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Cashflow Tips – Managing cash flow in a small business – How a cashflow can help

Cashflow Tips - Managing cash flow in a small business – How a cashflow can help

Cashflow Tips – Managing cash flow in a small business – How a cashflow can help

Here are some great tips from a great resource for managing cash flow in a small business, at the Queensland Govt site at:

http://www.business.qld.gov.au/business and under the Running a Business then – Finances cash Flow.

Managing Cashflow –

Your cash flow is the money you have coming in from revenue and going out for expenses. Good cash flow management will ensure you always have money available for paying your expenses when they are due.

Even profitable businesses can fail if cash flow is not managed properly. If you don’t have enough money available to pay your lenders or suppliers, banks may foreclose and suppliers could cut supplies.

There are many areas in your business that can impact on your cash flow. It is important to understand how customer payment terms, supplier payment terms, loan payments, future spending decisions and other items can affect your cash flow.

This guide will help you to manage your cash flow and understand how to use cash flow analysis to inform business decisions.

Plan and Monitor Cashflow

Planning and monitoring your cash flow is one of the most important things you can do when running your business. This should also include how you will address cash shortfalls or surpluses if they occur.

Forecast cash inflows against cash outflows

A cash flow statement will help you forecast your money coming in and going out. Forecasting your cash flow is usually done annually and broken down into monthly amounts. Always record the amount in the month it is expected to be spent or received. For example, electricity is usually paid quarterly so should be recorded in the month it is due.

You can use a cash flow template to forecast your annual cash flow. You will need to estimate and record the following amounts for each month:

  • total monthly cash inflow – includes sales, sales of assets, capital injections from borrowings or owners funds, interest revenue and any other sources
  • total monthly cash outflow – includes items such as purchases, loan payments, supplies, telephone, electricity, wages and any other bills
  • net cash flow – take the total outflows from the total inflows to see if there is more money in or out
  • opening balance – record your cash available at the beginning of the month
  • closing balance – calculate your funds available at the end of the month by adding the net cash flow to the opening balance. This will become your opening balance for the next month. Note: If your net cash flow is negative, this amount will be reduced.

Include GST when inserting amounts for some cash inflows (particularly sales) and many cash outflows (particularly purchases). Calculate the difference between total GST inflows and total GST outflows and insert this as GST payments.

Different businesses are subject to differing GST requirements, so you should seek specific advice from your tax adviser. Learn more about working with business advisers.

Monitor actual inflows against outflows

As each month passes it is important to record your actual cash flow. This can be compared against your forecast to see if you are tracking as planned. You may find you need to review and adjust your forecast as amounts change over the year. Always make sure your payments received match invoices issued, and receipts and payments match.

Invest surplus cash or arrange loans

If you forecast excess cash for some months, it can be worth putting it in short-term investments to maximise your income. If you anticipate any shortfalls in cash, you may want to plan to use this invested excess, or seek for an appropriate loan to temporarily cover your costs. Don’t forget to include these extra payments or receipts in your cash flow forecast.

What are your thoughts? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

0407 361 596 Aust

Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia

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Cash flow Tips – How a focus on Key KPI can impact growth – how we help our clients

Cash flow Tips – How a focus on Key KPI can impact growth – how we help our clients

Cash flow Tips – How a focus on Key KPI can impact growth – how we help our clients

Account Keeping Plus has seen real-life examples of results when you focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to impact your business growth, but coming up with which KPI numbers can seem difficult.

In fact it’s as simple as this: start with a pool of numbers that seem as though they could be important to your overall success, then rule them out one by one until the pool is small enough to count on one hand. Those are your KPIs, or critical numbers.

Here are some ways to generate a pool of possible KPI or “right numbers”:

  • Start with your top-level financial goals and targets such as the specific numbers that define success for your company.
  • Look at the things going on in your market and industry. What are the trends for the last few years? What are your customers and employees saying?
  • Look at your financial statements. Often times, the “right numbers” will include sales, gross profit and net profit from the income statement. Balance sheet numbers might include level of cash, accounts receivable, debt and equity. You may also calculate various ratios such as gross margin percent and current ratio.
  • List all the vital areas of focus – customer service, marketing, sales, products and services, production and quality – then drill deeper into each of them. These may be your various departments or they may be workflow functions independent of the department.
  • Don’t focus only on just financial measures. Operational numbers (i.e. web hits, turnaround time, customer satisfaction, etc.) can be especially helpful in analysing the progress toward your most important goals and growth.
  • Ask yourself these two questions: What numbers do you and your people currently monitor on a regular basis? How did you choose those numbers?

