Cash flow management keeps track of how much money you get coming in and going out.
This is over and above what is currently in the bank, also taking into account money owed to you by others, as well as any outstanding debts or scheduled payments you have.
It also includes taking steps to keep your finances healthy, both now and in the future.
You can do this for your personal finances, but in this article we explore what managing cash flow means for your business.
What is cash flow management in business?
When it comes to cash flow management in business, you still track money coming in and going out, but there are different factors to consider and manage.
Your business likely has multiple streams of income, including sales, loans, equity and investment income.
It also has more complex costs such as payroll, manufacturing, marketing, taxes, energy bills and rent.
The motivations for good cash flow management vary across businesses as well.
The people who work for you rely on company finances for their livelihood, and your profit margins can increase if your operations are stable and efficient.
Why is cash flow important?
No matter what type of business you are in, you cannot overstate the importance of cash flow.
By managing it properly, you will be able to ensure your business is safe and profitable, as well as gain a number of benefits:
Forecasting investment opportunities
Prepare for future opportunities with complete visibility into your business finances.
With predictable cash flow, you understand what funds will be available and when, so you can make timely investment decisions.
Proper cash flow management ensures that you have money to pay your employees and suppliers.
Not only is this important for your business, but it also boosts your credibility outside of the organization.
This is important if you want to attract investors or potential buyers who will want to understand the financial health of your business.
Understand company costs
If you make investment and purchasing decisions without properly managing cash flow, you limit the amount of business growth.
If done right, you can build a solid spending profile to better understand where your money is going.
This helps you make vital decisions, such as where to allocate more money and where to cut unnecessary expenses.
Build emergency cash reserves
The economy can change in an instant. Therefore, all businesses need access to cash so they can adapt when needed.
Manage your cash flow to keep your finances in a positive state with a cash reserve means you can absorb the impact of any unexpected changes and adjust your business quickly.
What are some business cash flow problems?
If you’re not keeping a close eye on your income and expenses, you’re likely to run into some business cash flow problems.
They can put serious pressure on your business and, at worst, threaten your ability to continue.
If you end up withdrawing more money than you entered, even temporarily, you may find yourself in one of the following situations:
- Inability to pay employees.
- Can’t secure a business loan with a good interest rate.
- Unable to pay suppliers or order stock.
- Unable to fulfill customer orders.
- It is impossible to invest in rare opportunities.
- Unable to repay loans, incurring more debt.
How to improve cash flow management
All businesses face cash flow problems at some point.
Maybe you have customers who pay late, get hit by unexpected energy price hikes, or experience a drop in sales when a new competitor enters the market.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation, there are still ways you can turn the situation around.
Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about how to improve your cash flow management:
Perform cash flow strategy planning
Build a custom cash flow strategy by setting strict budgets, identifying and reducing overspends, and building cash reserves for any unforeseen expenses.
You can use scenario planning to decide how you will deal with falling income and increasing expenses.
Here you also set financial goals, look for potential ways to save money, and manage the risk of potential losses.
Set cash flow goals
To build a solid financial foundation, you need to be intentional about what you want your cash flow to look like.
By setting clearly defined cash flow goals, you can measure your progress toward improving cash flow management and adjust your approach over time.
These goals should also be shared within your business so that everyone knows what you’re trying to achieve and can help you achieve it.
Use cash flow management tools
You can massively improve your ability to track and influence your cash flow with the right tools.
Anything that gives you more visibility into your finances will help, and you’ll want to use one that gives you insights on real-time data.
Accounting software that helps you run financial reports quickly, with the ability to customize fields to include only the information you need, is powerful for understanding your business’s financial position.
For more ways to improve, read our cash flow management tips article.
Understanding and properly managing the money coming in and going out of your business is essential to keeping it healthy.
In today’s changing economy, you need quick access to financial information to make decisions, keep growth on track, and take advantage of any exciting opportunities.
With more knowledge and visibility into your business’s financial position, you can avoid difficult cash flow problems before they happen and find the best way to secure the funds your business needs at critical times.
So start prioritizing cash flow management with a solid strategy, measurable goals, and tools that keep you on top of your business finances.