Hand using pen on sheet with graphs managing cash flow in business
Managing costs

Tips for maintaining and managing good cash flow

Having adequate working capital at all times is really important, and managing this capital carefully is critical.

Managing cash flow involves keeping a vigilant eye on revenue, cost structure, the quality of your business plan, and your capital structure. 

This way, you can ensure your business remains cash flow positive at all times.

Best practice tips for cash flow management

  • Have a properly structured balance sheet that has all the details, from inventory and debts to interest costs.

  • Know your business’ balance sheet back to front and understand the numbers. This is vital in managing cash flow and budgeting.

  • Review your P&L statements comprehensively at least quarterly and preferably monthly to identify trends and track progress against budgets and targets, whether or not times have been good.

  • A crucial part of managing cash flow for small business is knowing where every dollar and cent is being spent. Every dollar saved is a dollar straight on the bottom line, whereas a sale carries with it direct costs and overheads.

  • Keep a close eye on margins to ensure costs aren’t creeping up.

  • Construct a useful cash flow projection, which is your ‘best guess’ at the business’ cash inflows and outflows over a period of time.

  • Review and adjust your projection regularly.

  • Work with your accountant to learn how to manage cash flow in your business. Depending on your specific situation they may recommend doing cash flow budgeting on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, and advise you on a range of issues including which invoices you should pay and who will pay you. 

  • Keep good records of supplier transactions. This will give you better leverage in negotiating more favourable terms and prices.

  • Regularly review your suppliers, such as your insurance or energy plan. 

  • Get the payment cycle right for creditors and debtors.

  • Update and review your business’ cash flow budget regularly, using conservative revenue and expense estimates. This will forewarn you about potential cash shortages. It will also help build your business’ credit track record.

  • Don’t just focus on your business’ profit and loss statement to the exclusion of all else. Be aware that healthy profits can sometimes mask a developing cash flow crisis.

  • Keep your working capital and business bank account separate from your personal bank account.

  • Avoid giving family members credit cards on the business account.

  • Use purchase orders to reduce discretionary staff spending.

  • Draw a wage or salary for yourself rather than just drawing on the account for personal expenses as needed. This can be unmanageable, time-consuming and costly.

  • Be aware that rapid growth can often result in a cash crunch.

  • If your business has a floating interest rate loan, talk to your accountant about the benefits of locking in your loan’s interest rate for a defined period to avoid the impact of increased interest rates.

  • Consider the benefits of protecting your bottom line profitability and minimising the impact of additional interest costs bypassing any costs on to customers as they arise.

  • Check all supplier invoices carefully for accuracy.

  • Spread the payments of invoices over the month when payments actually fall due rather than having one day per month designated to pay invoices.

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*Based on 958 meters switched between 1 July 2019 to 3 April 2020

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