Cash Flow Archives - BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

Category Archives for "Cash Flow"

Review your expenses and save yourself money

Review your expenses and save yourself money

Review your expenses - and save yourself money

Running a business will always mean incurring certain expenses or 'spend'.

Whether you’re a large family business or a small fledgling startup, there will be costs, overheads and supplier bills that mount up – and these expenses will gradually chip away at your cash position, making it more difficult to grow and make a profit.

So, what can you do to reduce your spend levels? And what impact will this have on your overall margins, profits and ability to fund the next stage in your business journey?

Getting proactive with your spend management

Spend management is all about getting in control of your expenses – and, where possible, aiming to reduce the level of costs and overheads that you incur as a company.

Why does this matter? 

Well, excessive spending eats into your cash flow, reduces your profit margins and stops you from achieving the profits that you’re capable of as a business.

So if you can get proactive with your spend management, you can actually make your company a far more financially productive enterprise – and that’s great for your overall business health.

So, what can you do to reduce spend and slim down your company expenses?

Here are some key ways to reduce expenses:

Reduce your overheads

Your overheads are the unavoidable costs of running your business, producing your products or supplying your services.

If you have bricks and mortar premises, these overheads will include rental payments, utility bills and even the cost of paying your staff.

Drill down into the numbers and see where there are opportunities to reduce these overhead costs. That could mean moving to smaller premises, or reducing the size of your workforce, to reduce payroll expenditure.

Put limits on staff expenses

If your employees can claim expenses, or buy raw materials and equipment with the company’s money, these costs can soon start to rack up. It’s a good idea to put a spending limit in place, so each staff member can only spend up to an agreed amount.

Having a clear expenses policy helps, as will training up your staff in good spend management techniques. Expenses cards – such as WebexpensesSoldo or Pleo – allow you to quickly set spend limits, track expenses and pull your expenses data through to your cloud accounting platform for processing.

Look for cheaper suppliers

If you can reduce your supplier costs, this will go a long way to bringing down your overall spend.

If you’ve been with certain key suppliers for years, look around for new quotes, look at current market prices and see if you can negotiate better deals. And if your old suppliers aren’t flexible enough, try swapping to newer, more eager suppliers who will be willing to meet you in the middle on price.

Make your operations leaner

The bigger your operational costs are, the less margin you’ll make on your end products and services.

One way to resolve this is to aim for a ‘lean approach’, paring back your staff, resources and operational complexity to the bare minimum.

By making the business as lean as possible, whilst still delivering the same output, you keep your revenue stable, but reduce the spend level that’s eating into your cost of goods sold (COGS). The smaller your COGS, the more profit you make on each unit or sale – and that means better cash flow, more working capital and bigger profits.

Talk to us about improving your spend management

If you’d like to get in control of your expenses, we’d love to chat.

We’ll review your current costs, run forecasting, and help highlight the key areas where expenses can be cut. Then we’ll help you formulate a proactive spend management programme, to reduce your unnecessary spending.

5 strategies for better cash flow

5 strategies for better cash flow

5 strategies for better cash flow

Managing cash flow effectively is crucial for the health and success of any business. It's about more than just monitoring what comes in and what goes out; it's about strategic planning and timely actions, particularly when it comes to invoicing and managing receivables. 

At First Class Accounts Ovens & Murray and Busy01 Consulting, we understand the challenges businesses face and have proven strategies to help improve cash flow management.

The Foundation: Efficient Invoicing

The cornerstone of maintaining a better cash flow is efficient invoicing practices. 

Invoicing promptly and accurately ensures that your cash flow remains positive, allowing you to cover operational expenses and invest in growth opportunities. 

Utilising tools like Xero’s invoice reminders can significantly enhance your ability to follow up on outstanding payments, encouraging quicker settlements from customers.

Key Strategies 

Maintain Accurate and Current Books

Keeping your financial records up-to-date provides clarity on your financial status, enabling more informed decision-making. Accurate bookkeeping helps in identifying trends, potential shortfalls, and opportunities for improvement.

