7 Tips to Maintain Positive Cash Flow for Your Small Business

It doesn’t matter if you are in the beginning stages of a startup or if you have a successful, established business, your long-term success rests on your ability to maintain positive cash flow. Whether you are bringing in $1000 per month or $100,000 per month, you need to be sure that your current business needs are met with cash in the bank.

How is Your Company Doing?

Your cash flow snapshot is a good reading on the current performance of your company. So, take time to review business cash flow statements regularly. This information will help you evaluate the things that are working and things that are hindering your growth. Then, you can use the data to implement changes that will help you reach higher levels of success.

Not only is the goal to avoid negative cash flow or any activities that will hurt your profit margins, but you also need to be looking at the things that will help with expansion and growth in the future. Too often, cash flow analysis is only focused on the current month or quarter. It makes sense that you are evaluating current financial obligations and requirements that are coming up. But you shouldn’t let your current situation overshadow resources that might be required for business development in the future.

It is a learning process as you identify the strategies that support your immediate business needs while preparing for the future at the same time. There’s no question that good cash flow will be required for all of these efforts.

How to Maintain Positive Cash Flow in Your Business

You might conceptually see why positive cash flow is required for your company. But it can be a challenge to identify actionable steps that will have an impact on your cash flow outlook. Here are a few tips that will help you boost profit margins, minimize expenses, and ultimately keep more money in the bank:

  1. Ongoing Spending: How much money is required to keep your business running each month? You should have a clear budget and spending goals to determine how much you need in the bank to pay for rent/mortgage, utilities, payroll, inventory stocking, services, and more. You can’t avoid overhead costs, but there might be solutions to manage the total amount that you are spending every month. Go through the spending report in detail to see if anything can be cut or trimmed down so that you can reduce the amount of money going out the door each month.
  2. Big Purchases: Even if you are keeping up with the ongoing expenses for your business, sometimes the big purchases can be crippling. Whether you are facing a large tax bill or you need to invest in equipment or business development efforts, you can’t sacrifice the payroll cash. Look ahead so that you can anticipate potential costs in the future. Then, shape your monthly saving and spending plan so that the cash is available without the need to dip into credit.
  3. Set Up a Line of Credit: The hope is that you won’t need to rely on credit for your business expenses. But it’s good to have a backup plan in case you get in a pinch. One mistake is to wait until your time of need to run to the bank for a line of credit application. Instead of trying to overcome the problem at the last minute, it’s better to set up the line of credit when you have positive cash flow, and your business is doing well. During this application process, the financial institution will run a complete check on your financial records to determine whether you will be approved for the line of credit. They want to be sure that you will have the cash to pay back the loan, and this information will also affect the loan limits. Securing the line of credit right now could be the difference between keeping your company going in the future vs. not being able to pay your bills because of cash flow issues.
  4. Minimize Interest and Late Fees: It might seem ironic to talk about avoiding debt right after the tip that suggests you secure a business line of credit. But there’s no question that it is harder to manage your cash flow when you are spending high amounts of money on late fees and interest costs. The more debt you accumulate, the more money you will be spending to delay the payoff of that loan. It could result in a domino effect that makes it hard to pay your bills on time, resulting in late-fees being added to your balances. Set up automatic payments and make sure that you always have enough to cover the minimum payments. A better solution is to pay as much as possible every month so that you can pay off the debt and eliminate the loan payments.
  5. Dial in Your Pricing: It might be tempting to offer deep discounts if you are trying to bring more customers through the door. Keep in mind that these discounts could result in problems in the future. Offering discounts to all customers will cut into your profit margins and even devalue your service in the future. See the value in the products and services that are offered to your customers, and avoid the practice of “racing to the bottom” to beat your competitors based on pricing alone. Customers are willing to spend more money when they can see that value and quality are available with a higher price tag.
  6. Stay Ahead of Receivables: You need to follow up on outstanding invoices to ensure that you are receiving payments from your customers or clients. Not only should you keep a detailed list of the money that is owed, but it is smart to put together a follow-up system if these payments are late. When you are collecting overdue money, time is of the essence. Stick to the payment plan and make sure that receivables don’t fall low on the priority list if you are distracted by other business management tasks.
  7. Boost Cash Inflow: Are you receiving an inflow of cash every day or week? Depending on your business model, the timing of customer payments might vary. You need to make sure that you are making sales consistently to receive the money that will keep your company running. It all comes down to the numbers. Look at the target amount of income you want to receive each month. Then do the calculations to see how many sales need to be made on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Finally, determine the most effective activities to help you connect with paying customers so that you can close enough deals to meet the needs of your company.