Now that you have a BUNCH of numbers, start the elimination game, as here is my final piece of advice for determining the metrics you’re going to track:

  • Keep the amount of information to a handful of KPI critical numbers so your attention isn’t spread. Just because you CAN measure something doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Sometimes, Less is more. Consider also having key managers taking on some of the KPIs that relate to their area – finance, production, operations, sales, marketing, etc.

Once you’ve narrowed down your KPIs, ask yourself and the team one more question: Are we monitoring the right numbers? Usually time will tell – it sorts out over a period – you’re not going to know your essential and critical numbers right away, and other times you’re spot on.

Finally, it is critical to create a system to organize your numbers. For this, consider starting a dashboard for all to see.

One client of ours, instead of showing the $, prefers to show Quotes and Invoices as Hours, with minimum targets monthly for each. So once we have checked all the accounts receivable is reconciled to deposits in his Xero, we run reports on the previous month total Quotes and total Invoiced. In excel I have created a template to enter this raw data, which is automatically converted to a number called hours (which is derived after financial review of the required $ per hour minimum to cover the business costs and wages and super currently).

I then post the numbers – above or below the Min. target on a white board in the office so all can see.

When targets are met they celebrate, when they aren’t they try to work out what has changed or been missed, and make changes to stop the retreat. And it’s engaging all staff, and creating a team effort! The KPIs are WORKING!

They are part of the AKplus service he receives from us, which includes a Business Health Review of other KPIs – Sales, Gross & Net Profit, Current Ratio. See Services in the Menu, and call to ask us to send a FREE sample of how we help businesses understand the numbers, and GROW!

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

Call 0407 361 596 Aust


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Cashflow Tips – Managing Cashflow in a small business – Key areas to watch

Cashflow Tips - Managing Cashflow in a small business – Key areas to watch

Cashflow Tips – Managing Cashflow in a small business – Key areas to watch

When you manage to make a profit in your business, part of good business finance 101 (Ground level) means now you have to follow it up with good cash flow management and the key areas to watch are given here. This requires a good understanding and keeping a close eye on what drives the cash flow – both coming in AND going out!

The key areas of good cash flow management to watch are:

  • Profitable income and increasing
  • Pricing for profit – if you’re able to increase prices, do It!
  • Timely collection from customers – don’t be a bank for them
  • Stock management – enough to sell but not too much to waste working capital
  • Good job management – finishing timely and with the best quality possible
  • Continual management and minimisation of costs and business overheads
  • Utilising all credit terms from suppliers and increasing where possible

The very best way to handle cash flow management is to have a ‘Cash Flow Projection. This is software or a spread-sheet that plots out what your expected income will be (WHEN paid, ie taking into consideration the time customers are likely to take to pay) and what the expected outgoings (actually paid) will be. As well as income it includes any other funds coming into the business, such as asset sales, tax refunds etc. Outgoings will include items such as loan repayments, tax, dividends etc. These are just as important to take into account, as their timing can have a big impact on cash flow.

What are your thoughts? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

0407 361 596 Aust

Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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Cashflow Tips – Lease or buy business vehicle and equipment?

Cashflow Tips – Lease or buy business vehicle and equipment?

Cashflow Tips – Lease or buy business vehicle and equipment?

In an interesting discussion about mistakes in business, the topic became whether to lease or buy a business vehicle or stock/equipment.

The example one business gave, was to buy outright for equipment that would have signs on it to advertise another business (he organised advertising for businesses). The issue was – spending $10,000 on the equipment took all the spare money the business owner had, while the payment for the advert was monthly over a multi-year contract.

Hindsight showed that it would have been better to get a loan for the equipment,  then add his mark-up for the advert and service on top of the monthly re-payments, and he would still have his $10,000 to use for cashflow and marketing.

“What is your tip? Consider posting a review or comment for us below!”

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / Strategy session today!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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Cash flow Tips – How we achieved steady cash flow for our client

Cash flow Tips – How we achieved steady cash flow for our client

Cash flow Tips – How we achieved steady cash flow for our client

One client was struggling – feast and famine with money coming in then drying up and bills to pay!! He couldn’t achieve steady cashflow because he was pulled with all the many tasks a growing business owner must juggle! WE have found a system that improves getting paid and is more consistent than the old traditional monthly statement and phone call method of traditional business practice.

How he was going under

One week he could get on top of who owed him what, and what he owed, then he was out of touch again within a week with calls, quotes, staff issues, client issues and so on. He’d stay up after the children and wife were in bed and it was quiet, to concentrate and get back on track – but it was making him more tired and he was being drained.