Firm Credit Control Policies

Establishing and enforcing clear payment terms is essential. While maintaining professionalism and politeness, it's important to be assertive about your payment expectations. Monitoring accounts receivable turnover closely allows for timely interventions, reducing the chances of payment delays.

Simplify Your Accounting Processes

Complexity can be the enemy of efficiency. Simplified accounting practices make it easier to manage your business metrics and maintain a clear view of your financial health. This is where our expertise can be particularly beneficial.

Separate Personal and Business Finances

This is fundamental to gaining a true understanding of your business’s cash flow. Mixing personal and business finances can cloud your view of the business's actual performance and impact your financial decision-making.

Establish a Cash Reserve

A safety net of reserved funds can be a lifesaver during unforeseen financial challenges and also provides the flexibility to seize growth opportunities without the stress of financial constraints.

Actionable Steps to Enhance Your Cash Flow

Start by refining your invoicing process; make it a routine to issue invoices immediately after goods or services are delivered. This sets a professional tone and reduces the payment turnaround time. 

Following the strategies outlined above not only helps in collecting revenue more efficiently but also keeps your finances organised and your business prepared for whatever lies ahead.

How We Can Assist

First Class Accounts Ovens & Murray and Busy01 Consulting are here to guide you through the intricacies of cash flow management. From implementing the appropriate Apps to optimise your invoicing process to implementing effective strategies, our expertise can help you navigate the bookkeeping and cash flow aspects of your business with confidence.

Are you ready to take control of your business? 

Contact us for personalised guidance on bookkeeping, invoicing, cash flow management, and how to keep your business financially healthy. 

We can help you implement the appropriate Apps and practical strategies that align with your business goals. Get in touch today, and let's work together to secure the financial stability of your business.

Holiday cashflow for your business

Holiday cashflow for your business

Holiday cashflow for your business

Whether you’re heading into a holiday period, or just planning to take a break (and congratulations, because a healthy business means work-life balance), it’s important to keep your cashflow under control. This means pre-planning and being proactive.

When you’re not in the office, there are still overheads and salaries that need to be sorted. If taking time off means that less cash will be coming in, it’s essential to plan for this period to make sure that these costs can be comfortably covered. Make sure you have a clear picture of your payroll, and any other planned expenses that will need to be accounted for.

If there’s even a possibility that there could be a shortfall, it’s essential to meet this head-on. Whether this means talking to your supplier or creditors to figure out an arrangement, or compromising on other business outgoings, you must make a plan to ensure that the business, or your staff, won’t suffer.

Tips to minimise the stress of cash-flow over the holiday period

Invoice early

Sending out invoices promptly is your first line of defense. Consider going a step further by offering early payment incentives or exploring retainer agreements with regular clients. This ensures a steady inflow of cash before the holiday rush begins.

Chase payment

Building strong relationships with clients is paramount. Take advantage of this season to initiate open conversations about outstanding payments. A friendly reminder can make a significant difference, fostering goodwill and ensuring your business is on solid financial ground.

Talk to suppliers

A transparent relationship with suppliers is invaluable. Engage in open discussions about your cash-flow concerns and explore the possibility of extending credit terms. Most suppliers appreciate honesty and may be willing to accommodate your needs to maintain a long-term partnership.

Review your costs

Business costs have a tendency to accumulate gradually. Regularly reviewing expenses is a prudent practice irrespective of the holiday season. Take a comprehensive look at subscriptions, regular payments, and upcoming expenses. Identifying areas where costs can be optimised ensures financial stability throughout the year.

Explore alternative approaches

This is an opportune time to reassess your approach to travel, functions, and purchases. Are there cost-effective alternatives or adjustments that can be made without compromising quality? Being flexible and creative in your spending can contribute significantly to maintaining a healthy cash flow.

Talk to the bank or tax department

In times of tight cash flow, initiating early conversations with your bank or tax department is crucial. Discussing potential challenges in advance allows you to explore options, meaning you will have the necessary support to navigate any financial hurdles during the holiday season.

Preparation is key

All businesses need a holistic approach to tackle cash-flow challenges. Develop a comprehensive plan that encompasses all aspects of your financial landscape, from client interactions to supplier relationships and internal cost management.