Cash Flow is More than Just Paying the Bills

While it is important to ensure you can pay your bills and obligations, cash flow is about much more than just paying for these ongoing expenses. Creating good cash flow will set you up to make the spending decisions that help your company grow. When you have extra cash in the bank, you have the opportunity to invest in marketing that brings in new customers. You can also put the extra money towards business development and product research to improve the products and services that are offered. Additionally, good cash flow is essential so that you can maintain the right amount of inventory, so these products are always on hand when customers are ready to buy.

Finally, don’t overlook the peace of mind that comes when you know that there is money in the bank. You can’t put a price tag on the lower stress levels you will experience when you have an emergency savings account in place for a rainy day. Good cash flow strategy and management could be the difference between business success and failure, which is why this task should be at the top of your priority list.

Keeping up with Accounting and Bookkeeping

The foundation of an effective system for cash flow management should be based on the right bookkeeping and accounting strategies. You need to track the transactions that are moving in and out of your bank accounts. Data-driven decisions are important to help your business flourish in the future.

As a business owner, do you find it challenging to keep up with the accounting and bookkeeping tasks that are required? You are carrying a lot of responsibility, so it’s understandable that you find it difficult to stay consistent with these efforts.

Instead of stretching yourself thin with too many responsibilities, consider the benefit of bringing in a good outsourced accounting team. These services will improve your financial systems and help you avoid potential cash flow issues. Working with an experienced financial team is one of the best things that you can do to support your business goals.

For more information, reach out to us at Easier Accounting. We are here to help with anything that you need for accounting, tax preparation, financial advice, and more. Call today: (888) 620-0770.

Low on Cash? Small Business Management Tips for Cash Flow

Not having enough money in the bank can be the downfall of a company. Even if you have money coming in, the current cash position could be a hindrance for the daily operations of the business. If you aren’t keeping up with cash flow, then you need to talk to a financial professional as soon as possible. Here are a few small business management tips for cash flow:

Set a Schedule for Receivables

Even if you have good relationships with your clients, it can be unpredictable to know when the payments will come through. There might be times when your client is late on a payment, which causes a domino effect that hinders your cash flow.

It is important that you have clear guidelines and payment expectations for the amount due. Each invoice should include the due date for payment, such as due on receipt, due net 30, etc. This step will ensure that everyone involved is on the same page for the payment cycle.

At the same time, you also need to be sure that you are consistent with setting the schedule for when the invoices are sent. Have you found yourself too distracted by immediate tasks that need to be addressed, so you forget to put together invoices that are needed for the work that has been completed? Maintaining an invoicing schedule is necessary so that you are consistent with sending out the invoices and maintaining follow-up communication as necessary.

Manage Overhead Expenses

Often, the problem is not that you aren’t bringing in enough money. But, the issue lies in the money that is spent. If your overhead expenses are higher than the money that is coming in, then you will end up in the hole. You need to make sure that you have a clear picture of the money that needs to be received each month to break-even on the expenses that are due.

You might be surprised to see the small ways that you can reduce these overhead costs. Look for extravagant services or features that might be eliminated. For example, you might be able to adjust the landscaping services schedule to decrease the amount of money that is spent on the outdoor care of your location. Or, call around to see if you can get a cheaper business package for internet or phone services.

