Invoice And Purchase Order Factoring

Factoring vs Invoice Discounting

Both factoring and invoice discounting can be described as ways to get immediate cash by selling accounts receivable to a third party, usually a finance company. In fact, the two methods are more similar than they are different.

Factoring, also referred to as asset securitization, is an outright sale of receivables to the finance company. The business gets cash and the finance company collects the debt, keeps the interest and gets a discount fee on top of that for its trouble. Invoice discounting can also be termed a sale of receivables, but in this case administration of the receivables and their collection does NOT change hands. The business that earned the income still holds that responsibility.

Here are some questions to consider in order to choose which method is best for your company:

1. Are you concerned with the cost of collections in your company? Are they getting out of hand? Is your collections area fully staffed with competent and reliable personnel? If you think your company would be better off reducing the amount of resources devoted to this function, factoring is the better choice for you, as a lot of it, but not all, can be offloaded to the finance company. If you already have a well-working collections department you might rather choose invoice discounting. That way your staff and procedures regarding collections remain in place.

2. Knowing that the finance company will undoubtedly treat your customers with the utmost courtesy, respect and professionalism, are you nevertheless concerned that he may prefer to be dealing directly with your company? Perhaps billing requests often come together with customer service requests. Your customer is generally not aware of the sale of his receivable to you with invoice discounting. Not only is he aware of a factoring arrangement, but also he is subject to confirmation calls on individual invoices by the finance company on occasion. If this is something you know would disturb your customers you may need to choose invoice discounting.

3. What are your current informational needs with regard to collections efforts and your customers? Do you currently collect this data and rely on it to make future credit decisions for this customer? Can the finance company provide it in the format and frequency you desire? If not, invoice discounting may be the right choice, so all your current data collection techniques will not be disturbed.

4. What are your cash requirements? With either factoring or invoice discounting, you are paying for the immediate cash. Doing the collections yourself at a normal rate would return you more actual cash. But invoice discounting returns you more cash than does factoring. This is, obviously, because the finance company takes on more responsibility and more duties with factoring than with invoice discounting.

5. How large a portfolio of unsecured receivables does your company hold? How diverse is it? Are there any single customers who hold more than 20% of the total receivables balance? Generally, companies using invoice discounting tend to be larger and have a more diverse portfolio. This could be why they chose invoice discounting, however, rather than a characteristic. They already have the collections efforts and data collections methods in place and the cost and difficulty involved in changing them might be prohibitive for a factoring arrangement. Diversity in the portfolio is something finance companies look for under both arrangements.

Making an honest assessment based on these factors will allow you to make the right choice for your company. You’ll soon be on the way to a healthy cash flow, no matter which you choose.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Factoring

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How Do You Factor Your Accounts Receivable?

So what exactly is accounts receivable factoring? Well very simply it is the process of obtaining funds by selling your company's accounts receivable. To go into a little more detail a company takes the outstanding invoices it is owed and sells them to a third party company called a factor. By doing this the company selling the invoices receives an up front payment on the invoices instead of waiting thirty or more days to be paid. When the invoice does come due the payment is sent to the factor instead of your company. Sounds great right? Well it's not all roses. If you're considering going this route you'll need to do your homework. If you don't you might pay a pretty hefty price.

Now depending on who you talk to accounts receivable factoring can be a great thing or it can feel like you are borrowing money from a loan shark. Each experience is different and some companies are on the up and up while others you won't want to touch with a ten foot pole.

So you can better understand the experience we'll walk you through what happens. Now assuming you've got a factor you're intending to work with we'll start from the point of the sale. You've just finished a large project for a customer. You issue your bill to them. The first thing the factor is going to want to see is someone's signature that shows they were satisfied with the work. But let's say you sold them a product that was delivered at the dock. A receiving clerk's signature is not going to cut it. You are going to need to get the signature of the person that authorized the purchase to begin with. They are going to need to sign the invoice and probably another document that verifies the purchase was legitimate and they plan to pay for it.

