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Ashley Business Invoice Finance Review

Ashley Business Finance

Founded in 1993, Ashley Business Finance grew quickly and was able to pull-off a reverse takeover of the Ultimate Finance Group plc in 2010. The two companies are independently branded and management remains autonomous, though Ultimate’s listing means that Ashley is part of the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market. Ashley has sales amounting to over 3m a year for over 200 clients, with offices in London, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds and is a patron of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB).

Focusing on small and medium sized enterprises, this factor has an upper limit on company turnover, above which you are no longer eligible. Most factors work the other way around – only looking for larger businesses as clients. This open-handed approach has served Ashley well since the credit crunch – when a huge credit vacuum in business banking drove many thousands of small and medium business clients through Ashley’s doors. With an emphasis on quick and simple solutions, Ashley remains one of the most popular providers in the UK.

Features

Ashley’s expertise relates mainly to small and medium businesses so their features are designed to suit their specific needs. They are also forgiving about weak credit scores – but that does not make Ashley a lender of last resort. Other innovations, such as providing fuel cards for hauliers and couriers, have also contributed to Ashley’s growth:

  • 90% of funds rapidly available
  • Confidential invoice financing
  • Client handles own collections, or CHOCS
  • Single invoice factoring
  • Online platform

Funds Available Fast

The amount of an invoice that Ashley will cover will depend on business – with the smaller companies having access to 85% of funds and larger ones being able to draw 90%. The remaining money, less fees, is available once the invoice has been paid. Because Ashley is independently run, there are fewer bureaucratic hurdles and new clients may receive funds within 24 hours of presenting invoices. The larger a company’s turnover, the larger the facility available to them – so funding grows in step with the business.

Confidential Invoice Financing

Ashley offer confidentiality on invoice financing, meaning they will collect outstanding invoices, but your client will not realise they are working with a third party. The benefit for the client is that they are dealing with an established collections specialist.

Client Handles Own Collections – CHOCS

This is one of the most original offerings on the invoice factoring market. Every business knows who their most dependable clients are, therefore, they are best placed to know which of the clients are low risk. This is one of the things that has given Ashley the reputation of having some of the most flexible contracts on offer.

Single Invoice Factoring

Another example of Ashley’s flexibility is its single invoice factoring option. This is more expensive than having an ongoing agreement, but can be a lifeline for a small business that has hit an unexpected bump. For single invoice financing only 80% of the invoice is available, but can be paid within 3 hours of presentation and without the need for complex contracts. The disadvantage is that clients risk losing out on the peripheral support in the way of collection and administration of moneys owed, as well as the guidance for small businesses that Ashley can offer.

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Online Account Access

Complete access to information about your account should be a given for any business, however, many factoring services are a bit behind the times in this regard. Luckily Ashley does provide an online service that enables clients to view their accounts 24 hours a day.

Eligibility

While Ashley is open-minded about phoenix businesses, start ups and poor credit ratings, there are some barriers to entering its customer ranks:

  • Businesses can only have a maximum turnover of £300,000
  • The business must offer clients credit
  • Transactions are business to business.
  • Ashley’s services are available to businesses located in England and Wales, but not Scotland.
  • A personal guarantee may be required.

What Business Model does Ashley Suit?

Ashley provides invoice factoring services across a whole range of small business sectors, including taxi firms, recruitment specialists, recycling companies, IT organisations, road haulage companies and printers. However, they are not sector specialists as such – other than being completely focused on smaller enterprises. The flexibility of products demonstrates a profound understanding of what that market needs. Quite literally, large companies need not apply. Find out more about alternate Invoice Factoring Providers.

Costs

Many factoring agreements will lock a business into credit limits based on their yearly turnover, and then ask for non-uptake penalties, or charge a 1% - 3% annual fee. Some factors will also insist that all invoices go through them. However Ashley allows that you select the invoices they should factor, keeping factoring fees down and lowering the risk of fees associated with invoice default. Ashley also distinguishes itself from the competition by charging a flat fee instead of interest. Find out more about costs associated with Invoice Factoring.

Help and Support

Dedicated Client Managers and professional credit controllers form a customer care team offering a high level of customer care, which stays with a business as it grows, allowing excellent business relationships to develop over time. The level of support and advice offered is akin to business development – since they are literally invested in each venture’s success. The fact that Ashley pursues the invoices in their factor role also means that the invoice factoring becomes a form of administrative outsourcing. There are also telephone support lines based in the UK.

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