Close Brothers Invoice Finance is a leading independent provider of invoice finance and asset based lending (ABL) to both SMEs and large businesses throughout the UK, Ireland and Germany.
Having recently teamed up with The Financial Management Centre, Kevin Connery, Regional Sales Director for London, tells us more about Close Brothers and shares some insights from the organisation’s research.
“As one of the largest independent invoice finance providers we supply high quality, professional services to hundreds of businesses. We pride ourselves on being able to offer bespoke cash flow solutions, tailored to the needs of each individual customer. As a result we’ve won numerous industry awards, including the Business Moneyfacts award for ‘Best Factoring and Invoice Discounting Provider’ for the last two consecutive years.
Both invoice discounting and factoring are increasingly proving to be a vital form of alternative funding for SMEs. In the wake of the credit crunch it’s still hard for many firms to obtain traditional sources of finance, so other forms of lending such as this can be a real lifeline.
Every quarter we issue a survey called the Close Brothers Business Barometer, which goes out to more than 700 SMEs up and down the country. It gauges sentiment from business leaders on a range of issues affecting their organisation and the wider economy. The latest results revealed that a quarter cite restricted cash flow as their main barrier to growth – with a main cause of this being late payments from customers.
Late payments have always been a huge strain on cash flow for SMEs and it’s something that invoice discounting and factoring can really help with. Our survey indicated that 33% of firms spend approximately 2 days a month chasing outstanding payments, whilst a further 22% waste almost an entire week every single month doing this.
We work with businesses from a wide range of sectors to help them meet their goals, whether it's improved cash flow, mitigating late payments or managing seasonal demand. Below is just one example of how we are constantly helping firms to reach wider objectives –
Client London Toughening
Product Invoice discounting
Part of the Barretts Groups of Companies, London Toughening is a specialist manufacturer of glass. The business has supplied a wide range of glass products to the commercial construction industry since 1995 and Maria Demetriou joined the company as Financial Controller in 2006.
London Toughening was faced with a number of challenges which contributed to cash flow struggles. Late invoice payments from clients meant that they were often concerned about meeting monthly commitments such as PAYE taxes and payments for machinery, which caused unnecessary pressure for Maria.
The business had historically been funded by an overdraft, along with contributions from the Company Director. In 2013 the Director decided to look for alternative forms of funding as a more viable, long-term solution that would be less restrictive.
After considering the day-to-day challenges the business faced, Maria sought guidance from their accountant, who suggested invoice finance as the most appropriate funding solution for them. Maria was hesitant at first as she had always believed this to be an expensive way to finance a business. However, further to meeting her local Close Brothers Invoice Finance expert, she was pleased to realise that the advantages of this type of funding far outweighed any initial price reservations. One of the main benefits was the understanding that the business would receive money from its invoices within 24 hours of them being raised.
Close Brothers Invoice Finance provided a £250,000 invoice discounting facility and although the team at London Toughening doesn’t always use the maximum available each month, they know additional funding support is there when required.
Maria and the team have been using invoice discounting since 2013 and are well and truly converted to this form of finance. Maria said: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any company looking for cash flow support. It has been instrumental in helping the business move forward and I don’t know how we managed before.”
Not only do they no longer have the constant stress of not knowing how they are going to meet their monthly commitments, but they are now able to invest in new machinery to make efficiencies within the business without having to find extra funding.
Maria particularly values the support offered by Close Brothers, stating: “My Client Manager is always on hand to help with any issues. It’s not often you get such great, professional customer service.”