This time of year can be hard on businesses. By implementing these strategies and staying proactive, you can not only minimise cash-flow challenges but also position your business for success in the coming year.

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

As the festive season approaches, it’s a great time to let your customers and team members know how much you appreciate them. 

In a year that has presented its challenges, when it comes to deciding on Christmas gifts for your customers and team, finding the right balance between generosity and sensitivity is important. It’s not easy to know how much to spend or whether it’s appropriate to throw a party.

Let's explore some Christmas gift ideas that go beyond the traditional, and are appropriate for both your clients and team.

The traditional route: gifts, cards and donations

The traditional approach often involves food-related gifts like hams, hampers, or bottles of wine or spirits. While these can be easily ordered online and delivered, it's essential to consider potential delays and the possibility that recipients might be working remotely. To navigate these challenges, opt for non-perishable items or those with extended shelf life.

For clients who you have a close relationship with, consider personalised gifts that align with their personal interests.  This more personal approach demonstrates your attentiveness and can strengthen your professional relationship. Additionally, a handwritten card adds a personal and cost-effective touch that resonates well during the holiday season.

Another option is a making a donation on behalf of your clients or team members. This adds a meaningful element to your gift-giving as many people really appreciate an email or card that lets them know you’ve donated money to a charity on their behalf. For that extra touch you can include details like, “The local foodbank will use this donation to feed families on Christmas Day.”

Building Stronger Connections: Coffee, Lunch, and Face-to-Face Interaction

Treating high-value clients to a coffee or lunch can be a powerful gesture. This not only allows for a more personal connection but also creates lasting memories. While this approach may involve a higher cost, the impact on client relationships can far exceed that of a traditional gift.

Consider the preferences of your team when deciding on gifts for them. While hampers are a classic choice, it may not be universally preferred. A Christmas bonus is appreciated, but it's essential to consider the tax implications. A supermarket voucher, on the other hand, retains its full value, providing a practical and tax-efficient alternative. Engage with your team to understand their preferences; some may value a paid day off more than a physical gift.

Budgeting for Generosity: Tailoring Gifts Based on Relationships

Working out how much to spend on each client can be challenging. One approach is to categorise clients based on their spending with your business and their overall value to your business.

Consider giving high-value clients more substantial gifts, while smaller clients may receive more modest yet thoughtful tokens of appreciation.

Need help with Christmas budgeting?

If you find yourself wondering how much each client has spent or are unsure about your Christmas gift budget, we're here to assist.

Get in touch with us, and we'll analyse the numbers to provide insights tailored to your business. We'll help make sure your generosity aligns with your financial capabilities, making this festive season memorable for both you and your clients.

Get in touch and we’ll run the numbers to give you the insights you need.

Plain English guide to cashflow

Plain English guide to cashflow

Plain English guide to cashflow

Why is cashflow so central to good financial management? Here's our plain English guide.

What is cashflow?

Cashflow refers to the movement of money into and out of your business over a specific period.

In the most basic terms, cashflow is the process of cash moving out of the business (cash outflows), and cash coming into the business (cash inflows). The ideal scenario is to be in a ‘positive cashflow position’. This means that your inflows outweigh your outflows – i.e. that more cash is coming into the business than is going out.

When you’re cashflow positive, the main benefit is that you have the liquid cash available to fund your daily operations and debt payments etc.

On the flip side, if you’re in a negative cashflow position, this can be a red flag that the business is facing some financial challenges – and that some serious cost-cutting and/or revenue generation is needed.

How does cashflow affect your business?

Not having enough liquid cash is one of the biggest reasons for companies failing. So it’s absolutely vital that you keep on top of your company’s cashflow position.

