What is Accounts Receivable Financing?

Invoice factoring and accounts receivable financing may provide small businesses with much-needed cash flow when funds are short.

What is Accounts Receivable Financing?

accounts receivable financing

For many small business owners, dealing with a mounting pile of unpaid invoices is an unfortunate reality that can stifle growth. Accounts receivable financing offers a practical solution for improving your company’s cash flow if you’re in this challenging financial situation.

What Is Accounts Receivable Financing?

Accounts receivable financing, also known as invoice financing, is a type of financing option that allows you to access funds on your outstanding invoices.

An account receivable financing company will provide you with capital up to 100% of your total outstanding invoice value in exchange for a fee.

In other words, accounts receivable (AR) financing can help small business owners get paid early for their outstanding invoices in return for a fee.

Accounts receivable financing should not be confused with invoice factoring. You sell unpaid invoices for a discounted price in invoice factoring, and the invoice factoring company takes full ownership of unpaid invoices and collecting payments.

accounts receivable financing

How Does Accounts Receivable Financing Work?

Here is how accounts receivable financing works:

  • Your customers owe you $13000
  • You reach out to an account receivable financing company with your application, invoice details, and other documents
  • The company will review your accounts receivable financing application and fund you $9100 (70% of your account receivable). The funding amount may depend on various factors, such as your industry type, personal and business credit score, etc.
  • You will pay a weekly fee to the company until your customers clear their dues

In accounts receivable financing arrangement, your customers pay directly to your accounts receivable company. And the company pays you the remaining balance after deducting its fee and other applicable charges mentioned in the accounts receivable financing agreement.

Put simply, accounts receivable financing is a type of business loan for which your outstanding invoices work as collateral.

Accounts Receivable Financing Benefits

Here are the key benefits of accounts receivable loans over getting loans from traditional lenders:

  • Quick and easy application process
  • No collateral is required
  • Minimum paperwork
  • Flexibility to choose the amount of capital based on your company’s unpaid invoices

Approval of accounts receivable financing often depends on your customers’ credit history. So, businesses with poor credit can also qualify for accounts receivable financing.

accounts receivable financing

Accounts Receivable Financing Costs

The landscape of accounts receivable financing costs varies greatly from one company to another. Typically, these costs can be categorized into two main types: the service fee and the interest rate.

In some instances, businesses also impose charges for invoice validation.

Given this wide spectrum, seeking quotes from multiple companies is advisable, enabling the selection of the most economically viable option for your specific situation.

Is Accounts Receivable Financing Right for Your Small Business?

For small businesses, accounts receivable financing, also known as invoice financing, serves as a potential catalyst for bolstering cash flow, expanding the workforce, acquiring new equipment, building financial reserves, and enhancing overall fiscal well-being.

However, determining its appropriateness for your small business hinges on aligning its benefits with your financial needs and growth aspirations.

Here are the critical questions to ask before applying for an accounts receivable loan:

  • Do you need capital immediately to meet seasonal demands?
  • Are you facing cash flow problems due to a stack of unpaid invoices?
  • Is cash advance cost higher than the expense of accounts receivable financing?
  • Are you not able to pay day-to-day business expenses?

You must understand that accounts receivable financing may be costlier than any other type of business loan. So, before applying for an accounts receivable loan, you should first check all available financing options, such as business credit cards, traditional bank loans, and microloans.

Also, you should read these 11 ways to better manage your accounts payables and accounts receivables to improve cash flow in your business.

small business accounts receivable financing

Top Accounts Receivable Financing Companies

Here are the top accounts receivable financing companies to consider:

1. 1st Commercial Credit

1st Commercial Credit is a leading invoice financing and factoring company. Having funded 3400+ clients, 1st Commercial Credit offers a wide range of financing solutions to help small businesses improve cash flow and have financial protection in tough times.

You can set up your account for accounts receivable financing in 3 to 5 days. The company charges financing fees of 0.69% to 1.59%

2. Pipe

If you are running a SaaS company, Pipe can be your ideal choice for accessing working capital. It offers a one-click, instant payout. The company will help you turn your recurring revenue into upfront capital.

3. FundThrough

If you use a QuickBooks Online account in your business, FundThrough can be one of the best invoice financing options. Its express invoice financing allows you to have capital the next business day.

Moreover, you can get 100% of your invoice amount as funding. And the process is entirely online.FundThrough is well-suited for funding up to $15,000

4. Lendio

Lendio offers a wide range of loans to business owners, including SBA loans, business lines of credit, merchant cash advances, and much more. With Lendio, you can get capital up to 90% of accounts receivables.

5. PayPlant

If you’re an Illinois state vendor, PayPlant can be your ideal partner for invoice financing. The company offers rates as low as 1.2% per month for businesses and app developers. And there is no cost or fee for Illinois state vendors.

6. Crestmark

Crestmark specializes in offering diverse financial solutions for businesses. The company claims to disburse money to eligible borrowers within one business day. With Crestmark, you can get money up to 90% of eligible invoices.

7. TCI Business Capital

TCI Business Capital is a well-known name in the market, offering month-to-month financing programs ranging from $50,000 to $7 million. The company serves the trucking, manufacturing, oilfield services companies, and much more.

Working with TCI Business Capital can help you receive same-day funding on your outstanding invoices.