Sometimes, it is as simple as a phone call to your current provider to ask for a discount to remain a customer. Other times, switching service providers could save you a bundle of money on the ongoing costs.

Outsource Instead of Hire

There are times when you might need to increase your workforce to handle various services in your company. It is easy to assume that the best solution is to hire an employee with the skillset that you need. While there are times for employee hiring and workforce expansion, take a look at outsourcing options before hiring another in-house employee.

In most situations, outsourcing the services is usually cheaper compared to bringing another employee onto the payroll. You can save money on benefits and employment taxes. Plus, you don’t need to pay money for the equipment and office space that is required for the person to complete the work.

Outsourced accounting is a great example of how you can save money. If you hire an in-house accountant, then it is a significant annual expense to cover the cost of their salary, benefits, office space, and more. When your company is tight on cash flow, you probably don’t have the option to absorb these high costs.

On the other hand, it is much more affordable to choose an accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll processing company instead. These services are a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee. You can tap into the expertise without carrying the heavy financial burden of a larger team of employees.

Manage Your Records

Accurate bookkeeping and accounting records are essential so that you know the current cash position of the company. Not only can you see a snapshot of the immediate financial situation, but you can also see accounts receivable and anticipated payments coming in the future.

You won’t know that you are low on cash if you aren’t paying attention to the financial reports. Then, you might encounter a situation where paychecks bounce or you can’t pay the utility bills. We can’t stress this point enough: it is essential that you maintain records of all of your expenditures and income. Utilize the services of a bookkeeping company to learn more small business management tips for cash flow.

Leverage Assets

Most businesses have assets that might be of use when cash flow is tight. Do you have any furniture, electronics, or equipment that isn’t in use? Don’t let these items gather dust in the storage closet. You might be able to sell them on a local classified website to pull in the cash that is needed to pay the outstanding bills.

Something seemingly small, like an older generation smartphone, could bring in several hundred dollars. While the cash might seem insignificant, it can help to reduce the burden that you are feeling. Every little bit adds up, which is why you need to make incremental changes to your habits.

Consider Credit Options

Do you have a credit card or line of credit that can be used to cover the immediate expenses? Leveraging credit is a risky strategy if you can’t pay it back right away. The credit costs could increase the financial benefit in the future due to the payments that need to be met and the increasing interest costs.

So, be careful about the way you choose to use a company credit card. But, there are times when it might make sense if you need to get by until the end of a month when a big payment is anticipated. The best solution is to talk to your accountant or bookkeeping company to see if it makes sense to use credit as needed.

Have an Emergency Account

If you are facing cash flow problems right now, then this tip won’t help with your current situation. But, make sure to be prepared for the future: set aside the extra cash when it is available. An emergency account is essential if you face unexpected expenses or you don’t have enough to cover the overhead costs on a slow month.

Planning ahead is one of the best things that you can do to save your company. It is inevitable that your business will face cash flow problems at some point. So, you need to make sure that you are ready for the rainy days with a savings account set aside for these situations.

Scare Up Extra Business

Look at your current offerings and inventory to see if you can scare up extra business. Do you have old inventory that is sitting on a shelf? Run a sale to clear the inventory and bring in the cash that is needed. The sale will help customers feel the urgency to make a purchase. It is a win-win situation because the customers will be happy about the discounted price and you will be able to bring in the cash that is needed.

Even if you don’t have physical inventory, you can offer promotions for the services that you offer. Send an email to your customer list to offer a one-time package for the services that you provide. Or, look for ways that you can add extra services onto the packages when a customer is ready to buy from your company.

Hiring an Accounting Team to Help

One of the reasons why small businesses often face cashflow problems is because the business owner doesn’t have accounting and bookkeeping experience. Small mistakes can have a long-term impact on the financial health of the company. You don’t have to be a bookkeeping expert to ensure the success of your company. Instead, you need to hire an experienced team to oversee the details.

