Although it can differ in other countries, in the UK confidential invoice discounting is an invoice funding method in which the business paying the debt is unaware of the factor’s presence in the process. Also known as C.I.D. it is a popular with well-established businesses across a variety of sectors.
Who Does It Benefit?
C.I.D. is suitable for business to business ventures that require access to future funds, in this case the value of unpaid invoices, as quickly as possible. It is essentially a cash flow solution that does not require the borrower to go into debt.
Not all invoice funding methods allow for confidentiality between your clients and the factor, which can cause problems of trust, particularly if you have built up a long standing relationship with your customer. This maintaining of control over much of your finances is beneficial to many who may feel uncomfortable relinquishing control in this area of the process.
Pros And Cons
While there are only a few differences between confidential invoice discounting and other invoice funding options, those that exist are significant. It is important to note, however, that what can be an advantage for some, will be a disadvantage for others. Fully comprehending what these are for your business requires some forethought and consideration.
As with all methods of invoice funding, C.I.D. is accessed by those that need to access income as soon as possible. Some invoices can take as much as several months to clear, considerably slowing down re-investment and inflating the costs of debts. Money can also be saved when accessing larger amounts of your income quickly by bulk buying stock. This can all be done without putting the business in debt.
As you are able to maintain control over the collection of your debts, you continue to deal with your clients on a more intimate level. Most businesses that have built up a degree of trust will therefore prefer not to have another entity in the way of the process as even the most careful and professional factors can appear difficult and unyielding. Your clients will remain unaware of the factors presence throughout.
Many businesses will also feel uncomfortable outsourcing sensitive parts of their business to another company and would prefer the factor has access to as little information as possible. For those businesses this is the preferred method of invoice financing.
As previously mentioned, what may be a benefit to some can be a hindrance to others. For example, maintaining control over the collection of debts may not be seen as an advantage for those that require a professional and efficient presentation to their clients. Studies have shown that invoices are paid quicker and more reliably when a factor is involved.
Confidential invoice discounting can also be difficult to obtain for new businesses, or those with a chequered credit history, as the factor will generally be far more comfortable taking control of collection of payments.
Lastly, although not the case for more reputable providers, there can be a number of hidden charges that you need to look out for when seeking an invoice factor, so research is recommended before committing to any contract. You should also be mindful not to become dependant on factoring of any type over the long term, as this can make the process inefficient and problematic.
As the financial crisis of 2008 gave rise to a boom in alternative funding providers, including invoice factors, there remains a huge amount of choices for those seeking funding in this way. Not all providers are the same, however, so you should have a firm grasp of what they require from you and, more importantly, what is you are seeking to obtain from them. Some of the most reputable include.
- Touch Financial
- Market Invoice
Working with multiple lenders across the UK, Touch provide expert advice and services for all types of invoice factoring, including their much lauded confidential discounting package. A minimum turnover of £100,000 is required, although they will listen to individual cases, and their bespoke service model means you can tailor the fees and level of funding to suit your needs.
One of the most efficient providers in the UK, Market Invoice provide funds to your account within 24 hours of presentation of the invoice. They are also one of the most accessible providers, with over 90% of all applicants accepted. Rates vary from between just 1% and 3% of the value of the invoice and fees are transparent and affordable.
Barclays were one of the few high street banks to design an invoice factoring package that was competitive and accessible when funding changed after the financial crisis. Tailored towards funding larger enterprises, the £1m annual turnover minimum makes them unsuitable for most small businesses, they also provide bad debt protection and funds in multiple currencies.