How he bit the bullet and solved the problem

  • He decided to call us back in for regular help – that would free him up to work on what he did well, and win more clients to grow his business!
  • We got all his bills to pay, nagged him to check all his emails and that all bills were emailed to our account email, and entered them in the software – about 10-15 min work – now there is a list of what is due, and when! Up to date!
  • We reconciled the bank for the last month, checked where it was at because the accountant’s office was reconciling it monthly. And checked that the last quarter was correct, as some invoices were of the same $ but remittances from clients said they paid different ones and not always the oldest! Re-did some payments, aligned the correct ones paid. Up to date!
  • We synchronized the project software with his accounts software, and checked the 2 systems had the same invoices due, by number and $ – the invoices exported into the accounts software, but unfortunately the accounts can’t update paid invoices back into the project software – hopefully this will be rectified in time! Up to date!
  • Filed all paid invoices, checking back on the bank when paid and marking clearly as paid, then put in folder alphabetically.
  • Reported on clients due – debtors – accounts receivable, in an aged report to be able to easily see what was overdue – the business had 7 day terms – of course many larger businesses ignore and still pay on 30 day cycles! There were 12 well over due, 5 just a day over due, and 10 not due as yet
  • Reminders – emailed all over due outstanding receivables with a friendly tone, and “REMINDER” at the start of the subject message so it stood out
  • System – send reminders FORTNIGHLY – not monthly! It’s too long and people forget! And for those well over due – WEEKLY email reminders

RESULT

  • Over 3 weeks the old 12 outstanding accounts were up to date except 1!
  • Only 1 client needed to be called after several reminders, excuses, requests for invoices again by accounts – the usual delay tactics that indicate possible cashflow issues!
  • Regular clients realised we were on to them straight after the 7 days due!
  • 70-80% now pay before, on time, or a day or two after the time due!
  • Client has regular income to cover expenses
  • Client is sleeping better and serving prospective and new clients with more enthusiasm and energy!
  • Low costs – all this weekly for under a few hundred dollars!!!
  • Peace of mind with professionals handling what they can do very well!

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

0407 361 596 Aust

Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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Cashflow Tips – What is the meaning of, & what does a Cashflow Statement show?

Cashflow Tips – What is the meaning of, & what does a Cashflow Statement show?

Cashflow Tips – What is the meaning of, & what does a Cashflow Statement show?

The Cashflow Statement is also called the Statement of Cashflows, and here we explain the meaning of, and look at what the statement shows us. It is one of the 3 main financial statements that businesses report on – the other 2 are Profit & Loss, and the Balance Sheet.

The cash flow statement reports the actual cash generated and used during the time interval stated in its heading. The period of time that the statement covers is chosen by the company, for example, “For the Three Months Ended 31 December, 2015” or “The Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2016”. Most common is annual.

The cash flow statement actually uses data and the CHANGES between periods from the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, and organises and reports the cash generated and used in the following categories:

Operating, Investing and Financial activities

Business Cash Flow

What the Cashflow Statement shows

The profit & loss or Income Statement is prepared under the accrual basis of accounting, meaning the sales/revenues reported may not have been collected yet. Similarly, the expenses reported on the income statement might not have been paid. You could review the balance sheet changes to determine the facts, but the cash flow statement already has integrated all that information. As a result, savvy business people and investors utilize this important financial statement.

Here are a few ways the statement of cash flows is used.

  1. The cash from operating activities is compared to the company’s net income (profit/loss). If the cash from operating activities is consistently greater than the net income, the company’s net income or earnings are said to be of a “high quality“. If the cash from operating activities is less than net income, a red flag is raised as to why the reported net income is not turning into cash.
  2. Some investors believe that “cash is king”. The cash flow statement identifies the cash that is flowing in and out of the company. If a company is consistently generating more cash than it is using, the company will be able to increase its dividend, buy back some of its stock, reduce debt, or acquire another company. All of these are seen to be good for shareholder value.
  3. There are also some financial models that use the cash flow.

The statement of cash flows has four distinct sections:

  1. Cash generated from operating activities
  2. Cash generated from investing activities
  3.  Cash generated from financing activities
  4. Supplemental information.

The differences in a company’s balance sheet accounts from one period to the next, will provide much of the needed information. The changes—or differences—in the account balances will likely be entered in one of the sections of the statement of cash flows.

Of the four sections of the statement of cash flows, those balance sheet accounts which affect each section include –

1. Operating Activities

This section reports the net income and then converts it from the accrual basis to the cash basis by using the changes in the balances of current asset and current liability accounts, such as:

  • Accounts Receivable
  • Inventory
  • Prepaid Insurance
  • Other Current Assets
  • Notes Payable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Wages Payable
  • Payroll Liabilities
  • Interest Payable
  • Income Taxes Payable
  • Unearned Revenues
  • Other Current Liabilities

Note – as well as using the changes in current assets and current liabilities, the operating activities section may list adjustments for depreciation expense and for the gains and losses on the sale of long-term assets/investments.