Hiring an accounting team will free up your time so that you can focus on solutions and problem solving for other aspects of your company. These services are essential to make sure that you are keeping up with some of the biggest payments that could influence your cash flow: payroll, inventory purchases, and taxes. Your accountant will discuss cash flow strategies so that you have money in the bank when these big expenses roll around in the future.

You can choose an accounting service in your hometown, but many people find that the offerings are limited. Instead of selecting a general accounting team, it is better to choose a company that specializes in small business accounting services. The internet has opened the doors of opportunity for you to connect with specialists located anywhere in the country.

Our team at Easier Accounting understands the best accounting and bookkeeping practices for entrepreneurs and small business owners. We’ve been using these strategies for many other companies like yours. Contact us right away to learn more about the ways that we can help with the cash flow for your business: (888) 620-0770

Accounting Advice: How to Cut Expenses for a Start-Up Business

Starting a new business is an exciting adventure. You are moving forward with big dreams and hopes for a better future, putting in the effort that is needed to build a company that will succeed for many years. Whether you are taking over a family business or moving forward on a passion project, it is essential that you have a good business plan in place to set yourself up for success. You need to consider the money that is coming in, as well as options to cut expenses.

Moving to a Positive Cash Flow

Costs are inevitable when you are pursuing business efforts. It doesn’t matter if you are building a local office or running a home-based business out of your garage; money will be needed for some up-front costs. In the beginning, you will be spending more money than you are making, especially if you need to put cash into inventory or other important setup costs.

There’s nothing wrong with spending money on these business expenses. Keep in mind that this cash is an investment to build your company for the future. There’s a saying in the business world: “It takes money to make money.” It’s true that you need to have some upfront cash to get your company off the ground.

But, just because you are burning through your cash reserves in the beginning, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be careful to turn things around as quickly as possible. The goal is to make your company profitable right away so that you can have extra money in the bank, instead of spending everything on your business efforts.

Once you move to a positive cash flow, meaning you are bringing in more money than you are spending, then you will have the option to re-invest and grow the company. Or, you can pull some of those profits to enjoy the benefits of your labors.

Two Ways to Manage Cashflow

There are two things that you need to consider when you are working to manage cash flow:

  1. Bring in more money
  2. Cut expenses

Business owners are always focused on bringing in the income that will keep money flowing into the bank. Even if you have strong earnings every month, your business will struggle if you don’t stay ahead of the expenses at the same time. So, you need to evaluate the money that you are spending to identify areas that can be addressed.

Yes, it is important to look for ways to increase your incoming cash. But, don’t overlook the importance of managing your expenses as well. A good accounting team can assist with these efforts.

Cost-Cutting Ideas to Reduce Small Business Spending

Start by evaluating the money that you are spending. Categorize your spending into transactions that are necessary and transactions that can be cut. You might need to change your thinking a little bit to look at your spending with new eyes.

Here are some of the easiest, most effective ways that you can cut your business costs:

  • Secondhand Furniture and Equipment: Why pay for new materials and supplies if you can save a bunch of money by choosing secondhand items? If you need a new desk for your office, you can go to the local furniture store and pay thousands of dollars for the right desk. Or, you can skip paying retail and look for deals on Craigslist or other online marketplaces. In many circumstances, you can save as much as 50 – 70% by choosing secondhand items. Use caution if you are buying electronics though… computer technology is moving fast, and you might be able to avoid a lot of problems by buying new.
  • Rent or Mortgage Costs: A rent payment can be one of the most expensive bills for small businesses. Do you have a local office in a high traffic area, but most of your business is completed online? There’s no reason to pay the surcharge for a premium office space. Consider moving to a different part of town where the rent costs are lower. Yes, it will cost money to move and it takes a lot of effort. But, the rent savings can add up over time. Better yet, look for options to buy a building and rent out a portion of the space to other businesses. These rent payments can help you pay off the mortgage, creating a valuable asset for your company.
  • Utility Expenses: Ongoing utility expenses offer another potential area where you could be saving money. Get creative to see if there are ways that you can reduce utility costs. For example, you might be able to drop your landline and use a VOIP phone number instead. Invest in energy-efficient appliances and switch out the lightbulbs. Install a smart thermostat that will manage climate control throughout the day. Call the internet provider to see if there are options to reduce the amount of money that you are spending on your business package. Sometimes, a few questions to a utility provider can go a long way to bring the ongoing costs back down.
  • Assess Inventory: Are you storing a lot of inventory that won’t be needed for a while? Not only does extra inventory cost money because of the expense of buying the products. But, you also need to spend cash on the warehouse space that is needed to hold everything. Look for lean business options to minimize your inventory while ensuring that you always have product on hand when your customers are ready to buy.
  • Bid Out New Projects: Instead of assuming that you need to hire more employees, consider the option to talk to multiple contractors to get the best price on services that are needed. This bidding process will help you minimize costs and maximize the services that are available. Seeking out multiple bids is essential so that you can see if your preferred contractors are overcharging for the services.
  • Offer Telecommuting Options: As the business grows, it can be hard to maintain the office space that is needed for the expanding team of employees. Instead of moving into a bigger office, look for options to share the office space more efficiently. You can invite employees to telecommute, helping to reduce the number of people that you are managing in the office each day. This option allows the desks to be shared and reduces the amount of space that is required for employee housing. At the same time, employees will be happy that they can avoid commuting costs.
  • Go Paperless: Paper waste can cost your company a lot of money. Not only do you need to pay for the cost of the paper reams, but you also have expenses for the printing as well. You will spend money on the cost of buying a printer, paying for ink cartridges, and ongoing maintenance as needed. Plus, many companies spend money on recycling and shredding services for old paperwork. These expenses can be reduced by keeping digital records instead of filing printed paperwork.
  • Pay Off Business Debt: Business debt can make it hard for you to keep up with cash flow. Not only do you need to make the payments on the costs that are due, but you are also taking on a lot of expenses for the interest costs. How much are you paying every year in credit card interest? If unexpected costs pop up, then it is common to put those expenses on a credit card. Unfortunately, the interest expenses will really add up, potentially costing your company thousands of dollars a year in avoidable costs.
  • Save for a Rainy Day: It is essential that you set aside cash for the future. This emergency savings account will help you pay for taxes and anything else that might come up unexpectedly. There are always times when you need to dip into the bank account. Make sure that you have money set aside so that you can avoid running up the business credit cards.
  • Maximize Tax Write-Offs: As a small business owner, many things can be used as a business write-off to minimize tax burden. You could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by using the right tax strategy. Maximize these tax write-offs so that you can minimize the amount of money you need to pay at tax time. The best thing that you can do is hire the services of an experienced accounting team who can help with your tax strategy.

As you can see, there are many ways that you can be creative with your business spending to reduce expenses. If you need assistance, then make sure that you have the services of an experienced accounting team. We can assess your spending habits and provide recommendations that will help to minimize expenses in the future. Financial expertise can offer a valuable way for you to level-up your business efforts and reach higher levels of success.

For more information about small business accounting services, you need to talk to our team at Easier Accounting. We understand the financial requirements that are needed to run a small business. Our team is here to assist with anything that you need: (888) 620-0770

Warning: Cash in the Bank Doesn’t Mean that Your Business is Profitable

Having cash in the bank is essential to manage ongoing expenses and business transactions. But, sometimes the bank account balance can create a false sense of security for business owners. If you are evaluating whether your company is profitable, then you need to consider much more than just the amount of money that is in your account.

Here at Easier Accounting, we are working hard to help our clients make wise decisions based on the true financial picture for the company. Our team can help you look at the bigger picture so that you can understand the real profitability of your company.

Changes in Your Cash Position

There are many things that can influence your bank account balance. In fact, it is common for businesses to have large fluctuations in their cash position throughout the month. When a large deposit comes in from a big contract, then the balance increases for a little while. But, you need to remember that the money is often already spoken for… it needs to be used for payroll, taxes, overhead expenses, inventory replenishment, and more.

