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Internal Sources of Finance vs. External Sources of Finance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on March 1, 2024
Internal sources of finance are funds generated within a company, while external sources involve obtaining capital from outside the organization.

Key Differences

Internal sources of finance, such as retained earnings, are generated from within the company and offer higher control and fewer formalities. External sources, like bank loans, come from outside investors or institutions and often involve more compliance and reduced control.
Utilizing internal sources of finance does not dilute ownership or alter management control. In contrast, external financing, particularly equity financing, can lead to shared ownership and influence over company decisions.
Internal financing is generally considered less costly as it does not involve interest payments or fees, making it a more accessible option for many businesses. External sources, while providing larger sums, come with costs like interest or dividends and might require collateral.
Internal sources are more suited for routine business needs or smaller investments due to limited availability. External sources, however, are essential for significant expansions or capital-intensive projects that exceed internal capabilities.
Internal financing is typically seen as less risky, as it does not increase debt or obligations. External finance, however, introduces risks like debt burden but offers more flexibility in terms of the amount and timing of funds.

Comparison Chart


Generated within the company
Obtained from outside investors or institutions

Ownership Impact

Does not dilute ownership
May involve shared ownership and decision-making

Cost and Accessibility

Generally lower cost, more accessible
Higher costs due to interests or fees, requires approval


Suited for routine needs or smaller investments
Necessary for large projects or expansions

Risk and Flexibility

Lower risk, limited by available internal funds
Higher risk, but offers greater flexibility in fund amount

Internal Sources of Finance and External Sources of Finance Definitions

Internal Sources of Finance

Funds generated from a company's own operations, like profits.
The company used its retained earnings, an internal source of finance, for facility upgrades.

External Sources of Finance

Financial support from government grants or subsidies.
The renewable energy project was funded by government grants, an external source of finance.

Internal Sources of Finance

Capital sourced from the company's assets, such as inventory sales.
Selling off old equipment, an internal source of finance, helped fund the new product line.

External Sources of Finance

Funds obtained through loans or credit facilities.
The company secured a bank loan, an external source of finance, for its new factory.

Internal Sources of Finance

Financial support derived from cost-saving measures.
By reducing operational expenses, the company created an internal source of finance for R&D.

External Sources of Finance

Capital raised from outside investors or financial institutions.
The startup raised capital through a venture capital firm, an external source of finance.

Internal Sources of Finance

Revenue reinvested from the business's ongoing activities.
The firm's expansion was financed through reinvestment of profits, an internal source of finance.

External Sources of Finance

Financing acquired by issuing shares to the public.
The business went public, using share issuance as an external source of finance.

Internal Sources of Finance

Financial resources accumulated from past earnings or reserves.
The company tapped into its reserves, an internal source of finance, during the market downturn.

External Sources of Finance

Borrowing from bonds or debentures issued to investors.
The corporation issued bonds as an external source of finance for its international expansion.


Do external finances affect company control?

Yes, especially with equity financing, which can dilute ownership.

Can internal finance support large projects?

It's often limited to smaller investments due to fund availability.

What are external sources of finance?

Capital obtained from outside investors, loans, or share issuance.

Is using internal finance cheaper?

Generally yes, as it avoids interest and fees.

What are internal sources of finance?

Funds generated within a company from operations or assets.

Are bank loans an internal or external finance source?

External, as they involve borrowing from outside entities.

Does internal financing involve debt?

No, it typically does not increase company debt.

Do external funds require collateral?

Often, especially in the case of loans.

Are government grants considered external finance?

Yes, as they are funds from an external entity.

Is selling company assets internal or external finance?

Internal, as it involves liquidating company-owned resources.

Can external financing improve creditworthiness?

Yes, if managed well, it can enhance a company's credit profile.

Is crowdfunding an external finance source?

Yes, as it involves raising funds from the public.

Are retained earnings a reliable internal finance source?

Yes, if the company consistently generates profits.

Is reinvesting profits an internal finance method?

Yes, it's a common form of internal financing.

What's the risk of using internal finance?

Limited growth potential due to constrained funds.

Can internal finance lead to underinvestment?

Yes, if there's insufficient capital for growth opportunities.

What's an example of external equity financing?

Issuing new shares of stock to the public.

How does internal finance affect cash flow?

It can stabilize cash flow by avoiding new debt.

Is venture capital internal or external finance?

External, as it involves investment from outside firms.

Can external finance accelerate business growth?

Yes, it can provide significant capital for expansion.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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