44% of small businesses have reported using external finance facilities in Q2 2013, according to the latest SME Finance Monitor report, up from 39% in Q1. The use of alternative forms of finance, including invoice finance facilities such as invoice discounting and invoice factoring, also rose to 21%, increasing from a high of 15% in previous quarters. The well-respected survey, which takes into the account the views of 45,000 SME owners, suggested that sustainable alternative solutions such as invoice finance were being used by more and more businesses. The uptake in credit cards and overdrafts by businesses remained flat however. CEO of ABFA, Kate Sharp, commented on the increase in use of alternative finance: “SMEs are expanding their use of non-traditional forms of finance as awareness of ABF product grows”. SBF Sales & Marketing Director, Andy Grantham, said: “Invoice finance can prove especially beneficial for businesses looking for growth, as the amount a business can access actually increases as the firm issues more invoices”. “The fact that funds available through invoice finance increase in line with a business’ growth makes it a very sustainable and worthy alternative to the more traditional types of finance facility”, he concluded.