In this article I hope to shed the light and “ungeek” the term “cash flow”. We will discuss “cash flow” under the following headlines.
What is Cash Flow
Why is Cash Flow so important?
Top Tips from UFirst Bookkeepers
Cash Flow Template
What is cash flow
Cash Flow is the movement of cash within the business.
There are 2 ways cash can flow into a business
- Cash Inflow
- Cash Outflow
When cash comes into the business, that’s when we have a cash inflow. This can come in the form of
- When you provide a service and a customer pays for it.
- A customer pays for a meal in your restaurant
- A client pays for their haircut
- When you sell your stock and get paid
On the contrary, when cash goes out of the business we have a cash outflow. Examples include:
- When you pay wages and salaries
- When you pay your creditors
- When you buy stationery
- When you buy a new computer
Why is Cash Flow so important
To build a profitable business
When the cash coming into the business is less than the cash coming out of the business, the business is known to be running a loss.
Statistics indicate that being paid late is one of the biggest contributors to cash flow stress.
A cash flow forecast will help you identify potential cash shortfalls and help you manage your outgoings so that you do not get into a cash crunch.
Knowing when money is coming in and when it is going out will help you to plan and make better decisions for your business
More resources to expand your business
Positive cash flow can mean more resources to expand with or invest in new ventures for your business. Having an awareness of when your business is making the most and spending the most will help you investigate on when the best time to invest in that expansion (in relation to your business) truly is.
Stay ahead of trends and keep up with competition
Cash flowing positive means you are in a better position to keep up with current trends. As well as identifying your position in relation to the competitors and how you can further propel your business forward.
Maintain good relationships with your suppliers
Positive cash flow means you can pay your suppliers. Keeping good relationships requires a good management of the money you owe them and when you pay them.
See our article on managing your accounts payable.
Maintaining a cash flow will let you know when you should or should not be ordering.
Timing your receipts and payments will ensure that you are maintaining good relationships with your suppliers.
UFirst Bookkeepers Top Cash Flow Tips
We have gathered these tips from our own experience, as well as from the businesses who we have the opportunity to work with. We’ll see how they are running their operations successfully.
- Cash Flow Forecast
Do a cash flow forecast regularly and update it with any new outgoings and incoming cash flow.
- Be Realistic
Unless there have been concrete changes be realistic. Use last year’s figures with an adjustment for inflation or business environment
- Reconcile actuals versus forecast
If you also create a budget you can do a variance (otherwise known as differences) analysis.
Lets say that you had budgeted $200 for a telephone bill, but when the time comes you end up paying $1000. You will have a negative variance on your telephone account. Find out why the bill was high? Was your forecast out? Correct this so that your cash flow forecast provides you with a realistic estimate.
Reconcile this cash flow with another tool such as a system generated report like an open invoices report in QuickBooks Online.
- Bank Reconciliations
Do your bank reconciliations often. This is part of knowing when and how much cash is coming in and when and how much cash is going out of your business.
- Do an accounts payable aging analysis
One of the most common mistakes we make in business is not having a proper handle on when and what bills are due.
Stay on top of your bills. Know who you owe money to, and when it is due. See our article on managing your accounts payable.
- Do a receivables aging analysis
Similarly to the last point, its important for your business to make a note of who owes you money and when they are likely to pay. See our article on managing your accounts receivable to help your cash flow.
- Manage your inventory existing and incoming
Pay attention to slow moving inventory or stock. Consider offering discounts or discontinuing certain products. Your operation cycle and your cash flow forecast will be useful tools to determine what and when you need to order.
8. Do Accounting Ration Analysis.
9. Manage your government liabilities.
You may have heard the saying that there are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes.This is certainly true and part of our cash flow diligence as business owners should be to make sure we have enough money to pay our government obligations. Most business end up having to pay penalties for late payments or failure to submit returns.
If you are registered for GST you normally get back the tax you paid on business expenses.
Set aside a percentage towards obligations such as wages, quarterly government and other liabilities such as Superannuation, PAYG wtax, PAYG income tax and GST.
Do you feel like you do not have a grip on your cashflow? Book your free Business Discovery session here.
All information provided in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be business or personal financial, tax or investment advice. Also, as changes in legislation may occur frequently we recommend that you contact us for our formal advice where it is within the scope of our services or an expert before acting on the basis of this information.