Does your business need financing to grow or improve cash flow? If so, invoice factoring and accounts receivable financing may be options you’re exploring. A tremendous amount of information exists online, but the viewpoints often prove more confusing than helpful. Many financing and factoring companies use the terms factoring and accounts receivable financing interchangeably. In this post, we’ll address the similarities and differences of factoring and accounts receivable financing as we see it. For a quick overview, see the Financing Product Comparison table.
What is Invoice Factoring?
In a previous post, we define invoice factoring as a type of commercial finance that converts outstanding invoices into immediate cash. Factoring serves as a reliable alternative to a line of credit and helps businesses who:
- Face slow-paying customers
- Experience seasonality
- Want to grow and expand
- Want to launch as a start-up
How Invoice Factoring Works
In factoring, a business sells its invoices to a third party factor. The business can choose which invoices it wants to factor. The business presents a schedule (most often daily or weekly) to the factoring company detailing which invoices to factor. Then, the factoring company immediately advances a pre-determined percentage (typically 70-90%) of that total invoice value into the business’s checking account. Once the debtor pays the invoice under the payment terms, the factoring company pays out the remaining invoice amount less a small administrative fee. Thus, invoice factoring is an ideal financing solution for a business not wanting to wait 30,60 or 90 days for their receivables to roll in.
What is AR Financing?
Accounts receivable (AR) financing also uses outstanding invoices to fund growth. Like invoice factoring, AR financing serves as another alternative to a traditional line of credit and helps businesses who:
- Expect steady growth and expansion
- Experience seasonality
- May not be in a position for a traditional bank loan, but working towards it
How AR Financing Works
In accounts receivable financing, a business sells all of its invoices to establish a borrowing base. Similar to a traditional line of credit, the receivables line operates as a revolver. So, in AR financing the receivables are pooled.
Similar, Yet Different
Both invoice factoring and AR financing benefit businesses by providing funds in advance of collection. When cash flow timing matters most, both of these financing options quickly put money into the business. In addition, both offer professional credit services and receivables management.
The main difference between invoice factoring and AR financing lies in the underwriting criteria of the deal structures. While factoring offers greater flexibility, AR financing has more strictness around the credit profile. Consequently, AR financing typically offers preferred financing terms.
Answering Your Questions
Here at The Southern Bank, transparency defines our approach. If you’re like most of our customers, getting straight forward answers and understanding the detailed financial implications to your business are key factors in your financing decision. We explain and clarify along the way so you aren’t left wondering what you signed up for. Researching partners and need a question answered? Contact us and get your questions answered today.
Grey Idol is the head of digital marketing for altLINE. With over five years’ experience in small business operations, content creation and digital marketing, he helps businesses find the information they need to make informed decisions about invoice factoring and A/R financing. In his free time, Grey enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two dogs.