What is Accounts Receivable Financing?

Optimal cash flow is crucial for business success, and accounts receivable financing offers a potent solution.

Apr 23, 2024

Accounts Receivable Financing

This financing method allows businesses to access immediate capital by using their outstanding invoices as collateral, selling them to a lender for instant cash at a discounted rate.

Accounts receivable financing swiftly converts outstanding invoices into cash, effectively addressing cash flow challenges. Businesses typically receive funding equivalent to a percentage of their invoice value, providing the liquidity necessary to cover expenses, fuel growth, or overcome financial obstacles.

In this article, we examine accounts receivable financing, its benefits, considerations, and how it can be utilised to optimise cash management effectively.

How Does Accounts Receivable Financing Work?

This is how the procedure of accounts receivable financing appears:

  1. Accounts receivable financing starts with a company issuing customer invoices for goods or services. Then, the business can choose to sell these invoices to a financial institution, known as the factor or lender.
  2. The business sends the invoices to the factor, who assesses them based on factors like customer creditworthiness and total owed amount.
  3. Once approved, the factor provides the business with immediate cash, typically ranging from 70% to 90% of the invoice value. This cash can be used immediately for operational expenses or growth initiatives.
  4. Meanwhile, the factor takes responsibility for collecting payment from the customers listed on the invoices. 
  5. Once the customers settle their invoices, the factor deducts its fees and any applicable charges before remitting the remaining balance to the business. 

This process effectively accelerates cash flow, providing businesses timely access to capital without waiting for customers to pay. Accounts receivable financing offers businesses greater financial flexibility and liquidity, enabling them to manage their cash flow more effectively and pursue growth opportunities.

Types of Accounts Receivable Financing

Exploring accounts receivable financing reveals various types, including traditional factoring, invoice discounting, and selective receivables finance. Each type presents unique benefits and considerations, empowering businesses to select the most suitable financing option for effective cash flow optimisation.

  • Factoring - selling invoices outright

Factoring involves selling invoices to a third-party factor at a discounted rate, providing immediate cash to the business. While the business receives funds promptly, the factor handles the collection of payments from customers. This financing type benefits businesses requiring immediate liquidity to support operations or growth.

  • Invoice discounting - borrowing invoices without transferring ownership

Unlike factoring, invoice discounting provides businesses with cash advances based on outstanding invoices while maintaining control over the invoice collection process. This approach ensures flexibility and confidentiality, as the borrowing arrangement remains undisclosed to customers. It allows businesses to swiftly address cash flow requirements without disrupting customer relationships, making it ideal for short-term financing solutions.

  • Selective receivables finance - choosing specific invoices for financing

Selective receivables finance offers businesses greater control and flexibility by allowing them to strategically choose which invoices to finance, matching specific cash flow needs. This tailored approach is particularly advantageous for businesses with varying invoice sizes or payment terms, enabling them to focus on financing critical invoices.

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Key Benefits of Using AR Finance

It offers numerous advantages to businesses, making it an attractive option for managing cash flow effectively. 

  • AR finance offers immediate cash access, which is crucial for covering expenses, seizing growth opportunities, or tackling financial surprises amid invoicing and payment gaps. 
  • AR finance boosts financial flexibility, enabling businesses to use outstanding invoices as collateral for capital without traditional borrowing, preserving ownership and avoiding additional debt.
  • AR finance enhances liquidity, aiding businesses in maintaining robust cash reserves to navigate revenue fluctuations and unexpected expenses.
  • By outsourcing invoice payment collection, businesses save time and resources, allowing personnel to concentrate on core operations.
  • Finally, AR finance strengthens supplier relationships through timely payments, enhancing credibility and trust, potentially resulting in improved terms, discounts, or preferential treatment, ultimately benefiting the bottom line.

Overall, the key benefits of using AR finance underscore its importance as a strategic financial tool for businesses of all sizes.

How to Apply for AR Financing?

Businesses should ensure they meet the necessary criteria to apply for AR financing. Additionally, businesses should have operated for a certain period and maintain a satisfactory credit rating. After confirming eligibility, the application process begins by completing a form provided by the financing company. Upon submission, the financing company reviews the information and, if approved, offers a detailed financing agreement outlining funding amounts and associated fees. 

Once accepted, the agreement is finalised, and funds are disbursed accordingly, providing businesses with the capital needed to address cash flow requirements effectively.

Meeting the Criteria for AR Financing

To qualify for AR financing, businesses typically need to meet specific criteria.  

  • Firstly, they must have a track record of issuing invoices to creditworthy customers.
  • Secondly, businesses should demonstrate a consistent revenue stream and have a history of meeting financial obligations.
  • Also, lenders may require businesses to operate for a certain period and maintain a satisfactory credit rating. 
  • Finally, lenders often assess the credit history of a business's clientele. Approval is more likely if customers consistently make timely payments on their invoices.

Meeting these criteria ensures businesses are eligible for accounts receivable financing and can effectively manage their cash flow requirements.

Steps to Apply for AR Financing

Applying for AR financing is typically simpler and faster than traditional loan applications. Here's an overview of the process:

  1. You fill out an application form provided by the financing company, including business information such as name, address, contact details, and details about customers' creditworthiness and payment history.
  2. After submission, the financing company reviews the information to assess the business's eligibility for financing. 
  3. If approved, the business will receive an offer detailing the financing agreement's terms, including funding amount and associated fees.
  4. Upon offer acceptance, the business and financing company finalise the agreement, and funds are disbursed accordingly.

When applying for AR financing, it's essential to consider factors such as the discount rate or fee charged by factors. This rate varies based on factors like business creditworthiness and agreement terms. Comparing these costs with other financing options ensures competitiveness and affordability, allowing businesses to make informed decisions and optimise cash flow effectively.

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Accounts Receivables Financing Challenges and Considerations

Accounts receivable financing, though beneficial, presents numerous challenges and considerations for businesses to address.


Eligible invoices                                         Businesses may struggle to identify eligible invoices, especially with complex payment terms or customer contracts.
Risk of delays There's a risk of customer disputes or payment delays, impacting the smooth operation of receivables financing.
Cost considerations Businesses must consider receivables financing costs, like discount rates and fees, impacting profitability.
Customer relationships Companies should assess how receivables financing affects customer relationships, as outsourcing invoice collection may impact trust and communication.
Legal complications Businesses must adhere to regulatory and industry standards in receivables financing to avoid legal problems.


Overall, navigating accounts receivables financing challenges demands meticulous planning, evaluation, and proactive management to ensure success and maximize benefits.

Average AR Financing Fees

Accounts receivable fees include factoring and advance rates, which vary depending on industry type, credit history, and other relevant considerations. Understanding these average fees helps businesses assess the financial implications of accounts receivable financing and make informed decisions regarding their cash flow management.

B2B Industry

Factoring rate  

Advance rate

General B2B businesses

1.15% – 4.5%

70% – 85%


1.15% – 3.5%

90% – 92%


1.15% – 5% 90% – 96%


2.5% – 4%

60% – 80%


2.5% – 3.5%

70% – 80%


Please note: Rates may vary based on factors like credit history, industry, or other considerations.

Giles Goodman - Payfor CEOAuthor: Giles Goodman, Commercial Intervention Officer OAR
Giles Goodman is the definitive expert in cross-border commercial debt collection, mediation, legal recovery, and accounts receivable. Based in London, his 25 years of experience provide a global perspective on preventing defaults and efficiently managing overdue accounts. Giles’s insights and analyses empower business owners worldwide with strategic approaches to financial management and recovery.

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