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Financing vs Paying Outright


04 March 2024

Making significant business purchases often prompts the question of whether to finance an acquisition or pay outright with available funds. Understanding the implications of financing versus paying outright can help individuals and businesses make the most informed choices that are aligned with their financial aims and goals; but what are these implications, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Considering User Needs; What Are You Wanting To Gain?

If you are contemplating whether to finance an asset or buy it outright, you need to consider the reasons as to why you need the asset; will it be beneficial to your business goals over time, or would it be a short-term investment? Aligning any company spending with your business vision and goals can help you make the most informed decisions. For example, if you need a commercial vehicle for the essential running of day-to-day operations, you may explore the financing options available for gaining the vehicle, since they are an expensive purchase.

Why Could Financing Be Beneficial?

There are a number of reasons why financing could be a beneficial option for your business needs. These include the following;

Access to High Value Items

Financing assets enables individuals and businesses to afford higher-priced items that may usually be out of reach if paying outright was the only option. These may include business equipment, commercial vehicles and new office spaces, allowing the individual to acquire the assets that positively contribute towards the business.

Capital Investment

Through financing, businesses can acquire the necessary capital to invest in growth opportunities, such as developing new products, entering new markets or expanding operations. Without financing, businesses may face limits on their ability to pursue these opportunities, hindering their competitiveness and company growth.

Leverage

Debt financing can provide an opportunity for a business to leverage its existing equity or assets to gain access to additional capital. By borrowing funds, businesses can amplify their investment potential and pursue growth opportunities beyond their immediate financial resources, leading to higher returns on investment and increased profitability.

Increased Cash Flow Management

Financing can help a business manage its cash flow by providing access to funds as and when it is needed. This is particularly important for businesses that have irregular income streams or seasonal fluctuations in revenue, such as holiday-themed retailers, tour guides and commercial gardeners. Financing is able to bridge any gaps in cash flow, ensuring operational expenses can be met consistently and effectively.

Tax Benefits

Interestingly, interest payments on business loans are often tax-deductible expenses, reducing the overall tax liability for the business. This provides a financial incentive for businesses to utilise debt financing as part of their capital structure, effectively lowering the costs of borrowing.

Preservation of Equity

Equity financing, such as issuing shares or seeking venture capital investment, dilutes the ownership stake of existing shareholders. By opting for debt financing instead, businesses can therefore retain full ownership and control over their operations; this preserves the equity value for existing shareholders and avoids the need to share profits or decision-making authority with external investors.

Flexibility

Financing options can come in a variety of forms, ranging from short-term loans to asset-based lending. Due to this broad range of forms, businesses have greater flexibility in the types of financing that best suit their needs. Additionally, financing terms can often be negotiated to accommodate more specific requirements and preferences, ensuring greater flexibility in structuring financial arrangements.

Why Could Paying Outright Be Beneficial?

For many businesses, paying outright is a more suitable approach to acquiring business goods, items and services. Some of the benefits of buying outright include the following;

No Credit Checks or Debt Obligations

When buying outright, the need for extensive credit checks and debt accumulation is eliminated. This gives a business greater financial independence, and avoids the complexity of credit agreements; without debt obligations, the business is not exposed to the risks associated with defaulting on loans or facing financial distress due to debt servicing.

Outright Ownership of Assets

When assets are purchased outright, the purchaser retains full ownership and control, giving the business flexibility over the use of assets without any restrictions imposed by lenders; this ownership and control can be crucial for operational flexibility and strategic decision-making.

Cost Savings

Depending on the price of an asset and the budget of the business, buying outright can actually often save costs, since the need to pay interest on loans and other financial obligations is eliminated. In the long term, this could save a business a great deal of money, as they can avoid interest expenses that would accrue with financing.

Fixed Costs

Outright ownership of an asset ensures that there are no ongoing payments associated with the asset, other than essential costs such as maintenance, insurance and other operational expenses, such as fuel. For users working with strict budgets and plans, this is particularly beneficial as there is a greater predictability in costs, since there are no fluctuations in loan payments and interest rates to contend with.

Asset Appreciation

Certain assets, such as business equipment and real estate, may appreciate in value over time; by purchasing these assets outright, the business can benefit from any future appreciation, potentially increasing overall wealth and financial stability. Assets that are financed do not have this option since they are not owned by the business, meaning the lender will gain from the increase in appreciation.

