What is Accounts Receivable Financing?

Jun 18, 2024

Accounts receivable financing is a financial tool that allows businesses to receive early payment on outstanding invoices.  Companies typically sell goods or services on credit, meaning they provide the product or service upfront but receive payment later. This creates a gap between when they incur expenses and when they receive income. AR financing helps bridge this gap by providing immediate capital based on the value of unpaid invoices.

In this article, we will outline the different accounts receivable financing options and benefits of AR financing for a borrower. 

Accounts Receivable Financing Options

The following are some of the AR financing options that can assist borrowers in accounts receivable management

Accounts Receivable Loans

In AR loans, a business borrows money from a bank or lender using the unpaid customer invoices of its accounts receivable as collateral. This means the outstanding invoices act as a form of security for the loan. 

The lender will first assess the creditworthiness of the business and the quality of the receivables. Based on this assessment, the lender will determine the loan amount and interest rate. The loan amount is typically a percentage (around 70-80%) of the total value of the approved receivables. The business receives the loan funds and uses them for various needs. As customers pay their outstanding invoices, the business uses those funds to repay the loan.

Accounts Receivable Factoring

Factoring, also known as invoice factoring, is a specific type of accounts receivable (AR) financing where a business sells its unpaid invoices to a third-party company, called a factor, at a discount. The borrower is no longer responsible for the invoices and receivables after the factoring process. 

The business first identifies unpaid invoices that qualify for factoring and sells them to the factor. The factor then advances the business a percentage (typically 70-80%) of the invoice value upfront. This provides immediate cash flow. The business’s customer pays the outstanding invoice amount to the factor. Once the customer pays the invoice in full, the factor deducts their fees (the factoring fee for advancing the funds) from the remaining balance. They then remit the remaining amount (usually 10-30% of the invoice value) to you.

Asset-Backed Securities

Asset-backed securities are not directly involved in accounts receivable financing itself. However, the concept of ABS can be applied to create securities backed by a pool of accounts receivable. 

This is a broader financial instrument where a pool of underlying assets is bundled together and used to create securities. These securities are then sold to investors.

How is Accounts Receivable Financing Helpful?

Accounts receivable financing offers several advantages for businesses in receivables management, especially those struggling with cash flow gaps due to outstanding invoices. Here’s a breakdown of key benefits:

Improved Cash Flow

The most significant advantage is the immediate access to cash. Businesses can unlock the value tied up in unpaid invoices by selling them to a factor (factoring) or using them as collateral for a loan (AR loan). This cash injection can be used to cover operating expenses, invest in growth opportunities, or meet payroll obligations.

Reduced Dependence on Debt

Unlike traditional loans, AR financing doesn’t involve taking on long-term debt. It simply leverages existing assets (unpaid invoices) for short-term working capital needs. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses that may not qualify for traditional loans due to limited credit history.

Improved Creditworthiness

By effectively managing receivables through AR financing, businesses can demonstrate responsible financial practices to lenders and suppliers. This can potentially improve their creditworthiness and access to better financing options in the future.

Potentially Lower Costs

Compared to some traditional financing options, AR financing can offer lower costs, especially for businesses with good credit and low-risk receivables. Factoring fees can be a consideration, but they may be offset by the benefits of improved cash flow and reduced dependence on other expensive financing options.


AR financing offers some flexibility depending on the chosen method. Factoring allows you to sell a specific invoice or a portfolio of invoices. AR loans provide access to cash while you retain control over invoice collection.

Focus on Core Business

By outsourcing collection activities (in the case of factoring), businesses can free up internal resources to focus on core business activities like sales and marketing.

Accounts receivable financing is a valuable financial tool that helps businesses bridge cash flow gaps caused by outstanding invoices. By leveraging unpaid invoices, businesses can access immediate capital, improve their cash flow, and maintain financial stability without taking on long-term debt. Whether through loans, factoring, or asset-backed securities, AR financing offers flexibility, reduced dependence on traditional debt, and enhanced creditworthiness, enabling businesses to focus on their core operations and growth opportunities.

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