If your business has revenue tied up in unpaid invoices and struggles with short term cashflow concerns, you can advance cash from your unpaid invoices using invoice finance.
With clients taking up to 90-days to pay their debts, invoice finance is a good way to ensure you have enough cash to pay suppliers and invest in growing your business.
When you issue an invoice that has payment terms, rather than pre-payment or cash on delivery, those funds are then held by your customer for a preset number of days (30 days is most common, but others include 14 days, 60 days and 90 days). This means that you have already spent money to provide the goods or services, but won't get anything back until the term is completed (and if your client pays on time).
Invoice finance solves this problem by giving you cash advances based on the outstanding invoices in your debtor book. You can choose which eligible invoices you would like to fund and how long you would like to fund them for, and once approved the funds are then paid into your nominated bank account.
When the customer is ready to pay for the outstanding invoice, the amount is paid into a special "trust account" that is set up by the invoice finance provider. They will then transfer the remaining balance of the invoice, minus any fees back to your bank account.
The four main types of invoice finance, these are factoring, discounting and single invoice finance (sometimes known as selective invoice finance or spot factoring) and full invoice finance (also known as whole or full book invoice finance).
Invoice factoring is where a lender effectively buys an invoice from your business. Once the invoice has been factored, it is up to the lender to collect payment from your customers. Customers will be made aware when you use invoice factoring, because they will have direct communication with your lender.
Invoice discounting is similar to factoring, but it’s up to you as a business to chase your customers for payment. If you don’t want your customers to know that you are using invoice finance, invoice discounting could be the best option for you.
With traditional invoice factoring and discounting, a lender will require you to finance your full sales ledger for a set amount of time. With single invoice finance, you can select which invoices you want to finance on a case-by-case basis with no long-term commitment.
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In addition to each of the features of Satago's invoice finance above, all of the invoice finance solutions from Satago come with:
A digital agency has more work than the current staff members can handle.
The agency owner has just won an important new contract and knows she needs to invest in extra staff and equipment to complete the job.
But with clients taking up to three months to pay their invoices, she doesn’t have the funds to cover the costs.
The owner decides to finance an invoice worth £10,000 using a single invoice finance facility.
She receives an advance of 85% at an interest rate of 2% per month. She uses the £8,500 to buy equipment for a newly hired digital designer who will work on the new contract.
At the end of the month, her client pays her the £10,000 she is owed, she repays the lender £8,500 plus the £170 interest fee and keeps the remaining £1,330.
In this case, the agency owner was able to use single invoice finance to fund new business and scale her company.
There is always a slim chance that your customers will become insolvent and unable to pay their bills, leading to bad debt (debt that is written off).
If, despite credit checks, you have concerns about running into bad debt, you can choose to take out bad debt protection as part of your invoice finance facility.
With bad debt protection, you will get paid even if your customer becomes insolvent, limiting the risk to you.
Before proceeding with invoice finance, it’s a good idea to run credit checks on your customers to ensure there is little risk of them paying you late (or not paying at all).
A lender will also run checks and approve your invoices based on their own criteria. Once a lender has approved an invoice for finance, they will advance you a percentage of its value (usually between 70 - 85%). You will receive the money in the bank and can use it to cover cashflow gaps or fund a new project.
Lenders will charge interest on the amount advanced then, once your client pays their invoice, the lender will collect the money owed to them plus the interest fees and you will keep the remainder.
Choosing to take on finance can feel like a big step for some businesses. But, done correctly, it can become an important part of your cashflow management.
If you’re looking for a one-off cash injection to cover an unexpected bill or fund a new project, single invoice finance provides a fast and flexible solution and won't necessarily require a personal guarantee or debenture.
If you’d like to learn more about invoice finance and Satago’s other cash management solutions, you can click here to book a demo with our team.