What to look for in a leasing company

With the economy showing signs of recovering, it should start to filter through to an improved outlook for the legal services sector – particularly if your practice offers conveyancing services and has benefited from the upturn in the housing market.

To take advantage of this growth, you might find your business requires some investment. This might be some new premises, office equipment or splashing out on some new computers. Whatever the benefits, the hit on your cash flow can be hard to take.

There are several reasons why you might want to purchase an asset outright, particularly if it is something that will be useful for a long period of time before becoming obsolete (office furniture, for example). However, many growing law firms simply don’t have the capital available to do so.

This is where the option of renting or leasing can be of great benefit. Not only can it leave more cash to cover core business expenses, a smaller, fixed amount over a set period of time can be a more manageable way to spread the cost. Plus, there are added advantages, such as the chance for a much quicker ROI, fewer worries about maintenance costs, and the opportunity to keep rapidly evolving assets (such as software and IT) more affordably updated.

So, if your company is considering leasing or hire purchasing an asset, what should you look for from a leasing company?

Look for a specialist – Having a knowledge of your industry can be a great help meeting your lease needs and be more flexible to your requirements. For example, if you are looking at investing in IT, you might find that you need to extend the lease mid-term to upgrade your equipment. An IT finance company should understand this and be able to accommodate your needs. However, it could also make a difference to the interest rate as a finance company that understands your sector will have a better understanding of the risk involved.

Check their reputation – Spend a little time researching the company online, keeping an eye out for any less-than-complimentary news articles or message board comments, as well as positive news too. A good business should be happy to provide references or case studies of other satisfied customers.

Do they follow a code of conduct? – Knowing that a leasing company is reputable and complies with the rules of a trade association can offer peace of mind. Syscap, for example, is a member of the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), and follows a strict business finance code which dictates a level of contract clarity and customer service. You can read the full code here.

At Syscap, we understand that providing finance carries a responsibility. We believe in clarity and transparency. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding our policies or working practices. We would be happy to answer any questions that you have. Contact us to find out more.

IT Commercial Finance Firm Syscap Reports Fourth Year Of Growth

Syscap, one of the UK’s leading independent finance providers, announces its results for the year ended 31st March 2014 (“FY14”).

Highlights

  • 12% increase in new business volume to £140 million
  • 6% EBITDA growth to £1.8 million
  • 5% growth in origination income to £5.7 million
  • Productivity (volume per head) up 12%
  • Average deal size up 9% to £36k

Syscap’s CEO, Philip White said:

“FY14 was another good year in which we made considerable progress on multiple fronts, which has left the Company well placed for the future. I am pleased to report that the investments we have made in expanding our online capabilities have yielded significant results. This has enabled us to launch new products, improve our position in the legal sector, secure a key new affinity partnership with the ICAEW and cement our place as the pre-eminent supplier of Vendor Finance to the IT channel. As Syscap approaches its 25th anniversary we remain well positioned for long term, profitable growth based on our core sales, marketing, credit and portfolio management competencies and our overall innovative approach to business.”

Chairman’s Statement

John R Allbrook, Chairman

Syscap has continued to make good progress over the last twelve months and in FY14 has delivered a further improved trading performance.

Business Review

Market conditions have marginally improved in line with the overall UK economy and the Broker finance sector, according to data provided by the Finance and Leasing Association, grew by 4% over the course of the year. Against this backdrop, the growth in the Company’s new business volumes has outperformed the market threefold and over the last four years has more than doubled. This has been achieved by a keen focus on meeting the needs of our customers in our core markets.

The Vendor division, which focuses on providing vendor finance predominantly in the IT sector, continued to produce strong results. Our focus in FY14 has been on improving lease penetration across our major vendors. Additionally, we have launched new products and made investments in extra sales resources, which will drive further profitable growth in FY15.

In the Professions sector the Company’s exclusive affinity programme with the Law Society goes from strength to strength. Our flagship Practising Certificate programme for law firms, now in its eighth year, generated a record number of applicants with 96% (FY13: 73%) of all applications being received online. The improvements made to the online portal and marketing of this programme drove an improvement in total finance volume of 3%, with an unprecedented 1,760 UK law firms choosing to finance their regulatory fees with Syscap. In recognition of the progress being made and the exciting plans going forward, the Law Society decided to extend its exclusive affinity agreement with the Company.

Additionally, we have been able to grow our business volumes across our portfolio of short term loan products (e.g. Tax, Professional Indemnity Insurance, VAT), as well as launching a new short term business loan product for non-professions SME clients. This new product delivered impressive new business volume of more than £4m across 59 deals in FY14 and has excellent growth prospects in the future.