Tax Benefits

Like financing assets and services, there are also tax benefits for paying outright. Depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances, purchasing assets outright may offer tax benefits such as depreciation deductions or immediate expensing under certain tax provisions; these tax advantages can reduce the overall tax liability for the business and improve its financial position.

What Are the Drawbacks of Financing?

Unfortunately, financing has drawbacks that could affect your business negatively in the long run, should you be unaware of them. By appreciating the implications of financing assets for your business, you stand a greater chance of avoiding any negative impact on profits. Some of these drawbacks are highlighted below;

Interest Costs

Financing often involves paying interest on borrowed funds; over time, the cumulative interest payments can significantly increase the total cost of the asset. Higher interest rates or unfavourable loan terms can make this issue even more difficult, putting a strain on the business’s financial resources.

Long Term Commitments

Financing assets often involve long term commitments, especially through repayment methods which can last several years, depending on the amount financed and the lifespan of the asset. This can restrict a business’s flexibility and limit adaptability to changing market conditions and opportunities.

Impact on Equity

By taking on debt through financing, a business’s equity ownership can be diluted because lenders may require equity stakes as part of the financing agreement, potentially affecting the control over a business’s decision making.

Risk of Default

If a business fails to meet the agreed debt obligations, it could default on the loan; this leads to serious consequences such as penalties, increased interest rates or even legal action from the lender. Defaulting on debt can damage a business’s reputation and credit reputation, decreasing financial opportunities from lenders in the future.

What Are the Drawbacks of Paying Outright?

Whilst buying assets outright offers certain advantages, businesses must carefully weigh these benefits against the potential drawbacks to make the most informed decisions. Some of the main drawbacks are highlighted below;

Opportunity Cost

Funds used to purchase assets outright could have been invested elsewhere to generate greater profits. By spending on assets, businesses could miss out on potential investment opportunities that offer higher returns or better align with their strategic objectives and goals.

Initial Capital Outlay

Buying assets outright can involve significant upfront investment, which can strain a business’s liquidity, especially if it needs to allocate funds from other areas of the business. This may limit a business’s ability to pursue other growth opportunities or respond to unexpected expenses.

Depreciation of Assets

Certain assets may depreciate or become obsolete over time, such as specific equipment or technology. By purchasing these assets outright, the business bears the full cost of depreciation or potential losses in value, impacting the business’s financial statements and profitability over the asset’s useful life.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Owning assets outright also means assuming responsibility for any maintenance, repair and replacement costs, compared to financing assets where the lender may take care of maintenance and repair. Depending on the type of assets, these costs could be unpredictable and sometimes substantial, depending on the age of an asset and how specialised it is. Businesses must budget accordingly to ensure they can afford these costs without too much of an impact on profitability.

How to Know What Option Is Best for You

Having read through the advantages and disadvantages of both financing and paying outright, you may be contemplating which option is best for your business needs. The main things you need to consider are your financial goals and objectives, your current financial health and cash flow, how you’d utilise the assets and any tax implications attached. Every business is different and faces unique circumstances, so a strong understanding of these factors is needed; speak to professionals, such as Union Business Finance, to gain clarity on the best options for your specific business needs.

Are You Looking for Bespoke Finance Solutions?

If you think financing assets would be the best option for your business, our bespoke financing solutions may have the answers you’re looking for. Let’s talk about where your business is, and where you want it to be; enquire now to find out more.

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Disclaimer

Aintu Ltd T/A Union Business Finance is an independent Asset finance broker not a lender, as such we can introduce you to a wide range of finance providers depending on your requirements and circumstances. We are not independent financial advisors and so are unable to provide you with independent financial advice. Aintu Ltd T/A Union Business Finance will receive payment(s) or other benefit from the finance provider if you decide to enter into an agreement with them. Aintu Ltd T/A Union Business Finance is an appointed representative of AFS Compliance Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under number 625035. Aintu Ltd T/A Union Business Finance aims to provide our customers with the highest standards of service. If our service fails to meet your requirements and you would like to report a complaint; please click on the link below;

https://www.afsuk.com/asset-finance-solutions/contact/complaints-procedure/

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