Cash flow, which lies at the heart of any small business, represents one of the most common reasons for early business failure. So how can a small business keep an extremely close eye on daily credits and debits? How can the business stop spending more cash than it receives and ensure that there is always sufficient cash in the bank? The answer lies in cash flow forecasting.
Cash flow Forecasting
Finding the right accounting software to make this task easier for the small business and to help increase the positive earnings can sometimes be overwhelming. One criterion for choosing good accounting software is to assess the kind of features, the accounting software provides for cash flow forecasting.
Good accounting software should have the ability to accurately, record the flow of money into the business, from the sales or services. Compare this with the money, which flows out through periodic spend, such as monthly expenses. Cash flow forecasting essentially allows you, to plan the future cash requirements of the business. It is an estimate of what cash goes into the bank account, of the business and what cash, goes out of the bank account. The result of the forecast, being the bank balance at the end of each period.
When looking for the right accounting software, one secret is to compare which accounting software is best at managing the gap. The lag between money, that comes into your small business and when, bills are due to be paid. In some cases, the gap could be small like weeks, which helps to improve the business earnings, while in other cases it could be months, which represents a bad position. The key here is to focus on accounting software, which has proactive features.
Some business owners spend valuable time preparing forecasts on spreadsheets, setting up basic templates and entering in figures. This serves to perfect a suitable level of information, without considering whether there is a better way. Creating a cash flow forecast for various purposes can prove tricky, which can sometimes mean cash is just a balancing figure act. A further consideration, is weighing the time spent creating the spreadsheet, with the cost of purchase.
Another consideration, when it comes it comes to functionality of accounting software, is the ability to produce consolidated cash forecasts for multiple departments. Time is often of the essence for many small business owners, so an easy -to-use accounting software, which is flexible and enables the business to quickly get together a cash forecast should be at the top of your agenda. This makes the process of performing a cash flow analysis easier.
Cash Flow Analysis
Accounting software can help a small business owner, better analyse and identify revenue problems using your cash flow statement. Performing a cash flow analysis is probably one of the most important functions for any small business.
The statement identifies where the money, is coming into your business and where you are spending money. It represents the primary source of information for use in the analysis to determine the value of a business. The cash flow statement is also very significant for a small business because it does not include credit accounts, in contrast to the other financial statements.
The right accounting software should comprise of features, which can be used to measure and standardize expenses on a periodic basis, in order to help the business, better identify which areas need more control.
The small business can use accounting software to provide a proper cash analysis, which improves the performance of the business and forms the basis for success. Accounting software can be effective for the cash flow analysis, within three key areas, that form the foundation of the business; core operations, investments and financing. Choosing the right accounting software, which provides an effective model to manage these areas, helps analyse your cash flow better and improve the health of your business.
The accounting software also needs to be able to take into consideration, factors such as inventory position, as well as receivables and payables in order to predict accurate cash flow. When choosing the right accounting software, for the business, to perform cash flow analysis, quick, efficient accounting software makes it cost effective to improving the cash flow of your small business.
Improving Cash Flow
Generating a good cash flow analysis using the right accounting software, enables the small business owner to assess whether the cash going into the business is healthy. Good accounting software enables the small business owner, to easily, generate financial statements help the small business management forecast future financial activities.
The accounting software should have functionality, which will enable the business owner to monitor useful factors, which affect the earnings of the small business. An instance would include monitoring whether there is an excess of products on the inventory or monitoring the business to ensure invoices sent to customers and paid on time.
Another aspect to consider would be the patterns in customer payments and quickly identify potential shortfalls. These aspects may appear small, but overlooked can have a big impact on the earnings of the business. The small business owner needs accounting software, which enables the business to have all the important information required for efficient business planning to hand.
The Small Business Software Guide offers the following tips on how to improve cash flow with 3 productive steps the small business can take today by choosing the right accounting software, to make changes for a better future.
This is the first and most important factor when considering cash flow improvements in the small business, invoicing on time and to be paid on time. Look through the list of your existing customers and isolate the slow payers. Contact them to assess the reason for slow payments, their reason could be genuine and will help the business understand, how best to deal with them in the future. Revise the method of payment to make it easier for the customers with different profiles. Another area would be to focus on devising strategies for increasing sales in cash payment areas and increasing prices for slow payers.
The effective management of the inventory is one of the biggest challenges for a small business, which puts a heavy drain on the cash flow. The inventory represents the cash of the small business, which is tied up and cannot be used until sold. Reducing the inventory leads to an increase in cash available to run the small business. This can be achieved by using accounting software, which works with demand driven functionality.
It is important to ensure that the business has established the purchasing terms at the start of the business relationship. Review the purchasing arrangements, where necessary and supplier relationships, to evaluate alternative payment terms. Renegotiate terms where necessary for more flexible terms and take advantage of any offers, which identify potential areas for savings.
Finally, always inform your suppliers and bank at an early stage when “warning signs” start to show.
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