For many small businesses, cash shortages can happen while waiting for invoices to be paid. Invoice financing helps you bridge temporary cash shortfalls with instant access to the funds you’re owed.
What Is Invoice Financing for Small Business?
Invoice financing for small business, also known as accounts receivable financing or invoice discounting, converts assets (invoices) into immediate cash. You receive the money you’re owed by your customers right away and pay fees only while the lender waits for your customers to pay off their debts.
In general, invoice financing companies advance businesses up to 80-90% of the accounts receivable value. Until the invoice is paid in full, companies will deduct an overall processing fee and a weekly factor from the reserved portion.
The remaining balance is then remitted to the borrower in the form of a rebate.
The financing company typically pays you in two installments:
An 80-90% advance of your invoice
The remaining 10-20% (minus fees) once the invoice is paid in full
The Difference Between Invoice Based Financing and Invoice Factoring
Both invoice financing and factoring involve a third-party lender. However, with invoice factoring, the third-party lender purchases your invoices, and assumes the responsibility for collecting payments.
While invoice financing can happen without customers’ direct knowledge, invoice factoring requires that customers pay the lender directly. The lender also communicates with the customers ahead of the payments. Invoice financing is the better option for a business owner who wants to maintain control of the payment collection and customer communications.
How Does Invoice Financing for Small Business Work?
Accounts receivable financing is based on a simple process: You select the invoices the lender will finance, and you’ll receive a percentage of the money owed. The lender will automatically deduct a fee each week you await full payment. Once the customer pays the bill, the lender will release the rest of your funds — minus the fees.
Let’s take a closer look at this process.
Select Invoices for Financing
You can increase your chances of qualifying for accounts receivable financing if you select invoices based on the following characteristics:
Newer invoices: These invoices are either new or have only recently gone past due (between 30-90 days).
Smaller invoices: Small invoices are less of a risk to lenders because the less a company owes, the more likely it is to pay.
Large, creditworthy companies: Unlike other small business loans, invoice financing companies assess the creditworthiness of your clients rather than your business. Knowing that, you should select invoices issued to established companies with strong annual revenues and histories of timely repayment.
Lender Advances Percentage of Invoice
Once approved, the invoice financing company issues you a percentage of the funded invoices, known as the advance rate. The amount of the advance depends on many factors, including the size of your transaction, your industry and other risk parameters.
Typically, you can expect to receive 80-90% of the financed accounts receivable value.
Eligibility for accounts receivable financing is primarily based on your customers’ creditworthiness. However, the health of your business is still relevant and it will influence both the advance you’re offered and the rates you’re assigned. For example:
If your revenue has been trending up for 6 months or more, you’ll be considered a stronger candidate and might be offered more favorable terms.
The more accounting history your invoice discounting provider has to review, the better your profile may look. This is especially important for businesses that operate in industries labeled risky by lenders (such as restaurants).
What happens when my customers pay their invoices?
It depends on your lender agreement. There’s typically no change in how your customers pay their invoices. They’ll remit payments to your business entity. You then make payment to your lending provider. However, with some providers, the amount you borrowed is automatically repaid when a customer pays the invoice directly to the lender.
Will my invoice financing provider contact my customers?
No, invoice financing doesn’t require the sale or assignment of your invoices to your provider as is the case in invoice factoring. You maintain control of customer communication, and customer relationships are unchanged.
How to Choose an Invoice Financing Company
An important first step is to research the invoice financing firm to make sure they’re reputable. Check out online reviews on sites such as Trustpilot. Visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to see the business’s rating and if any complaints have been lodged against the company. After you’ve narrowed down your choices, compare the companies’ terms. Make sure you can meet the stated financial requirements.
Additionally, consulting with a trusted advisor is an excellent way to find a reputable firm.
Applying for accounts receivable financing can be done through an online business lender such as Fast Capital 360.
You can apply in minutes and find the best accounts receivable financing company for your unique needs. You can be approved within hours and even receive funding as soon as the same day.