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How AP/AR Processing Impacts Cashflow Management

Cashflow management is a critical part of running a business. Without cash in the bank, your company can’t function! Cash is necessary for nearly every aspect of running a company, so you need to look to the future to ensure that you have the funds that are needed for upcoming expenses.

Unfortunately, cash flow is an issue that many business owners face. Have you found yourself in a situation where you aren’t sure if there will be enough cash to cover payroll or buy new inventory? Your business can’t move forward if you don’t have employees or product to sell. So, it is important that you make a few changes so that you always have the cash flow needed to keep your company running.

Foundation of Cashflow Management: AP/AR

When are you are working to improve your business cash flow, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable should be the area where you direct your focus. Invoices that are coming in and going out will impact the money that moves through your bank account. Accounts Receivable encompasses the money that is owed to you by clients and customers. Accounts Payable includes the money that you owe suppliers and vendors. You also need to be aware of potential shortfalls, which are times when the incoming funds won’t cover outgoing expenses.

Accounts Receivable has an obvious impact on cash flow since it is an overall picture of the money that you will be receiving from clients and customers. Sometimes, companies get behind in their invoicing, which delays the receipt of money because the invoices are so late. If you want to be paid, then you need to be sure that the invoices are sent promptly.

Also, late invoicing can be a problem for your clients who are trying to manage their own cash flow. Whether you are dealing with business-to-business transactions or you have individuals who are buying your services, most people will need to work to be sure that the cost fits into their budget. Having an invoice in hand as soon as possible makes it easier for your customers to manage their cash flow to pay the costs that are due.

Even though it seems like Accounts Receivable is the biggest influence on your cash flow, you shouldn’t overlook how much Accounts Payable will impact your cash position as well.

Accounts Payable and Cash Flow

Once you have dialed in the invoicing system and you have the money flowing in from customers, it is also important to make sure that you are controlling the money that is moving out of your bank account. Overhead expenses and other costs are unavoidable… it takes money to earn money! It isn’t a bad thing to have invoices that need to be paid, but you need to be careful to ensure that you are tracking business spending and avoiding unnecessary costs.

The biggest problem that you can face with Accounts Payable is failing to track upcoming expenses, and then facing a situation where you need to pay a large bill and the money isn’t available. Some business owners make financial decisions based on the amount of money currently in their bank account. Then, a big bill will come through, and they no longer have the cash to pay for the expense.

For example, if you land a contract with a big client and have an infusion of money into your bank account, then it might create a false sense of security that you can spend a little more than normal. Some business owners use this type of situation to justify extra costs such as new office furniture or hiring a new employee. Spending the money as soon as it comes in might result in an issue with cash flow later.

Even though the money was available at one point, what will you do when a large, unavoidable expense comes through? Tax bills are one area where small business owners can often get caught off guard, resulting in problems because they don’t have the cash to pay the bill.

With a little bit of planning, you can look ahead to see the anticipated costs that will be coming up. Then, you can work with an experienced accounting team to ensure that you are using the best strategies with incoming and outgoing expenses to support your future financial growth.

Tips to Improve Small Business Cashflow

Whether you are currently facing cash flow problems or you are looking for a way to improve your financial future, there are a few things that you can do to improve your account management and tracking. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Know Where You Will Break Even: Your breakeven point won’t necessarily impact your cash flow, but it can provide an overall picture of the financial stability of your company. Having a clear picture of the profitability of your business will help you to see whether there is enough cash left over after the expenses are paid. If your breakeven point is too high, then you might need to ramp up efforts to increase profitability.
  • Always Have Emergency Reserves: It is hard to know when an emergency will pop up. Emergencies can be in the form of equipment that needs to be replaced or damage from a natural disaster. Your cash reserves can be used to keep your company running while you are sorting through the details.
  • Make Your Cash Work for You: If you are going to save money in an emergency account, then make sure that you choose an account that will help the cash work for you. Interest-earning accounts can help you maximize your investment and generate a little more income from the money that is sitting in the bank. Talk to your bank, or look into options such as CDs or money market accounts if you don’t need immediate access to the funds.
  • Expect Shortfalls: The goal is always to have more cash than you are spending, but there are times when shortfalls might occur. Some companies face these shortfalls during the slow season, while other companies face a slowdown in sales because of economic factors. Expect that you will face shortfalls at some point and be ready with your emergency cash reserves.
  • Anticipate Upcoming Expenses: A big tax bill or a cost to replace old equipment shouldn’t be a surprise. These expenses will roll through every so often, and you can evaluate your company to know when these costs will be due. Look forward to a few months and identify potential bills that you might need to pay. Then, plan accordingly so that you have the money in your bank account for these invoices.
  • Be Proactive to Collect on Invoices: Have a proactive person on your team working on AR invoices. Keep net-30 or net-60 pay terms, and always follow up if invoices are left unpaid.
  • Offer Incentives for Timely Payments: Are you running into problems with many past-due invoices? Consider offering some type of incentive to customers who pay early. For example, you could provide a payment discount if the payment is received in 7 days.
  • Establish Clear Payment Expectations: Written payment terms need to be provided to every customer. Set clear expectations about when payments are due and the penalties for late payments. Then, make sure that you are proactive to enforce those rules always.
  • Use Cloud Based Accounting: Staying ahead of the numbers will help you see the costs that are coming up. Cloud based accounting is a great option to consider because it helps you track expenses from any location. Make sure that you have a trusted employee or accounting team who can keep these numbers current so that you always have accurate reports.
  • Double Check the Accounts with Reconciliation: When transactions aren’t properly recorded in your accounting system, it could result in bounced checks or other cash flow You need to reconcile the accounts regularly to make sure that your accounting system accurately reflects the amount of money in the bank. Monthly reconciliations are a great way to identify the missed transactions so that you can fix the problems and balance the accounts.
  • Hire an Accountant and Bookkeeper: If you can’t keep up with the paperwork, transactions, and reconciliation, then it is time to hire someone to help. It can be expensive to bring on another employee, which is why you should consider the benefit of outsourced accounting services. An accountant has the experience and knowledge to know the best way to improve your financial outlook and help you stay ahead of cash flow

Do you have a hard time keeping up with financial management in your company? Then you need to hire a team to take care of these accounting details. Here at Easier Accounting, we work with small businesses and entrepreneurs to assist with payroll, tax preparation, and cash flow. Our team knows how to help you stay ahead of the accounting requirements for business. For more information, we invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation. We are always happy to answer your questions and we can cater your accounting services to match the needs of your company: (888) 620-0770