Five key cashflow areas to focus on will include:

  1. Monitoring your cash inflows and outflows – this means regularly tracking your cash inflows from sales, loans and investments, as well as managing your cash outflows from expenses, purchases and debt repayments.
  2. Managing your account receivables and payables – efficiently managing your customer receipts and supplier payments helps smooth out your inflows and outflows – and delivers stable cashflow that’s easier to predict and manage.
  3. Getting proactive with your budgeting and forecasting – creating realistic cashflow budgets and forecasts helps you predict your future cash position. By anticipating your future cash needs, you can actively plan for potential shortfalls or surpluses.
  4. Being in control of your stock inventory – having excess stock in your warehouse ties up cash. So, it’s a good idea to optimise your inventory levels and to only manufacture/order the items you need on a day-to-day basis.
  5. Investing in your cash reserves – with emergency cash reserves in the bank, you know you have the funds to handle unforeseen cashflow issues or sustain your operations during lean periods. This makes your whole cashflow position more stable.

How can our firm help you with cashflow management?

Positive cashflow is the beating heart of your business. Working with a good bookkeeper and adviser helps you keep that cashflow healthy, stable and driving your key goals as a company.

We’ll help you keep accurate records, track your inflows and outflows and deliver the best possible cashflow position for the business.

Get in touch to chat about improving your cashflow.

Keeping your cashflow strong

Keeping your cashflow strong in tough times

Keeping your cashflow strong in tough times

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable in tough economic times.

When sales are slow, there are still overheads and salaries that need to be sorted.

At First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray, we understand that the key to staying afloat and continuing to thrive during this time is pre-planning and forward thinking.

Here are some tips to help your business thrive in these difficult times:

Get a clear picture of your payroll and planned expenses

It's important to have a detailed understanding of your business's expenses so that you can plan for any potential shortfalls.

Make sure you have a clear picture of your payroll, and any other planned expenses that will need to be accounted for. If there’s even a possibility that there could be a shortfall, it’s essential to meet this head-on.

By forecasting and budgeting meticulously, you'll be able to better understand how you're placed to weather financial strains if or when they arise.

Invoice early

Sending invoices as soon as possible and in advance can help you receive payments sooner. By proactively billing your clients or customers, you increase the chances of receiving payment promptly. Offering a retainer or similar deal to regular clients or customers can also encourage them to book services or make purchases in advance, providing you with a cash flow boost.

Chase payment 

It's essential to follow up on any outstanding payments during tough times. Maintain strong communication with your clients and proactively remind them about their unpaid invoices. By initiating conversations and expressing the importance of timely payment, you can encourage clients to settle their dues promptly. Read 6 secrets to getting prompt payment here.

Talk to suppliers

A little honesty can go a long way. Being honest with your suppliers about your financial situation can lead to more flexible arrangements. Openly communicate with them and explore the possibility of extending a line of credit or negotiating alternative payment terms. Suppliers who value an ongoing business relationship may be willing to work with you to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Review Inventory

Evaluating your inventory can help identify potential cost-saving measures. Look for local suppliers who may offer cheaper alternatives, reducing shipping costs. Additionally, consider discussing alternative products with your suppliers that could help you lower expenses without compromising the quality or value you offer to your customers.

Review your costs

It’s also a good idea to do a general review of expenses. Business costs can creep up, and it’s a great idea to make a time to check on your expenses regularly, no matter what your financial situation. Review all of your regular payments and subscriptions as well as upcoming costs. There may be travel, functions or purchases which you can decide on an alternative approach to.

Talk to the bank or tax department

If you're experiencing tight cash flow, it's important to initiate early conversations with your bank and tax department. By discussing your situation, you can explore available options for financial assistance, such as credit facilities or tax payment extensions. Proactive communication allows you to put necessary arrangements in place and ensures you have the support needed to navigate challenging times.

Need help? 

We can help you implement strategies to protect your business for the long terms and help you alleviate cashflow worries.  Get in touch.

5 ways to ensure you get paid on time

5 ways to ensure you get paid on time

Worrying whether customers will pay you on time is a continual concern for business owners.

Late payment can lead to cashflow issues, unpaid supplier bills and the need to dip into your own pocket to cover your operational expenses. If you can improve the speed and likelihood of customers paying on time, that's good news for your accounts receivable targets and the company's overall liquidity and cashflow position.

Speeding up payment times

A sale is not a sale until the customer has actually paid you. Whether you’re an online business taking payment through your website, or a B2B company that sends out monthly invoices, you need the comfort of knowing that payment will be fast, smooth and frictionless.

