Business finance made simple

Finance. What is your initial reaction to that word? If it makes you slightly nervous and anxious, it needn’t. Finance doesn’t have to be a scary concept if your options are clearly understood. Whether you’re a start-up or an established business Portman Asset Finance can help enable your growth with their range of financial services.

We sat down with Jack Doran, Business Development Manager at Portman Asset Finance to discuss Portman’s history, services and their outlook on the future.

Jack, what is asset finance?

Asset finance is a form of lending that allows businesses to attain the equipment they need to develop and continue to grow. By spreading the cost of the equipment over a set period, there is no large capital outlay, thus reducing the impact on the businesses cash flow. The most common types of asset finance are Lease Hire and Hire Purchase.

Many financial organisations will only provide asset finance for traditional hard assets. At Portman we are able to fund any sort of asset, be it a traditional hard asset, such as heavy plant machinery, tractors, vehicles, fork lifts, catering or gym equipment, to more ‘soft’ assets such as IT software, office equipment and furniture. We also have a range of Commercial Loan products to suit any need.

What’s the difference?

Lease Hire – With a Lease Hire agreement you are agreeing to lease the equipment over a set period of time. The lender retains ownership of the equipment until the end of the agreement, where you then have the option to return the equipment, purchase it or continue to pay a monthly rental.

There is no large outlay. Payment is spread over several years enabling you to retain working capital.

Tax Advantages. Lease rentals are considered as an operating cost, which means that it is often possible to deduct them from taxable profits.

Budgeting. Payments are regular fixed amounts.

Hire Purchase - Similar to a lease agreement, however, you are the purchaser and there is, therefore, a promise of ownership for the goods. After all payments have been made, your business becomes the owner of the equipment, either automatically or on payment of a final option to purchase fee.

There is no large outlay. Payment is spread over several years enabling you to retain working capital.

Tax Advantages. As the purchaser, you have the ability to claim capital allowances on the asset. VAT is paid upfront so there is no VAT on monthly payments. Interest charges may be offset against profits for taxation.

Budgeting. Payments are regular fixed amounts.

Commercial Loan - A business loan affords you the freedom to use the monies as you best see fit. Whether it’s consolidating existing finance, growing your existing business or purchasing another business, a commercial loan provides you with the flexibility to decide.

So, finance isn’t just for people who can’t afford to buy?

Precisely- in fact asset finance is designed for profitable businesses to reduce their tax liabilities and increase working capital. Finance payments are tax deductible and along with the affordable monthly payments means that often we see the net cost of finance ends up being less than the capital cost of the goods.

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England recently stated that interest rates are likely to go up two more times in the next three years after it’s first rise late last year in 10 years. When we secure you finance, the rate is fixed, so there isn’t a better time to invest in your businesses growth.

Give us a bit of background into Portman’s inception in 2007.

Well, Portman Asset Finance was established in 2007. As we enter our eleventh year we’ve grown from a team of three to around forty, helping secure over half a billion pounds of finance to over 10,000 businesses.

Based still in Northampton, our senior management team have over 50 years’ experience in the industry, supported by a number of expert account managers and administrators.

What are the benefits of using Portman?

There isn’t a one size fits all approach at Portman. Our customers are given a dedicated account manager who will work to find a tailored solution that works best for your business.

We cover a number of different sectors, can finance anything from traditional hard assets such as CNC Machinery, Forklifts & commercial vehicles to what are known as soft assets, such as IT software and office fit outs.

With access to over 40 lenders; rates as low as 2.5% and finance available from £5,000 up to £2,000,000 we have all bases covered. Aside from the above products our team can also assist in refinancing of existing assets.

Jack Doran, Business Development Manager
Jack Doran, Business Development Manager

Great; can you tell us a bit about your role Jack?

Traditionally Portman has always worked directly with the end customer to secure the required finance. In doing so, we have transacted millions of pounds of equipment payments to suppliers. My role is to work closely with these suppliers and provide them with the facilities to offer finance themselves, directly to their customers.

There are a huge number of benefits to suppliers offering their customers finance and I’m looking to develop on our existing relationships and to build new ones to broaden our supplier network. With Brexit creating an uncertain economy, businesses need to be agile in their approach to remain competitive in the market. One way of remaining competitive is giving customers the choice of financing the equipment.

From a supplier standpoint cost objections at the point of sale can be frustrating however by quoting affordable monthly payments instead of a lump sum we see our suppliers closing more businesses as a result and often, their customers opting for larger purchase orders because of the affordability.

We mentioned cash flow for the customer, however, another benefit for our suppliers is that we help you avoid credit control problems by paying out in full to the supplier upon or before delivery of goods; stopping the age-old problem of chasing those payment term invoices.

Finally, we can roll all the soft costs into the finance package- delivery, installation, maintenance etc which opens the opportunity to upsell. We want to work in partnership with local and national suppliers to offer these services to benefit both themselves and their customers.

So how simple is it for a supplier to offer this to their customers?

Really simple. Give me a call or an email to arrange a meeting and we can discuss the simple three-stage process. Portman does all the hard work, so once the introduction is made to us, we work for you to secure the finance needed.

Whilst we work nationally, we are keen to do more to support our local Northamptonshire businesses. We believe that every opportunity is important, no matter how big or small the company or asset. By working in collaboration together, we can continue to build a thriving county of prosperous businesses.

We want to put the power in your hands and our flexibility and focused approach means It’s your solution, your way…

For more information, you can email Jack on jdoran@portmanassetfinance.co.uk, call 01604 761276 or visit the website:

www.portmanassetfinance.co.uk