Also known as selective invoice, spot invoice or one off invoice discounting, single invoice discounting is a form of short term borrowing that is often used to improve a company’s cash flows or increase working capital. It allows an entity to draw money against sales invoices even before its customers have actually paid what they are due. In here, a company loans a certain percentage of the value of its invoice from a third party or financing institution. Do take note that single invoice discounting is not the same as single invoice factoring. The former uses the invoice as collateral to borrow money while the latter involves selling of the receivables. Although their effects and purposes may be somewhat similar, these two are completely different and should not be interchanged.
This type of financing is best suited for companies with seasonal trading patterns, those who trade with just a single customer and also those who prefer or need to finance against a single customer only.
It is also fairly cheaper as compared to traditional discounting as no monthly fees are involved. They too are much lower as there are no annual administration fees and only one fee per invoice transacted is charged. At the same time, this transaction can be made confidential so that your clients and customers as well as suppliers will remain unaware that you are borrowing resources against the invoices even before they have been paid. The funds that you acquire here will not only increase working capital and cash flows but it will also make up for the lack of resources needed for very important projects and related expenditures. Also, it is possible for you to get hold of the cash in less than forty eight hours. And since this only deal with a single invoice, no lengthy contracts are involved so companies would not be tied up in these contracts for far longer than they plan to.
As there are advantages, there too are drawbacks in single invoice discounting. For one, it can mean a reduction in your profit margin. Also when compared to overdrafts and bank loans, they can be more costly. Second, borrowings can be associated with entities that are in financial distress. Since you are borrowing and using your invoices as collateral, others may perceive it as a sign that you are encountering problems. Ultimately, suppliers may be hesitant to extend credit to you too. Third, companies who enjoy the increase in working capital may become too dependent. This should not be the case as you must remember that you are still borrowing and interests have to be paid.