Here are 5 tips for making sure that customers pay you as seamlessly as possible:

For eCommerce businesses, offer payment gateways to simplify payment.

When a customer gets through to your checkout, it’s vital to make payment as easy as possible.

Some customers may prefer to pay on a card. But offering a choice of payment gateways gives the customer more options. Instead of forcing customers down one route include payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay or Google Pay.

For companies using e-invoicing, put payment buttons on your electronic invoices

If you send out e-invoices to your customers, including payment buttons makes settling your bill as easy as clicking that button.

A payment button that’s linked directly to Paypal or Stripe removes several steps from the payment process. It’s straightforward and quick, getting you your cash without the hassle of BACs payments or transfers.

For businesses offering subscription services, automate those customer payments

When you’re offering a recurring, monthly service, you don’t want the hassle of sending out those invoices and getting involved in cash collection.

Think about automating the creation of recurring invoices in your accounting software, and get your customers to sign up to a Direct Debit platform, like GoCardless. Money is taken automatically on a pre-agreed date and the transaction matched in your accounts.

For retail companies, use card readers that sync with your accounting software

If you’re running a busy cafe or retail space, your customers just want to tap their card and go.

Integrating your card reader with your cloud accounting software removes all the tedious data entry and adding up of receipts. With a direct API between your POS card reader and your accounting platform, all the data is shared automatically.

For all B2B businesses, send your invoices out as early as possible

The sooner you issue an invoice, the sooner the due date will come around.

 If you’re working on a project basis, split the fee up into chunks and invoice out at key milestones throughout the project. It’s also a good idea to make your payment terms clear and enforceable on every invoice.

Payment within 14 to 30 days from the invoice date is a good standard to aim for (though 60 days, or even 90 days, is possible in some industries).

Fast payments improve your cashflow position and remove the need for time-consuming and stressful debtor chasing. By following these five tips, your customers have the smoothest route to paying you, and you get the cash that’s owed to your ASAP.

Talk to us about speeding up your payment times

We’ll help you review your payment process and cash collection to look for the main areas where you can make improvements. We can also integrate appropriate Apps for your business that can help you get paid on time.

Getting more from your procurement spending

Getting more from your procurement spending

Getting more from your procurement spending

Keeping the wheels of your business turning can be expensive. As part of your ongoing business cycle, you’ll need to buy the goods and services that keep you operational. This might be subscriptions to business software, raw materials for production or even accounting services.

But if you’re going to get the maximum value from this procurement process, it’s important to be fully in control of what you’re buying and how you manage these costs.

Managing your procurement in tough economic times

There’s no escaping the fact that cashflow is tight for many businesses at present. Globally, we’re experiencing a worldwide economic slowdown, alongside the pressures of a supply chain crisis that has pushed up prices and reduced margins.

Because of this, it’s important for you to keep a close eye on your procurement, so you can find the best prices, strike the best deals and keep your business in a positive cashflow position

If you’re using the most expensive logistics partner, or spending too much on raw materials, this can start to have a big impact on your profitability and your ability to grow.

5 key ways to enhance your procurement spending

Keeping your business in a positive cashflow position is all about ensuring your cash inflows (your income) outweigh your cash outflows (your costs).

When your procurement costs are high, it makes it a real challenge to maintain this positive cash position. The answer is to examine your spending and to proactively reduce your costs, improve your supplier terms and generate a tighter and more effective procurement process. If your procurement process helps you cut down on your spending, you’ll also improve the overall financial health of the whole business.

Here are 5 key ideas to help you get in control of your procurement:

1. Reduce your base cost per item

If you buy goods into the business, it’s important to think about your basic cost per unit. Your unit cost is difficult to control, but there are ways to reduce it. Try getting multiple quotes from a variety of suppliers so you can source a provider that offers the best mix of value, quality and reliability, at an economical price. Negotiation can also be an effective way to bring prices down.

2. Cut your logistics and delivery costs

Physical goods have to be transported to your premises and to your end customers. These logistics costs are an integral operational expense, but they can still be reduced as part of the procurement process. Search for carriers and logistics providers that offer the services you need and then see if they open to negotiation on prices. Ask if discounts are offered if you offer shorter payment terms or if you join a preferred customer program to help reduce prices.