Money in the bank doesn’t show the whole picture of the payments that will be due. It is essential that you maintain the balance that is needed so that those payments will clear when they come through.

Watch the bank balances throughout the month, and you will see the natural fluctuations that occur due to normal business activities. Understanding these trends can help you prepare for the future. It is also important that you work closely with your accounting team to evaluate your profit and loss statement and other reports.

Making Wise Financial Decisions

One of the common problems of having a lot of cash in the bank is that business owners mistakenly think that they can increase their spending. Landing a large contract can create a false sense of security, and sometimes people go out and spend money that is needed for essential overhead expenses.

For example, just because there is a sizable balance in the account, doesn’t mean that you can spend thousands of dollars on new computer equipment. If that money is needed for tax payments, then you might be dealing with a hard situation when the taxes are due. Talk to your accountant before you rush out to spend money on office furniture, company parties, and other things that aren’t essential.

Once you understand the anticipated expenses and you can see the way the cash will flow throughout the month, then you can start making decisions about larger expenses.

The Two-Way Flow of Money

As a business owner, it is exciting to see the money coming in, and it can sometimes be stressful to see the expenses that need to be paid. It takes money to earn money! Investing in great employees, high-quality inventory, and other important expenses will create a situation where you can increase your revenue and maximize profits. As money flows in, it will also flow out.

So, you shouldn’t be opposed to spending money. Instead, you need to plan to be sure that the money will be available when it is needed. Cashflow is an essential part of business management. If the cash isn’t available, then you could be facing big problems in the future. Eventually, cash flow problems could lead to the demise of your company. It’s not about what you make… it’s about what you keep!

A good accounting team will look ahead at anticipated expenses to ensure that you are prepared for the future. This financial guidance can be a valuable way to set your company up for future success.

How Profitable is Your Company?

Landing a big client or having a successful sale will boost the balance in your account. Then, you also need to consider the other side of the cash flow: the money that needs to be spent on essential costs for you to stay in business. You can’t count every penny that comes into the account as profit.

Profitability happens when the outflow of money is less than the amount of money that is coming in. Regular bookkeeping practices can track these transactions, helping you compare the money that is coming and going. These financial services will balance both sides of the story, and the difference will show a clear picture of the profitability of your company.

Without regular financial tracking and evaluation, it is impossible to have a full understanding of the success of your business. These ongoing bookkeeping and accounting tasks are essential so that you can see if your efforts are paying off.

Simple Steps to Boost Profitability

If you talk to your accountant and find out that your business isn’t as profitable as you want, then you might consider the benefit of making changes to boost profitability. Here are a few effective strategies to help:

  • Reach Out to Past Customers: Your old customer files are the source of gold that you need to boost revenue. These people have shown interested in the products and services that you offer. So, you can get a good ROI with your marketing budget by reactivating people who have purchased in the past. Send an email or a postcard to invite people to come back. Consider offering a promotion or discount to get people in the door again.
  • Take a Hard Look at Expenses: The money that you are spending could be bleeding the company dry if the expenses are unnecessary. Take time to evaluate every transaction to see if it is essential to keep your business going. If possible, decrease the amount of money that you are spending each month to maximize the money that stays in the bank.
  • Raise Your Prices: Look at the per-unit cost to see if your prices are covering the necessary expenses. Once you factor in overhead costs, production expenses, and more, then you might see that your prices are too low. A small increase in pricing could help to cover the gap and boost the profitability of each sale. But, there is a limit to how much you can increase the pricing of your products and services. Research your competitors to see what the market can bear.
  • Understand Net Profit: Talk to your accounting team to know the amount of money that is needed to support the business every month. This figure is the essential gross revenue to ensure that you aren’t going into debt. Then, look at the incremental effort that is needed to boost net profit.
  • Be Deliberate with Financial Decisions: Too often, business owners rush into a financial decision without evaluating the overall picture. Even if you are busy or you are on a tight timeframe, it is essential that you take a moment to understand the financial health of your company. These financial decisions are the incremental factors that influence future growth and stability within your business.
  • Build an Emergency Cash Account: If an emergency happens, do you have the cash available to pay for the expenses? Instead of pulling out the credit cards, it is helpful to have a backup account with emergency funds. This strategy helps you avoid debt so that you can minimize unnecessary interest costs.

