Freelance business journalist, Farah Khalique reveals her top three tips on how to onboard a supply chain finance programme as smoothly as possible and free up capital as quickly as possible.

Freeing up capital to grow your business is top of the wish list for many businesses; hence the growth in 'supply chain finance'. This catch-all term means any financial solution that optimises working capital and has been around for decades, but the concept is really catching on in a world of cautious bank lending.

Invoice discounting is the most well-known solution - a company can sell its invoices to a third party, like a bank or a fintech provider, for immediate payment in return for a fee. It beats waiting up to 30 days or more and chasing unpaid invoices.

Signing up to a supply chain finance solution can be done in as little as 24 hours, if done properly. Read our top three tips on how to onboard a supply chain finance programme as smoothly as possible and quickly free up business finance:

1. Figure out what you want, says Gopal Iyer, sourcing and supply chain consultant at 4C Associates. Is it just a short-term payment-days benefit project or a long-term working capital improvement programme? This stage can be time consuming, but supply chain finance is much better understood than in previous years. Work out which is the right solution for your business.

2. Get the KYC and AML right. Know-your-customer and anti-money laundering checks are two requirements to prove that you are a legitimate business. Some supply chain finance providers are more demanding than others, says Matt Wreford, chief executive officer at working capital solutions expert, Demica. It has intensified at certain banks, but is a necessary evil.

A nice folder of documentation is the best way to get onboarded quickly.

Matt Wreford, Demica.

The key to passing this stage with flying colours is to read the requirements carefully and submit the right documents, such as certifications of incorporation. 

3. Make sure that any signed documents have been signed by people with the legal authority to do so, otherwise they could be contested and delay the on boarding process. "A nice folder of documentation is best way to get onboarded quickly," says Wreford. Where possible, see if you can supply an e-signature for any paperwork. This is quicker than having to courier over original signed documents.