Seizing an opportunity for growth, responding to threats quick-smart and keeping stakeholders happy – these are all hallmarks of good business. And they all require good cash flow management.
In fact, cash flow management can make or break a business. According to global commercial insight specialists D&B, poor cash flow is the reason for four out of every five small business failures.
“Even if you’re making a profit, if you don’t have enough liquid assets available to pay your bills, you’re going to struggle to stay afloat,” says D&B in their special report on cash flow forecasting.
What is a cash flow forecast?
A cash flow forecast is an educated guess of your incoming and outgoing cash for a future period, and helps you plan your payments to ensure you’re not hit by unexpected cash shortfalls.
Unlike cash flow tracking, which is a literal record of payments made and received, a cash flow forecast is a forward projection on where you estimate your cash will be in the short and long term.
Why do you need one?
Simply put, if your enterprise runs out of cash and can’t pay expenses, it will become insolvent.
Having a plan of attack to make sure you’re never in a cashless situation is therefore vital to the survival of any small business.
Here are some of the key reasons why a cash flow forecast is so important:
Avoid nasty shocks – there is nothing worse than having to put off that new equipment purchase or being late on the staff payroll because an unexpected bill. A cash flow forecast allows you to anticipate where your cash will be at any given time, ensuring there are no unwelcome shortfalls.
Build trust – through sound cash flow management you will always have enough cash in the bank to promptly pay creditors. Everyone likes a reliable business partner, and having a reputation for being trustworthy will make you more likely to obtain trust-based benefits, such as loans and credit, in the future.
Stay legal – as the owner of a business you have a legal responsibility to make sure you don’t trade while insolvent. The best way to do this is to understand and plan for your future cash flow to make sure there is always enough in the bank.
Capitalise on the good times – whether its expanding your service offering, relocating or renovating, if you can predict your cash flow you can plan ahead for investments to ensure you take that next big step when you’re flush with cash.
Stay sane – managing your cash flow is not just about managing your bottom line – a cash crisis can be emotionally devastating. Having control over your cash flow means your staff never have to worry about a late pay check, and you don’t have to worry about explaining a crisis to your creditors.
The good news? We’ve done all this before and know how to formulate a strategy so that the only surprises you get are good ones.
Of course, every business is different and we make it a priority to get to know the complexities of your business. Working on your cash flow management will not only help you avoid nasty shocks, it will help you plan to grow your business.
Disclaimer: This article is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account the financial situation of any particular person. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances, and when appropriate, seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright and various other Intellectual Property Rights, and is not to be reproduced or republished unless prior written consent has been given.
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