3. Nurture the best supplier relationships

Nurturing good relationships with your suppliers sets the best possible foundations for your procurement management. Building that stability into your supply chain deepens trust and makes it easier to negotiate favourable terms. Put some effort into nurturing good relationships with your supplier and make sure you always pay on time. This helps to build a good reputation with your supplier, making your procurement process simpler and more cost-effective.

4. Reduce tax and duty costs

Whether you’re selling nationally or across borders, there are likely to territory-specific taxes and duties to pay when buying and transporting your goods. Working with a tax adviser who knows your industry and/or territories helps a great deal. They can check you’re paying the right taxes on your goods/services and that they’re correctly categorised for taxes like VAT or GST. Working with a customs broker also ensures you pay the correct duty on all your imports and exports.

5. Using tech to get in control of procurement

Business software is transforming the efficing of procurement. There are plenty of cloud-based procurement solutions available, giving you the benefits of 24/7 accessibility in the cloud and one point of truth for all your procurement data and reporting. This helps to streamline your internal processes, manage risk more effectively and keep a close watch on spending against budgets, cashflow and expected expenditure. By keeping yourself informed, you can manage your expenses by putting caps on spending, or switching to new suppliers that can offer you a better deal or cheaper prices.

Talk to us about your procurement management.

Taking the time to improve your procurement management is a no-brainer in the current climate. You’ll improve your cashflow, supplier relationships and your ability to ride out the slowdown.

Cashflow or Profit? Which is more important?

Cashflow or profit? Which is more important?

Cashflow or Profit? Which is more important?

Cashflow and profit are two of the most important financial metrics for any business. But while they’re both related to the financial performance of a company, they measure different things.

Knowing the difference – and how cash and profit contribute to your success story – is a vital skill if you want your business to have the best possible financial health.

The difference between cashflow and profit

Understanding the technicalities of financial reporting can be daunting as a new entrepreneur. And even seasoned business owners can find it hard work resonating with the various financial reports that today’s cloud accounting software can produce.

But getting your head around the differences between cashflow and profit can be a gamechanger – especially when it comes to managing your working capital.

So, let’s look at the differences:

  • Profit refers to the amount of money your business has left after subtracting all expenses from your revenue. It’s a measure of your company's financial success over a given period, whether that’s a month, quarter or a full 12-months.
  • Cashflow is a process that measures the inflow and outflow of cash in your business. This includes both your operating and investment activities. Maintaining a ‘positive cashflow position’ is vital for meeting your financial obligations.

Why is it important to make a profit?

Profit is a measure of the financial success of your business. It’s also a key factor in your growth as an organisation. Healthy profits mean you have the surplus cash needed to reinvest in the business, and to pay yourself and your fellow shareholders healthy dividends.

However, you can only make a profit if you have enough liquid cash to keep operating – and this is where the importance of cashflow becomes paramount.

Why is positive cashflow so essential?

Poor cashflow is one of the biggest factors in most business failures. As the lifeblood of the company, cash is an essential ingredient in the financial mix. To operate effectively, you need more cash inflows than cash outflows. If not, you don’t have the cash to purchase raw materials, pay your workforce or buy the services that keep you operating.

Positive cashflow is all about ensuring that there’s more cash coming in than expenses going out. In this harmonious place of being in a ‘positive cashflow position’ you have liquid cash available exactly when you need it – and that’s vital for keeping the lights on in the business.

Talk to us about getting in control of your cashflow

Profit is an excellent measure of your financial success. But positive cashflow is the electricity that powers your business and keeps the wheels turning day in, day out.

Positive cashflow helps you:

  • Stay operational, with enough cash in the kitty
  • Meet your financial obligations as a company
  • Invest in your expansion, growth and scale-up strategy
  • Sustain your long-term success as an ambitious business.

Even a profitable business can face liquidity issues, so getting in control of your cashflow really should be top of your financial to-do list this year.

Get in touch to talk about your cashflow position.

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