What Should You Do if the Business isn’t Profitable?

There are some tough decisions that need to be made if your company isn’t profitable. Instead of jumping to conclusions that you need to close the doors, look at other options that could rejuvenate your company success.

The most important thing that you can do is ensure that you have the support of experienced financial professionals. You shouldn’t be making these big decisions without leaning on someone who understands the nuances of business growth and development.

If there are possibilities to pull the company out of a tailspin and make it profitable, then you need to look at options to generate cash to carry you through. Evaluate the numbers to see if the Return on Investment is a bigger opportunity compared to taking on the expense of debt.

Instead of giving up equity in the company, consider taking a loan. This decision might be the right answer so that you can prevent a loss of sales and solidify future growth of the company. You need to evaluate the cost of interest, the payments that need to be met, and other associated expenses to see if the investment will pay off in the future. Sometimes, a calculated investment can go a long way to turn the company around.

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Small Business Accountant

Do you have more questions about the financial health of your company? Our team is always available to help with anything that you need! We invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation so that you can learn more about the best options to help your company grow.

Easier Accounting is here for you! We are experienced in all types of small business accounting services, and we would love to see how our services can complement the growth of your company. Call to learn more: (888) 620-0770

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

Avoid These Filing Mistakes on Your Tax Paperwork

Taxes are an avoidable part of owning a business, and tax season often adds stress and anxiety to many business owners. If you are dreading tax preparation, then you should consider the benefits of hiring an accountant to help with your filing. There is no reason for you to spend time on the paperwork when you could be focusing on other important responsibilities instead!

Problems with DIY Tax Filing

The biggest problem with doing your taxes without an accountant is that mistakes can be made that could result in big problems in the future. Even something that seems like a minor error could cost you quite a bit of money in fees and a big tax bill. At the same time, it is possible that you could be paying too much in taxes because you missed important deductions that could have been included.

If you don’t have formal accounting training and you are filing your taxes without the help of a professional, then it is likely that you are making a few errors along the way. These mistakes might not show up for a few years but could result in higher taxes or even an audit in the future. The best way to avoid these DIY tax problems is by hiring an accountant to help.

Prevention is always more effective than trying to clean up a big mess. So, work with a trusted accountant or bookkeeper to review your tax filing before it is sent to the IRS.

Avoidable Tax Mistakes

There is no doubt that an experienced accountant can help you avoid a lot of tax problems. Your accountant will check the numbers and make sure that everything is included in the filing. At the same time, a good accountant can also offer advice and services for payroll, estimated tax payments, cash flow, and more.

Here are a few common mistakes that you can avoid when you have a great accounting team working on your taxes and business financials:

