invoice finance - spot factoring

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What is spot factoring?

Spot factoring is a type of selective invoice finance that allows businesses to quickly access funds from specific invoices which have been raised to customers.

Rather than handing your entire sales ledger over to an invoice factoring provider, spot factoring allows businesses to choose individual invoices which they wish to advance, offering greater flexibility at competitive rates.

As a way for businesses to convert their accounts receivable (unpaid invoices) into immediate cash. In traditional factoring, a business sells its outstanding invoices to a third-party financial institution (a factor) at a discounted rate. The factor then takes on the responsibility of collecting payment from the customers.

Spot factoring, also known as single invoice factoring or spot invoice financing, is a more focused version of traditional factoring. Instead of committing to an ongoing relationship, a business can choose to factor individual invoices on a case-by-case basis. This gives businesses greater flexibility and control over which invoices they want to factor, allowing them to manage their cash flow in a more tailored manner.

How does spot factoring work?

Spot factoring is an easy way to access cash owed to you in invoices. Here’s how it works: 

  1.  Forward the raised invoice to both your customer and your spot factoring lender.
  2. The spot factoring provider will transfer a percentage of the invoice value to your business bank account. Many lenders now offer sales ledger management systems which can integrate directly into your existing accounting software, adding greater fluidity and accessibility throughout this process.
  3. The spot factoring provider will chase up the outstanding invoice on your behalf in a professional, friendly and courteous manner with the full payment made into a third party trust account for added transparency and security.
  4. You'll then be forwarded the remaining balance, minus fees and interest, leaving you free to advance additional invoices further down the line.

Advantages and disadvantages of spot factoring

Pros of spot factoring

  • Spot factoring provides an immediate injection of funds into your business. Instead of waiting for customers to pay their invoices, you can access a portion of the invoice amount upfront.
  • Spot factoring gives businesses the freedom to choose which invoices to factor. This flexibility allows you to address specific cash flow needs without being tied to a long-term arrangement.
  • Since you can select which invoices to factor, you can choose invoices from customers you believe will have a smooth and timely payment process. This helps maintain positive customer relations.
  • In spot factoring, you're not obligated to factor all your invoices. This means you can avoid factoring invoices from customers that have a history of late payments or other issues. This reduces the risk associated with non-payment or disputes.
  • Spot factoring is typically a straightforward and efficient process, this speed can be crucial when you need funds urgently.
  • With spot factoring, you're not locked into a prolonged relationship, giving you more freedom to adapt your financing strategy as your business evolves.

Cons of spot factoring

  • Spot factoring typically involves higher fees compared to invoice factoring where multiple invoices are factored. 
  •  Spot factoring focuses on individual invoices, which means you're limited to the invoices you choose to factor. This lack of flexibility can be a drawback if you need consistent and ongoing financing for your business operations.
  • When you use spot factoring, you give control over the collection process to the invoice factoring provider,  which could impact your relationship with that customer.
  • While spot factoring provides quick access to cash, the cumulative fees over time could become more expensive than other financing options, such as a long term business loan.

Why use spot factoring?

Flexible Funding

Spot factoring gives you the freedom to choose which of your invoices you'd like to advance. Whether you need to draw from a smaller invoice to tide you over in the short term or a larger payment to help fund your next big project, you'll be able to manage your cash flow with pinpoint accuracy.

Fast Payouts

Spot factoring can be a very quick process. Once the factoring company approves the invoice, you can receive funds within a short period, often a matter of days.

Industry Expertise

Spot factoring companies often specialise in working with businesses from specific industries such as construction, recruitment, automotive, import/export, manufacturing and more. We'll match your business with lenders who have a proven track record in successfully delivering spot factoring to your sector, giving you the peace of mind that comes when working alongside an experienced industry expert.

Outsource credit control

Spot factoring companies offer credit control and sales ledger management as part of their financing package. Rather than having to chase up invoice payments and credit check your latest clients, these lenders will take over these time consuming tasks, leaving you to focus on what matters most.

Who is spot factoring for?

Spot factoring is only suitable for companies that raise invoices to other businesses, so might not be suitable for companies that operate as business-to-consumer, such as  ecommerce, retail, or merchant businesses. 

You might opt for spot factoring if there are large disparities between the value of the invoices you’re raising, or if only some of your customers have long payment days. 

It is particularly useful for businesses that experience fluctuations in cash flow due to delayed payments from customers.

Spot factoring is great for both large and small businesses as it offers far greater control over your cash flow, helping you to quickly access funds that can be used for stock purchases, staff wages, marketing, advertising, or just about any other business purpose.

frequently asked questions about spot factoring

Yes, your customer will be informed when you use spot factoring. As part of the process, the spot factoring company often contacts the customer to provide payment instructions. This transparency helps ensure a smooth payment collection process.

Yes, one of the key advantages of spot factoring is that you have the flexibility to select specific invoices to factor. This allows you to manage your cash flow strategically and address urgent financial needs.

Most businesses that operate on a business-to-business (B2B) model can use spot factoring, provided they have outstanding invoices from creditworthy customers. However, eligibility and terms may vary depending on the spot factoring company's criteria.

If the customer fails to pay the invoice, the factoring company may either request repayment from the business or assume the risk, depending on the type of factoring agreement. Non-recourse spot factoring means the factoring company assumes the risk of non-payment, while recourse spot factoring means the business is responsible for repaying the advanced funds if the customer doesn't pay.