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Export finance

Read this guide for advice on financing your export operations. Learn about how to budget, access funding and make sure you get paid. You'll also get five top tips on export finance.

Setting your export budget

It's important to be aware of the financial implications of operating overseas – from payment terms to currency considerations and tax.

The export budget in your export plan should set out all the costs you are likely to incur when you enter and develop in your selected markets.  

Your budget should also take into account when you are likely to receive payment for your goods and services from each market you are targeting. This will allow you to manage your company cash flow and identify any export finance needs. 

In the short term, your company will likely have a number of additional upfront costs. These include marketing and sales costs, delivery costs, and any product or service adaptation required for exporting to new countries.

Funding for export operations

Export finance can help your company to: 

  • Meet any upfront costs as you develop overseas sales
  • Improve cashflow and available working capital
  • Receive payment earlier for completed sales

If you can access export finance, it also means you can offer better payment terms to your new customers. This will make you more competitive in the market.

Find the best finance option for your business

If you want to expand into international markets, we can help you work out the best options for your business. Our financial readiness specialists work with Scottish companies to find the right route to funding for them. 

Contact a financial readiness specialist 

You can also explore our support and guidance on finance and investment. We can offer advice on different funding options and what you can do to become investor-ready. 

Learn about accessing finance and attracting investment 

As well as discussing your export finance options with your bank (which may offer tailored finance options for exporters), your company may qualify for government-backed finance through UK Export Finance opens in a new window (UKEF).

UKEF is the UK’s export credit agency and support UK exporters across a wide range of sectors. It can help companies:  

  • Win export contracts by providing attractive financing terms to their buyers
  • Fulfil contracts by supporting working capital loans  
  • Get paid by insuring against buyer default

Other useful resources

A number of other organisations provide helpful support if you’re thinking about applying for finance to help you grow your export capabilities:

Ensure payment for your goods and services

There are a range of payment options for selling your goods into international markets. You'll want to:

  • Ensure you are competitive in the market
  • Generate the required cash flow 
  • Minimise the risks of any non-payment for goods or service

But how do you decide the best approach for your company? Here are some useful first steps:

  • Make sure your export buyer is creditworthy
  • Decide whether you'll put credit terms in place for your new customers
  • Decide which currencies you will accept payment in

You can also get direct advice on export payment methods and credit insurance from your bank, your insurance broker or the Scottish Chambers of Commerce opens in a new window .

Finance tips for international markets

Looking to get started with export finance? Here are our five top tips.

1. Plan ahead and think about future trading in the market 

For example, do your business-to-consumer (B2C) price points contain sufficient margin to allow for a future trade discount without impacting adversely on your cash flow?

2. Set minimum order quantities

If you're selling business-to-business (B2B), and using price discounting, it makes sense to set minimum order quantities (or quantities at which further discount applies) for trade customers. These should relate to practical ‘break points’, for example in carton size, weight or shipping costs.

3. Manage exchange rate fluctuations 

If you're quoting or pricing in the local export market currency, you need to track and manage exchange rate fluctuations and risk.

4. Factor in payment or credit terms

For cash flow purposes, make sure you're aware of — and factor in — the normal payment terms or credit periods for goods in each export market. These can differ significantly between markets.

5. Credit check your customers

Make sure that any export customer is creditworthy before offering any credit terms. A wide range of financial information is available from credit information agencies and major credit insurers, or through our free international market research service.

Contact us

Got any questions about funding for expansion into new markets? Our team are here to help.