  • Matching Taxpayer IDs and Names: Even though it seems like a simple thing, there are often problems where taxpayer IDs don’t match the names on the accounts. Whether the filing is for an individual or a company, it is essential to be sure that everything lines up to match the records that are on file. The IRS and Social Security have databases that connect taxpayer IDs with names, and audits are done to ensure that the filings match the database. If the name doesn’t match, then it could start a chain reaction of problems that need to be fixed.
  • Wrong Bank Account Number: It is easy to see why direct deposit is often the top choice for a tax refund. These deposits will land right in your bank account, helping you avoid the need to wait for a check to show up in the mail. But, be careful to ensure that the right direct deposit information is used. If you setup the direct deposit and one of the numbers is off in the account details, then it could be put into the wrong account. Or, the refund might be returned to the IRS. In this situation, you might not receive the refund because the IRS doesn’t have a policy to replace lost funds that are transferred
  • Incorrect Tax Rates: Whether you are figuring tax costs for payroll or self-employment, there are various percentages and calculations that need to be used to get it done right. These tax rates often stay consistent from one year to the next, although there are times when the laws change the rates that need to be paid. Make sure that you stay ahead of the changes in the accounting industry to ensure that you are using the correct rates when calculating tax payments.
  • Missed Estimated Payments: When you are just entering the world of self-employment, there are a few financial details that you might not understand without talking to an experienced accountant. For example, most employees pay taxes through deductions from their paychecks, then the annual tax filing is a time to ensure that the taxes were paid in full. With self-employment, you might not have regular paychecks with these deductions. So, you will need to make quarterly tax payments to the IRS. Missing these payments or sending the wrong amount could result in penalties and fees. So, make sure that you talk to an accountant to learn how much needs to be sent on your estimated payments.
  • Too Many Deductions: One of the benefits of self-employment is that you can take advantage of deductions. If you spend money on equipment or services for your business, then that money can be factored into your tax filing. But, there are times when small business owners try to take advantage of the situation by claiming too many deductions. Don’t put yourself at risk by deducting too many expenses! Instead, make sure that you understand the laws and only deduct items that fall within the guidelines.
  • Overlooking Deductions: On the other hand, there are times when small business owners are paying too many taxes because they overlook potential deductions. Whenever you spend money for your business, make sure that you hold onto the receipt and track the transaction. These details can ensure that you maximize your deductions as much as possible to minimize your tax burden.

As you can see, it could be easy to make a mistake on your tax filing. But, it is just as easy to take the necessary steps to check and re-check your taxes so that you can avoid these problems.

Do-It-Yourself or Professional Tax Services

How do you decide if you should spend the money for an accountant to take care of your tax filing? Business owners who attempt a DIY approach are often motivated to save money on the costs that they would have spent on the services of an accountant. Even though they think that they are saving money, a DIY approach could potentially cost more money in the future.

Tax filing not only takes a lot of time, but it is important to ensure that you have experience with tax preparation so that you get it done right. Most small business owners don’t have a formal education in accounting, which means that they are forced to study tax law in an attempt to figure it out.

There is no reason for you to waste your valuable time trying to gain expertise in tax law! Instead, learn enough so that you understand the process, but let a professional accountant take care of the preparation and filing. You can use this extra time to focus on ways to increase business profitability and grow your company.

If you choose a DIY approach for tax filing, these are a few ways that you might end up spending more money in the future:

  • Fees, interest, and penalties if the taxes are filed incorrectly
  • Missed deductions, resulting in a higher tax bill
  • Cash flow errors that cause an accumulation of interest costs and other financial problems
  • Incorrect tax rates, causing you to pay more than necessary
  • Lost money if the refunds are deposited in the wrong accounts

Without experience in the industry, you won’t know what you are missing! It is worth the investment to spend a little money so that you can hire a team to guide your company in the right direction.

Ongoing Preparation for Tax Season

Most business owners don’t think about tax filing until it is time to complete the paperwork each year. But, there are several tasks that need to be addressed throughout the year if you want to be ready to file your taxes. Failing to stay ahead of the financials all year could increase your stress levels when it is time to file your taxes. Not only will you need to sort through the mess, but you could potentially miss transactions that should be considered for your overall financial picture.

Make sure that you are keeping accurate records for Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable all year long. It is also a good idea to complete regular reconciliations to catch potential errors that have occurred.

If you are planning to claim a transaction as a deduction, then you need to have the paperwork to back up the claim. Without a receipt or some type of documentation, you could face problems if an audit occurs in the future.

With a little bit of planning and consistent work, you can get ahead of these problems and stay current with your tax preparation. Most business owners find that it is much easier to work on small things throughout the year, instead of trying to sort through an entire year of transactions at tax time.

Do you need help with your tax preparation? Then it is essential that you talk to the professionals here at Easier Accounting. We focus on accounting services for small businesses, and our team is here to help. Call us anytime if you have questions about your tax filing or business finances: (888) 620-0770