Next you are going to need to fax those documents to the factoring company. But you can't do this from your office because you might have forged those signatures. No they need to be faxed from the customer's office. And once the factoring company does receive the documents they may still want to call and verify the purchase. Now if the purchase was for a significant amount of money all this hassle may be worth the trouble but what if the purchase was for a few hundred bucks. Not worth the trouble you say? Well we have a problem with that too.

You see when you first sign up with a factoring company they want to know what companies you do business with. And which of those you want to have the invoices factored. This is because those companies that you decide are worth factoring have to be notified that this is going to be the case. And the factor will want to run a credit check on the company. Your customers will also be notified that they must now send their payments to the factoring company instead of you. This task also will be left up to you. The problem is that if you do not factor an invoice the company you are billing must still send its payment to the factoring company and not to you. This will actually cause that particular payment to take longer than necessary to reach you because it will go to the factor first and they have to release it to you.

Once your invoice has been submitted to the factor from your customer's location you need to check and make sure it was actually received and there are no problems with it. After the factor receives the invoice it should only take about twenty-four hours to be approved. Most factors have a cut off time each day to receive an invoice if you want to receive your money the next day.

After the factoring company has approved the invoice you will receive a wire transfer to your bank. From there the money is yours to do as you will. Many factoring companies want you to believe that using accounts receivable factoring is the perfect way to get the money you need to grow your business. The truth is that it is not suitable for many types of businesses. Your billing methods need to be very straight forward to help make factoring work. And it helps if you issue fewer invoices but for large amounts of money. Otherwise having to do all the leg work can take you away from what really matters. And that is focusing on your business.

Cash Miller is an experienced entrepreneur and speaker who has spent over a decade as a small business owner. His years in small business have provided experience in a variety of topics. If you are looking for more small business information you can go to

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Purchase Order Factoring - Short-Term Solution to Finance Large Purchase

The first aspect to acknowledge when seeking purchase order financing is that most factoring companies are very choosy when dealing with this type of financing. There is not a firm set of regulations to follow concerning invoice financing because each situation is very unique and has to be assessed as such. It is typically very difficult to find purchase order financing however, there are factoring companies out there that are willing to take that type of risk.

Purchase order factoring provides existing businesses with a financial solution to continue operating. However, it should be mentioned that these companies typically will only finance those businesses with a proven track record in their said industry. Turning purchase orders around into account receivables is a business solution that will free up working capital and extend finances to the business in a timely manner.

Purchase order factoring should be considered a short-term solution to finance a large purchase or to manufacture specific goods that are already sold. For example, if a company manufactures iron staircases and a popular building company has given a invoice to order a set number of them, factoring can come in extremely handy. It is unlikely that the manufacturer of the staircases has an over abundance of operating capital to purchase materials and manpower for all of these staircases. Most often, banks won't touch this type of financing so the feasible and low cost solution is to seek out a reputable purchase order company that can advance cash on that invoice.

When purchase order financing companies assess a specific invoice financing request, there are several determining factors that have to be understood. If the company that has issued the purchase order is not credit worthy, it is likely that the invoice factoring company will not lend assistance. Purchase order financing is a very risky business due to the nature of the business. The company is lending money on the premise that the company that has issued the invoice will pay for the goods or services. It is easy to see that any purchase order company would have to be very stringent with their rules surrounding this area in order to be successful. These companies are sticking their necks out to supply a potential customer with the funds required to fulfill their end of a invoice agreement. It is completely understandable that they would be picky and selective in choosing this set of clients.

In order to be considered to qualify for purchase order financing the business seeking financial help must have been in business for no less than a year. The type of transaction that is being considered for invoice factoring must be prominent in the business history and have at least a $100,000 transaction minimum. There are several issues that will depend on the type of industry the business is in and the credit history of the business and the customer.

Troy Degarnham is the author and webmaster of an informative website about Invoice Factoring.

Extensive help and tips on factoring companies, assets, small business, purchase order factoring, non recourse and other factoring financial services.

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Interim CFO said...

This is definitely one option to consider when trying to recoup accounts receivable. a lot of business owners forget that they have not really made as ale until they receive the cash. They need to remember, that cash is the lifeblood of any business. Without it, you are in big trouble.