
o What type of reputation and track record does the company have? When you turn over your customers, make sure they’re in good hands and that the factoring company is capable of providing the funding you need.
o How much is the invoice factoring company charging? Evaluate all the components of the price, including any fees, the interest rate and the portion of your invoice that is held back in ‘reserve’.
o What are you going to get for your money? Determine the company’s accounting, reporting and other capabilities.
o How will the invoice factoring company treat your clients? The company will have to communicate with your customers after they take over your invoices. You want to be sure the interaction that takes place is positive. If it isn’t, it may reflect negatively on your own relationship with these customers.
Invoice factoring is a powerful tool for companies needing to meet short-term cash flow needs.