Sources of finance are the most explored area especially for the entrepreneurs about to start a new business. It is perhaps the toughest part of all the efforts. There are various sources of finance classified based on time period, ownership and control, and source of generation of finance.


The process of selecting right source of finance involves in-depth analysis of each and every source of finance. For analyzing and comparing the sources of finance, it is required to understand all characteristics of the financing sources. There are many characteristics on the basis of which sources of finance are classified.

On the basis of a time period, sources are classified into long term, medium term, and short term. Ownership and control classify sources of finance into owned capital and borrowed capital. Internal sources and external sources are the two sources of generation of capital. All the sources of capital have different characteristics to suit different types of requirements. Let’s understand them in a little depth.




Sources of financing a business are classified based on the time period for which the money is required. Time period is commonly classified into following three:

  • Long Term Sources of Finance:


Long-term financing means capital requirements for a period of more than 5 years to 10, 15, 20 years or maybe more depending on other factors. Capital expenditures in fixed assets like plant and machinery, land and building etc of a business are funded using long-term sources of finance. Part of working capital which permanently stays with the business is also financed with long-term sources of finance. Long term financing sources can be in form of any of them:


  • Share Capital or Equity Shares
  • Preference Capital or Preference Shares
  • Retained Earnings or Internal Accruals
  • Debenture / Bonds
  • Term Loans from Financial Institutes, Government, and Commercial Banks
  • Venture Funding
  • Asset Securitization
  • International Financing by way of Euro Issue, Foreign Currency Loans, ADR, GDR etc.


  • Medium Term Sources of Finance:


Medium term financing means financing for a period of 3 to 5 years. Medium term financing is used generally for two reasons. One, when long-term capital is not available for the time being and second, when deferred revenue expenditures like advertisements are made which are to be written off over a period of 3 to 5 years. Medium term financing sources can in the form of one of them:


  • Preference Capital or Preference Shares
  • Debenture / Bonds
  • Medium Term Loans from
    • Financial Institutes
    • Government, and
    • Commercial Banks
  • Lease Finance
  • Hire Purchase Finance.


  • Short Term Sources of Finance: Short term financing means financing for a period of less than 1 year. Need for short term finance arises to finance the current assets of a business like an inventory of raw material and finished goods, debtors, minimum cash and bank balance etc. Short term financing is also named as working capital financing. Short term finances are available in the form of:


  • Trade Credit
  • Short Term Loans like Working Capital Loans from Commercial Banks
  • Fixed Deposits for a period of 1 year or less
  • Advances received from customers
  • Creditors
  • Payables
  • Factoring Services
  • Bill Discounting etc.


There are two main categories of sources from which the firm can get the required funds for their business. These are:


 (1) Internal sources; and

(2) External sources.

When the businessman invests his own money (called owner’s capital), and retains a part of the profits earned in the business it constitute the internal sources of finance. It is an integral part of every business organisation and it is cost effective. But, this source has its own limitations. Hence the business houses have to resort to the external sources of finance. The various external sources from where businessmen can get the finance include, friends and relatives, banks and other financial institutions, moneylenders, capital market, manufacturers and producers, customers, foreign financial institutions and agencies, etc. It is observed that the scope of raising funds also depends upon the nature and form of business organisation.


The following are the usual sources of finance. (a) Capital Market (b) Financial Institutions (c) Public Deposits (d) Commercial Banks (e) Leasing Companies (f) Investment Trusts (g) Retained Profits

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