In November the Company signed an exclusive affinity agreement with the ICAEW, which will help increase penetration in the Accountancy sector. By the end of FY14 originated volumes had already exceeded £4 million and we look forward to strong growth in this sector in FY14.

Syscap’s leading brand and market position were once again recognised within the industry through a number of awards including:

  • Leasing World – Vendor Finance Lessor of the Year 2013; and
  • Leasing World – Professions Finance Provider of the Year 2013

Financial Review

The growth in origination income and vigilant control of operating expenses enabled the Company to post improved financial results in FY14. EBITDA grew by 6 per cent to £1.8 million and the continued focus on operational efficiency yielded an increase in EBITDA margin from 20 per cent to 21 per cent.

Syscap adopts a hybrid funding model to not only provide its customers with appropriate access to finance at competitive rates but also to enable it to provide a broad range of products. Syscap originates transactions for its managed portfolio, backed by wholesale finance, block discounting and a revolving credit facility, and brokes transactions to a panel of funding partners. In FY14 the total portfolio continued to perform comfortably within our range of expectations, with arrears and write-offs remaining well below market levels. This reflects well on the quality of credit decisions made and on our approach to portfolio management, which are critically important to the future aspirations of the business.

By the end of FY14 the Company had further repaid its senior debt position with the Royal Bank of Scotland to £3.9 million. Additionally, since year end the Company has repaid a further £500,000 of senior debt reducing the EBITDA multiple to below two times. Syscap also renewed its revolving credit facility of £10.75 million with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Relationships with the bank and key funding partners have never been stronger and the Company continues to have access to sufficient funding from which to meet its growth projections for the year ending 31st March 2015 (“FY15”) and beyond. The management team works closely with all key funders to develop long term, transparent and mutually profitable relationships and would like to express its thanks to our partners for their continued support, which has been critical in helping the Company to deliver improved results in FY14.

Staff

The quality, skill and endeavour of all employees at Syscap have played a fundamental role in the improved results reported today. On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their invaluable contribution.

Outlook

Syscap operates in the £170 billion UK SME financing market, providing innovative financing solutions to niche markets in the form of IT leases and short term business loans. As the UK economic recovery accelerates it is reasonable to expect an increasing demand for its products and services. Syscap will continue to selectively pursue profitable growth opportunities within its target markets, while maintaining the highest standards in credit and portfolio management. Our outlook remains positive and the Board is confident of the Company’s future prospects.

Syscap Unveils New Website

Syscap, the leading independent provider of finance, is pleased to unveil its new website. The new website has been designed to be more responsive to individual customer making the journey to specific finance solutions easier and quicker.

Syscap provides specific-purpose finance solutions to enable clients to manage their cash flow more effectively. With tailored solutions for IT suppliers – vendors and resellers; professional practices; SMEs and the education sector, Syscap serves a broad range of customers. The website meets customer needs by offering them a quick and easy route to the most appropriate product for their business purpose.

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, says: “Syscap has been offering financial solutions to our clients for nearly 25 years. Our success is based upon a good understanding of our clients; commitment to meeting their needs and a culture of fast and friendly service. Our new website has been designed to reflect all of those things.”

 

Late payment is a fact of life but does it have to be?

Cash flow is again top of the agenda for small businesses with a new study showing that the majority of businesses make late payments to suppliers. The Mastercard study found that a full 57% of businesses had deliberately delayed payments. You can read the full study here.

Despite 90% of businesses acknowledging that suppliers should be paid promptly, nearly three quarters of businesses admit that late payments are a fact of life. Cash hoarding has far-reaching impacts throughout the supply chain as many small businesses will know.

In recent years, the operating environment for has been difficult for all businesses. In the IT world in particular, IT resellers have been squeezed not only by the constraints on bank lending but by SaaS innovators which have changed customer perceptions of how to pay for software. When combined with a culture of late payments that seems to be growing, it creates particular challenges for smaller vendors and resellers.

Syscap has been providing IT finance solutions for nearly 25 years. We have worked closely with our partners and clients to respond to some of these challenges. It led us to launch Support Funder earlier this year. It allows vendors and resellers to receive upfront payments for annual revenues and removes the need for monthly invoices or administering direct debits.

We also understand that for many resellers the most important part of their business is the services and maintenance that they sell alongside the hardware and software. So we have structured the product to include intangible services. If you would like more information about Support Funder, contact us.

At Syscap, we often talk about our business being innovative and dynamic – but innovation is only relevant if it meets a customer need. To use a familiar turn of phrase, “Necessity is the mother of all invention”. Support Funder is the invention but the necessity is the culture of late payment which seems to pervade the business environment.