8. altLine

altLine is one of the leading invoice financing and factoring companies. The company claims to offer easy approval for its lending options. Being a bank, altLine can reduce borrowing costs.

accounts receivable financing

Comparing Financing Options for Your Business

This comparison table will help you quickly understand the differences between accounts receivable financing, invoice factoring, and traditional loans.

Evaluate each option based on factors like approval speed, cost, and collateral requirements to make an informed decision for your business financing needs.

Financing OptionCollateral RequiredCost (Interest/Service Fee)Credit Score ImpactOwnership of Invoices
Accounts Receivable FinancingOutstanding InvoicesService FeeMinimalYou retain ownership
Invoice FactoringOutstanding InvoicesDiscounted PriceMinimalTransferred to Factoring Company
Business Credit CardsNoneInterest Rate + FeesSignificantN/A
Traditional LoansVaried (May require assets)Interest RateSignificantN/A

accounts receivable financing

What are Examples of Accounts Receivable?

To comprehend the nuances of accounts receivable, let’s delve into three illustrative scenarios.

  • In the first instance, envision a customer entering a transaction, securing goods worth $12,000. A $7,000 upfront payment is made, with an agreement to settle the remaining sum within 30 days. This dynamic yields an accounts receivable entry of $5,000 on your balance sheet.
  • In the second example, consider a wholesale deal amounting to $15,000. A buyer initiates payment by remitting $8,000 upfront, committing to fulfill the remainder within 45 days. This transaction results in a recorded accounts receivable of $7,000, representing an impending financial transaction.
  • Shifting to a service-oriented context, the third example involves a client seeking $3,500 in consultation services. An initial payment of $1,000 is made, and the outstanding balance is scheduled for settlement within 60 days. This configures an accounts receivable of $2,500, highlighting the pending payment for services rendered.

These real-world scenarios spotlight the diverse applications of accounts receivable in various business landscapes.

What Are the Common Forms of Receivable Financing?

The common forms of receivables financing are invoice financing and invoice factoring. Invoice Navigating the landscape of receivables financing unveils two common pathways: invoice financing and invoice factoring.

The former, often referred to as accounts receivable financing, empowers businesses to harness untapped potential by leveraging unpaid invoices, obtaining working capital in exchange for a predetermined fee.

On the flip side, invoice factoring entails relinquishing outstanding invoices at a discounted rate, facilitating immediate cash flow infusion—providing businesses with agile financial solutions.

Exploring Different Financing Models

Accounts Receivable Financing offers a viable route for small businesses needing immediate cash flow, but it’s important to explore various financing models to determine the most suitable for your specific needs.

Besides traditional bank loans and business credit cards, consider exploring government-backed loans, microloans, and crowdfunding options. Each of these models comes with its own set of advantages, interest rates, and repayment terms.

For instance, government loans often have more favorable terms for small businesses, while crowdfunding can be an excellent way to raise capital without taking on debt.

Comparing these options against the costs and flexibility of Accounts Receivable Financing can help you make an informed decision.

Building a Strong Financial Foundation

Before diving into Accounts Receivable Financing, it’s crucial for small business owners to establish a robust financial foundation. This includes maintaining accurate financial records, understanding your cash flow patterns, and managing your accounts payables efficiently.

Implementing good financial practices, such as timely invoicing, following up on overdue payments, and keeping a close eye on expenses, can significantly improve your financial stability.

This not only makes you a more attractive candidate for financing options but also enhances your ability to manage the added responsibility of a loan or advance against your receivables.

Assessing the Impact on Customer Relationships

While Accounts Receivable Financing can provide quick access to capital, it’s important to consider its impact on your customer relationships.

Since the financing company might interact directly with your customers for payment collection, ensure that their methods align with your business values and customer service standards. Choosing a reputable financing company that treats your customers with respect and professionalism is key.

Maintaining open communication with your customers about the financing arrangement can also help in preserving trust and transparency in your business relationships.

Evaluating Long-Term Business Goals

When considering Accounts Receivable Financing, align it with your long-term business goals and growth strategy. If your primary objective is to bridge a temporary cash flow gap or finance a short-term project, this financing might be ideal.

However, if you’re looking for funds to support long-term growth or major expansions, other financing options like long-term loans or equity financing might be more suitable. It’s essential to align your financing choice with your business’s growth trajectory and future financial needs.

Regular Financial Review and Adjustment

After opting for Accounts Receivable Financing, conduct regular financial reviews to assess its impact on your business. Monitor how this financing is affecting your cash flow, profit margins, and overall financial health.

Be prepared to adjust your financial strategy if needed. For instance, if you find that the costs associated with the financing are higher than anticipated, explore ways to reduce expenses or consider alternative financing options.

Regular financial check-ins ensure that your business remains on a healthy financial path and can adapt to changing circumstances.

Final Thoughts…

Having immersed yourself in the intricacies of accounts receivable financing, the time is ripe to transition to the realm of securing a small business loan. As the next step, arming yourself with an array of essential documents is imperative.

Embarking on this documentation journey can be seamless with a comprehensive guide delineating the precise requirements for small business loan applications.

By thoroughly exploring different financing models, building a strong financial foundation, assessing the impact on customer relationships, aligning with long-term goals, and regularly reviewing financial health, small businesses can effectively leverage Accounts Receivable Financing to their advantage.


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This article, "What is Accounts Receivable Financing?" was first published on Small Business Trends