Navigating asset finance

Ask yourself the right questions

Choosing the right type of asset finance can help save you time and money to invest in growing your business. You can also reduce the risk of owning obsolete equipment and there can be various tax outcomes too.

When considering asset finance options, ask yourself:

  • how much capital do I need to grow my business?
  • when do I need to smooth the bumps in my cash flow?
  • what are the tax outcomes of asset financing?
  • how long will I need the equipment and will I need to upgrade it?
  • is technology rapidly changing in my industry?
  • do I want to 'finance to own' or 'finance to return' my asset?

Generally speaking, asset finance options include: Commercial Hire Purchases; Financial and Operating Leases; Chattel Mortgages; Novated Leases; and Technology Rentals. Each is suited to different commercial circumstances, so when considering your options, you may want to talk to your accountant or tax advisor. Below is an introduction to these main types of asset finance.

Commercial Hire Purchase

With this type of finance, you hire and use the asset until the last payment. When you make the final instalment, title of the asset transfers to you. You can tailor payment options, including the loan period, a deposit and a larger final balloon payment. To help manage your cash flow, structured payments can be established according to your cash flow.

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Chattel Mortgage

Chattel Mortgages are a popular finance solution where you own the asset from the outset and your loan agreement is secured by the asset. You can tailor your loan payments by choosing the term — typically up to five years. Other payment options can include a deposit and a larger final instalment. You can also structure payments to free up cash flow at the times of year you need it most.

Finance Lease

With a Finance Lease, the financier owns the asset however you bear the risk of disposal (of the asset) at the end of lease. This type of lease can benefit businesses that need the latest vehicles or equipment without tying up a large amount of capital. You can choose lease payments in advance or arrears and terms up to five years. A residual value is required in line with the asset’s use and the Australian Taxation Office’s guidelines.

Novated Lease

If you want to include a vehicle in your salary package, a Novated Lease can help. The financier owns the asset, while you and your employer sign a novation agreement to share the responsibilities of the loan. Typically loan terms are from 12 months to 5 years. Monthly lease payments and a final residual payment are based on your circumstances and guidelines set by the Australian Taxation Office. If you are interested in a Novated Lease, talk to your HR department for options.

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Operating Leases

Operating Leases can often be used to fund a number of different assets. Payments towards this type of finance can sometimes be considered operating costs and will not appear as a liability on your balance sheet

Leasing can reduce the risk of owning obsolete equipment.

Fleet Operating Lease

With this type of finance, the financier owns the vehicle and the client returns it at the end of the term, usually from 12 months to 5 years. When leasing a vehicle, the fixed monthly payments typically cover registration, insurance, tyres and scheduled servicing and maintenance. For a small business, a Fleet Operating Lease can help free up time and resources.

Technology Rentals / Lease

Technology can change quickly and often the large up-front costs of purchasing the latest equipment will make a big dent in your cash flow. Renting rather than owning technology can help reduce the risk of owning obsolete equipment while preserving cash to grow your business.

Similar to a Fleet Lease, the financier owns the equipment and the client returns it at the end of the term, usually within 3 years. The term and payment frequency of rental agreements can often be adjusted to meet a company’s budget and unique business requirements.

There are a range of different forms of commercial loans and leases available in the market and these are governed by certain conditions and circumstances which may exclude you. We recommend that you talk to a financial adviser to see which solution is right for you.

This article was originally published by Macquarie Bank and is re-produced with permission.

MIPS has developed financial literacy units in conjunction with Kaplan, a distinguished provider of financial literacy education. Access to this education is available to all MIPS members at no additional cost.

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General advice statement

We hope that the information and general advice we provide will help you make a more informed decision. The information on this website is for general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. MIPS is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice in light of your own circumstances and read the relevant product disclosure statement and financial services guide before you acquire any financial product. If you decide to apply for a product you will be dealing directly with that provider and not with MIPS.

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