We often hear from our channel partners about how they have had to offer monthly direct debit options because a competitor is prepared to do it or resellers who are spending time and effort chasing invoices – even for relatively small amounts of money.

To return to our analogy, cash flow is the necessity and Support Funder is the invention. But Syscap and our channel partners are working together as proud parents in this situation. We hope that you keep giving us feedback, telling us your concerns and sharing experiences. It drives us to create better products that meet your needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Philip White, CEO

Syscap shortlisted for CRN Service Provider of the Year

Syscap, the leading independent provider of finance, has been shortlisted as Service Provider of the Year. Service Provider of the Year is one of the most hotly contested categories with over 30 entries. Syscap is the only finance provider to be shortlisted for the award.

Now in their 21st year, the CRN Channel Awards continue to represent the pinnacle of achievement in the UK market, rewarding outstanding performance in the IT channel.

With 25 categories for vendors, distributors and resellers the 2014 awards will celebrate the latest technology innovations and advancements, recognising the ingenuity and exceptional achievements of the UK channel industry over the past 12 months.

Service Provider of the Year recognises businesses which offer services to the channel. The awards will be judged upon how well each company is structured to provide services to the channel and how it has helped channel firms grow their businesses.

The awards will be announced on 13 November. The awards will be celebrated with a prestigious ceremony being held at Battersea Park Events Arena to be attended by 1,750 people.

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, says: “Syscap is delighted to be considered for this award. The CRN Awards are the leading industry event for channel firms. This is a recognition of our commitment and dedication to providing finance to channel partners, whether they are multi-region vendors or individual resellers. Our innovative Support Funder product, which offers funding for annual revenues such as support and maintenance fees, demonstrates our understanding of the needs of the channel in an ever-evolving business environment for our partners.”

What are the benefits of leasing as part of an IT deal?

Great IT sellers don’t need to just offer the latest technology, infrastructure, networking or software solutions, they also need to be able to provide the best in customer service, too. One of the most effective ways you can help benefit your clients, and for you to gain a competitive edge over your competitors, is by offering IT leasing. So here are our top tips to an IT lease.

The benefits for you:

1. Removing the barriers to sales

The ability to pay up-front, particularly for high-value products, is simply out of reach for many businesses. Particularly start-ups and smaller businesses hoping to grow. Rather than insisting on immediate payment terms, offering a leasing option to your clients may put much more of what you sell within their reach.

2. Offers opportunities to upsell or cross sell

A manageable leasing solution might not just make the product they originally wanted affordable, but you may find that there is the greater potential to sell a more premium package or cross sell addition solutions at the same time.

3. Encourages customer retention

Making your products more affordable is likely to lead to happier customers and a happy customer is more likely to have a better relationship with you and return when they have other IT requirements in the future.

4. You’ll get prompt payment

Once the lease has been arranged and the invoice sent, you’ll get 100 per cent of the sale price, while the finance company handles the lease repayments.

The benefits for your customers:

1. Easy monthly budget management

The ability to spread the cost of an IT solution creates a fixed monthly expense that can be much more straightforward for customers to factor into their monthly cash flow, with the added advantage of access to the technology from day one.

2. Keeps alternative credit lines available

Customers will enjoy the fact that they can turn to you as a ‘one-stop shop’ to both fulfil orders and get financing. Plus, they may find this type of financing easier to obtain than a bank loan. Better still, it leaves alternative lines of credit untouched and available for other projects.

3. Staying at the cutting edge

Rather than having to wait until there is money in the budget available for an up-front purchase, businesses will be more able to access the latest technology and IT solutions when they need them, rather than when they have some cash to spare.

4. The opportunity to upgrade

You don’t need us to tell you how quickly things can change and customers may need to upgrade their IT before the term of their lease is up. With the right finance partner, a reseller can build in upgrades and mitigations within the lease to allow their customers to sign a new agreement for the latest equipment or software, often without an increase to their monthly payments.

You might be more comfortable talking servers and software rather than finance terms. So don’t worry one of Syscap’s dedicated consultants can talk you through the process and is always available to deal directly with the client. Contact us to find out more.

Syscap CEO takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Philip White, Syscap’s CEO, has responded and taken up the Ice Bucket Challenge. Philip was nominated by Syscap CFO Steven Dunne, who took the challenge at the weekend.

He took the opportunity to nominate Martin Hellawell at Softcat; Andy Fox at K3 and Florent Pannequin at Sage.

