Invoice factoring is a type of debtor financing where a company sells its accounts receivable to a third party, or factoring company, to obtain immediate cash. This process, also called accounts receivable financing or receivable factoring, provides a company with working capital so that it can meet its operating expenses and grow business operations.
It’s Not a Bank Loan
Your company’s accounts receivable are used as a type of collateral to get the financing you need, however, factor invoicing is not a loan. In essence, the money owed to your company is sold to the third party factoring company. You receive financing based on how much your customers owe you along with their credit history.
- Immediate cash
- Good for companies that may not qualify for traditional lending
- No increase in debt
- Increases cash flow, particularly when customers are slow to pay
The Factoring Process
As a businessperson, you’ll have little work to do when you give your invoices over to factoring. After you sign an agreement with a factor, you serve your customers as usual and complete the invoicing process, listing terms of 30 to 90 days, once you have provided the goods or services. Instead of ending the invoice to your client, you send it to the factor, who in turn, notifies your client where to send payment. After verification, the factoring company deposits an advance that can be as much as 90 percent of the invoice directly into your business bank account. When the customer pays the invoice to the factoring company, you receive the remaining money minus a small amount that the factor takes as its fee.
Invoice Factoring Agreement
Here are the typical parts of a factoring agreement that you can expect when you sign a contract.
Your term varies on your needs. Typical contracts can last three months, six months or even for a number of years. Monthly contracts may also be available. Make sure that you read the contract prior to signing it.
Most contracts will make you commit to a minimum volume of invoices to submit.
Most factoring companies will send advances of 70 percent and upward of the invoice amount. The exact amount that you receive is based on a number of variables that include your customers’ pay trends, creditworthiness and volume.
These can also vary and are affected by factors such as the size of your invoices, your industry, volume, customer pay trends and more. You may experience a flat fee or you may also incur charges for administrative and support services provided by the factoring company. Read the fine print of your contract to becomes knowledgeable of what fees you could possibly incur.
How Invoice Factoring is Different Than Loans and Lines of Credit
Approaching a bank or similar lending institution and getting funds is not as easy as some think. For one, you can spend months in the application process before you receive your funds. Secondly, obtaining a traditional loan or line of credit will increase your debt. If you have less-than-perfect credit, you can be easily refused as traditional lending institutions use your credit history as one of the requirements. You’ll also be subject to a limit on how much you can borrow. Invoice factoring works differently as it is based on your customer’s credit, not your personal or business history.
Invoice Factoring Company Types
Choosing the right factoring company makes for a successful relationship that will help expand your business. your chosen company should meet your cash requirements and also be able to offer added value services.
Specialist or Generalist?
Invoice factoring is a common practice in a number of industries. Generalists have clientele spread over a number of different industries. These firms usually cater to smaller companies. Specialists usually finance invoice for a single industry or may only take invoices from a handful of industries.
Recourse or Non-recourse?
Make sure you know the difference between these two categories before selecting a company. Recourse factoring is more common a the company has the right to sell the invoices back to you if payment isn’t made within a certain time frame. Non-recourse companies are not as common, although you will find a handful that advertise themselves as such. Factoring companies that are true non-recourse operations will take on all credit risks for the invoices you sell to them. These companies generally charge much higher fees and have more stringent credit reviews that their counterparts.