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Managing Cash Flow: A Crucial Step in Managing a Successful Business

Do the words 'cash flow' strike terror deep within you? If
you are in business, you know that cash is king. If you run out of cash, you
basically are out of business. Therefore it’s a smart idea to pay attention to
your cash and your cash flow. Using financial tools such as software can help ensure
you manage your cash flow well. Even
a profitable business can go out of business if they don't manage their cash
flow well. No cash flow=no business. Here are some tips on cash flow to keep in
mind. Consider these points for managing your cash flow better.

Profit or loss does not equal cash

  This is because profit and loss are only one contributor
to cash flow, and there are other equally important factors to consider:  inventory management, accounts receivable,
accounts payable, capital purchases, loans and debt payments, and timing. Considering
profit and loss equivalent to cash flow is a mistake, since it does not take
into account other important factors.

Software programs can help manage your
cash flow.

Good accounting
software will let you budget income & expenses and will in exchange budget
your cash flow. This makes it easier to make wise spending decisions, and not
to overspend. After all, it's hard to argue with the facts when they are
sitting right there in front of you! Cash flow reports can also be a great
help. These reports show information about the cash intakes and outflows for
your business for the selected date range.

Good cash flow budgeting can save you

Creating and
sticking to a budget can help you in many different ways. Not only can you make
better and more profitable decisions, but you can also pay less in late fees,
attain discounts for paying early, and you can even lessen or eliminate your
need for short term loans, sparing you the cost of paying interest. The flip
side of this is also true:  if you don't
analyze and plan your cash flow, it will cost you!

Use budgeting and financial analysis
tools to do "what if" analysis

.  Using your financial and
budgeting software to help you run 'what-if' scenarios can be helpful for your
bottom line, and can therefore help improve your cash flow. For example, if I
purchase an updated piece of equipment, what will the short and long term
financial affects be? Using 'what-if' analysis can help keep your expenses in
check, which can in turn improve your cash flow.

Pay close
attention to your cash flow, use every tool at your disposal to help you, and
you will be on the road to better cash flow and a flourishing business.

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