What is Accounts Receivable Factoring?

Accounts Receivable Factoring, also known as invoice factoring, is a financial solution that allows businesses to sell their outstanding invoices to a third-party factoring company in exchange for immediate cash. This can be particularly beneficial for UK businesses that need to improve their cash flow, manage working capital, and reduce the burden of credit management.


Key Aspects of Accounts Receivable Factoring:

  1. Definition:
    • Accounts Receivable Factoring involves selling your business’s invoices (accounts receivable) to a factoring company at a discount. The factoring company then takes on the responsibility of collecting payments from your customers.
  2. How It Works:
    • Invoice Submission: The business submits its unpaid invoices to the factoring company.
    • Advance Payment: The factoring company advances a percentage of the invoice value, typically ranging from 70% to 90%, providing immediate cash to the business.
    • Collection: The factoring company collects the full invoice amount from the customers when it becomes due.
    • Final Payment: Once the factoring company collects the payment from the customer, it pays the remaining balance to the business, minus a factoring fee.
  3. Benefits:
    • Improved Cash Flow: Provides immediate cash, improving liquidity and enabling the business to meet its short-term obligations and invest in growth opportunities.
    • Outsourced Collections: The factoring company handles the collections process, reducing the administrative burden on the business.
    • Credit Protection: In non-recourse factoring, the factoring company assumes the risk of non-payment, protecting the business from bad debts.
    • No Additional Debt: Unlike traditional loans, factoring does not add debt to the business’s balance sheet.
  4. Costs:
    • Factoring Fee: The factoring company charges a fee for its services, usually a percentage of the invoice value. This fee can vary based on factors such as the creditworthiness of the customers and the volume of invoices factored.
    • Advance Rate: The initial payment received is a percentage of the invoice value, with the remainder paid after the factoring company collects the payment from the customer.
  5. Types of Factoring:
    • Recourse Factoring: The business retains the risk of non-payment. If the customer does not pay the invoice, the business must repay the advance to the factoring company.
    • Non-Recourse Factoring: The factoring company assumes the risk of non-payment. If the customer fails to pay, the factoring company absorbs the loss.
  6. Suitability:
    • Factoring is suitable for businesses of all sizes, particularly those with long payment terms or seasonal cash flow fluctuations. It is widely used in industries such as manufacturing, retail, transportation, and services.

Example of Accounts Receivable Factoring:

A UK-based furniture manufacturer has £50,000 worth of outstanding invoices with 60-day payment terms. To improve cash flow and cover immediate expenses, the manufacturer decides to use accounts receivable factoring.

  • Factoring Agreement: The manufacturer enters into an agreement with a factoring company that offers an 85% advance rate and charges a 3% factoring fee.
  • Advance Payment: The factoring company advances £42,500 (85% of £50,000) to the manufacturer.
  • Collection: The factoring company collects the full invoice amount of £50,000 from the customers.
  • Final Payment: After deducting the 3% factoring fee (£1,500), the factoring company pays the remaining £6,000 to the manufacturer.


  • Advance Payment: £50,000 × 85% = £42,500
  • Factoring Fee: £50,000 × 3% = £1,500
  • Final Payment: £50,000 – £42,500 – £1,500 = £6,000


Accounts Receivable Factoring is a valuable financial tool for UK businesses seeking to improve their cash flow and manage working capital more effectively. By converting outstanding invoices into immediate cash, businesses can maintain liquidity, meet their financial obligations, and focus on growth. Understanding the benefits, costs, and types of factoring can help businesses make informed decisions about whether this financing option is suitable for their needs.