Not content with one bucket, Philip was doused with two full buckets of freezing water. It has to be noted that there was no shortage of volunteers at Syscap ready to help with this challenge.

Click here to see the full video.

Tell us what you think

Here at Syscap we regularly take time out to listen to our customers. It may be a bit of a cliché but we do genuinely believe that the customer is at the heart of our business.

We have recently completed one of our peak periods with the July tax funding deadline. As this draws to a close, we have approached every single one of our customers to ask for feedback on our service. More importantly, we also want to know what we could do better next time around. With nearly 20% of our customers replying, we are confident that there is a representative sample of our customers replying.

We aren’t trying to pretend that this is corporate atruism. If we do a better job of servicing our customers, they are more likely to come back and do business with us again in future. So the feedback loop is built in to everything that we do. Below is a chart showing just how many of our customers are likely to come back to us again.

Very likely

64%

Fairly likely

21%

Neither

4%

Slightly unlikely

7%

Very unlikely

4%

To some, this looks like a great result with the responses weighted towards the “very likely”. But at Syscap we are about to begin the intense process of working out why there are so many in the bottom left who are unlikely to come back to us.

In school report terms, we would probably see this as a “Good but could do better”. We would welcome your help with that. If you are a Syscap customer or a potential customer, tell us how you think we can do just that. Your comments are welcome by emailing contact@syscap.com.

Syscap announces partnership with Swiftpage

Exclusive deal offers funding options for resellers
Syscap, the leading independent provider of finance, is partnering with Swiftpage to offer a new funding solution to its resellers. The new product can be used to spread the cost of Act! and Saleslogix licenses and annual maintenance plans over a 12 month period.

Swiftpage is a leading provider of integrated marketing and CRM solutions and is in the process of rolling out Act! Finance to its Platinum, Gold and Silver partners. The deal will allow Swiftpage resellers to present spread payment facilities to its clients – removing the upfront cost for clients.

Act! Finance runs on a revolving credit facility so that customers can continue to use the facility year after year. Documentation has been kept simple and, with no underwriting and no cost, the deals allow clients a more accurate comparison with subscription-based products.

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, says: “As an innovative software vendor, we are delighted that Swiftpage is leading the way in innovating payment terms for its clients. In a dynamic software market, the customer experience of buying a product is increasingly complex. Flexible finance options simply mean that the customer can align their purchases with their use of the product.”

“Swiftpage is committed to working with our channel partners to grow revenue by delivering a customer-centric sales process. Partnering with Syscap enables us to bring innovative funding solutions while Syscap takes care of the finance,” said Lindsay Boullin, Vice President and Head of Marketing and Operations for Swiftpage International.

 

Working together for a greater good

This was the running theme at one of our latest meetings where we had the opportunity to get together, which is crucial to the development of the team and overall success of the business.

With help from an external facilitator we used our afternoon session to focus on how we can drive Syscap forward so that we can continue to deliver exceptional results. Our starting point was that great things come from small changes and that everyone needs to come together in order to reach a common goal. In this context we were looking at our sales and marketing efforts, but believe that the same mentality can be applied to any context, which is why we thought we should share some of our thoughts from the day.

Stop accepting

In work, as well as in life, we will generally get what we accept – so if we genuinely want to improve something, we have to stop accepting the way it is now. “Stop accepting” doesn’t mean a flat refusal, which would most likely create friction and unhealthy conflict; it does mean, however, at least raising “I don’t think this is good enough”. You can’t change a culture overnight, but you do have to start somewhere.

Small improvements = sustained success

There were some great successes for Team GB at the Olympics in 2012. But one team that stood out in particular was the cycling team led by Dave Brailsford. He has been widely quoted on the importance of marginal gains.

Put simply….how small improvements in a number of different aspects of what we do can have a huge impact to the overall performance of the team.”

It’s so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis.

Almost every habit that you have – good or bad – is the result of many small decisions over time. And yet, how easily we forget this when we want to make a change.

So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

From what I can tell, this pattern works the same way in reverse. (An aggregation of marginal losses, in other words.) If you find yourself stuck with bad habits or poor results, it’s usually not because something happened overnight. It’s the sum of many small choices – a 1 percent decline here and there – that eventually leads to a problem.

We are all responsible

Very often it is seen as someone else’s problem to sort issues out. But to make improvements we must all play our part. As with so many things, it just needs people who are prepared to make a start, however big or small. It’s also fundamental that we recognise that it’s not just others this applies to – we are often most accepting of mediocrity from ourselves.

We will continue to make marginal gains in order to take small steps towards a greater, more successful and sustainable future.