2. Investing Activities

This section reports changes in the balances of long-term asset accounts, such as:

  • Long-term Investments
  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Equipment
  • Furniture & Fixtures
  • Vehicles

Investing activities involve the purchase and/or sale of long-term investments and property, plant, and equipment.

3. Financing Activities

This section reports changes in balances of the long-term liability and stockholders’ equity accounts, such as:

  • Notes Payable (generally due after one year)
  • Bonds Payable
  • Deferred Income Taxes
  • Preferred Stock
  • Paid-in Capital in Excess of Par-Preferred Stock
  • Common Stock
  • Paid-in Capital in Excess of Par-Common Stock
  • Paid-in Capital from Treasury Stock
  • Retained Earnings
  • Treasury Stock

Financing activities involve the issuance and/or the repurchase of a company’s own bonds or shares as well as short-term and long-term borrowings and repayments.

4. Supplemental Information

This section of the cash flow statement reports the amount of interest and income taxes paid as well as significant exchanges not involving cash. For example, the exchange of company shares for company bonds would be reported here.

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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Cashflow Tips – I’m making a profit but no cash – why does this happen?

Cashflow Tips – I’m making a profit but no cash – why does this happen?

Cashflow Tips – I’m making a profit but no cash – why does this happen?

Is your business making a profit but no cash and you wonder why?

This may be because company reports like Profit & Loss may show you are making a profit but have no cash because profit is an accounting record using revenues and expenses, (accrual accounting) which are different from the company’s cash receipts and cash disbursements (cash accounting).

Put another way, there is a difference between revenues (invoiced sales) and receipts (actual cash receipt of payment of invoices (banked)). There is also a difference between expenses (purchase orders still to pay) and expenditures (actual payment of purchases, and overhead expenses).

Examples

  1. As an example a new company that sells $10,000 to its clients in a month and the clients are given 30 days to pay. The company will have $10,000 of revenues in its first month, but the cash will not be received until the second month. If the company’s expenses are $7,000 in the first month, the company will report a profit of $3,000 but will not have received any cash from its clients. It may not have been paid, and it may not have paid its expenses either.
  2. Another company might report a profit of $60,000 in its first year, but during its first year it uses $65,000 of cash to acquire equipment that will be put into service at the beginning of the second year. This company will have a profit, but will not have the cash.
  3. Other times cash is paid out, but the profits are not reduced at the time of the payment, because they don’t pay for expenses but pay loans, payroll PAYG or super or for stock – they go to the Balance Sheet and include prepayments of insurance, payments to increase the inventory of merchandise on hand, and payments to reduce liabilities.

Keep in mind that Profit does not equal cash: It is as simple as that!

Profit is the accounting record of what is left after you have made sales and raised all expenses. Of course, remember there is tax on the profit as well. The remaining amount is then reinvested back into the business or distributed to the owners.

Cash is what the business needs to operate every day and can come from 5 different main sources — profit, selling assets, contributing your own personal funds, bank loans or new investor money.

Cash and Timing

The key to remember is that you don’t spend profit in our business — you spend cash, and it is all in the timing.

There are 2 timing situations to be aware of –

Firstly as the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. To make a profit, you first need to purchase goods or services to sell, so you will need cash before the sale is made. By selling your product or service at a higher price than what it cost, you make a profit.  The point is you need the cash before you get the profit, or get credit and pay the supplier later!

Secondly (that catches most businesses) is providing credit to customers. The longer the customer takes to pay, the longer you have to wait for the cash, and in the meantime you have wages, rent, stock and other expenses to pay. This is where the trouble begins and often ends.

Focus on what matters – cashflow

You need to focus on not only profit but also what drives your cashflow. If you have regular loan repayments, rent and other expenses that have to be made on time, then you will need enough cash to cover these while you wait for your customers to pay. Keeping track of your accounts receivable and following up on late payments will definitely help your cashflow. The other thing to remember is if you can get credit from your suppliers, this may mean that you don’t have to pay for stock until you have sold it — again making a big difference to your cash flow.

The business needs to be profitable to stay in business. Be careful of sacrificing profits to generate cash. Offering discounts to pay early will definitely help your cash position but will reduce your profit.

The best management is to make sure you have enough cash buffer to cover ongoing expenses. Having a finance facility (overdraft, credit card) can help that will tide you over during a cash flow shortage, but this will cost in the form of fees and interest, which again, will reduce your profit.

Remember profit does not equal cash!

See more help at Cashflow Tips

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Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia