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xeros short-term cashflow feature

Xero’s short-term cashflow feature for businesses

Xero's short-term cashflow feature for businesses


Business cashflow is simply money coming in and money going out of the business. Your outgoings will include things like rent, payroll, taxes and supplies. Your income will be revenue from sales but might also include investment funds or the sale of assets.

For most businesses, income and expenditure don’t always happen at the same time so focussing on strong cashflow management will help you prepare for the shortfalls and also manage surplus income.

Cashflow reports allow you to look back at cashflow in your business. This can uncover cashflow patterns over time and show you how much money you need to run your business each month.

Cashflow forecasts look forward by combining payment dates and due dates for invoices, to give you an idea of what your cashflow will be like going forward.

Managing healthy cashflow

Xero’s short-term cash flow feature gives you an up-to-date dashboard view of your organisation's cashflow. You can choose multiple bank accounts and see the projected cashflow over 7-30 days. The more information you include, the more accurate your forecast will be.

Healthy cashflow management gives you better control, so you are more prepared for growth or for the unexpected. Read the article at Xero Central to learn more about this feature.

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'.

There are always 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 cashflow, 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 cashflow, more working capital and bigger profits.

If you’d like to get in control of your expenses, we’d love to chat. We’ll review your current costs and will 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.

We can help. Talk to us about improving your spend management.

understanding working capital

Understanding working capital to maintain business success

Understanding working capital to maintain business success


If cashflow is the lifeblood of your business, then working capital is the health check you should regularly undertake to keep your business alive. It is important for you to have an understanding of your working capital to maintain business success. Regularly checking working capital will play an essential part in maintaining business success during these times of greater economic insecurity.

What is working capital?

Working capital is your current assets minus your current liabilities and measures the surplus (or deficit) you have to keep your business afloat without needing to sell assets, borrow more, or add your own money into the business. The more working capital you have, the easier it is to fund growth or weather any downturns.

To calculate your working capital: Cash + debtors + stock + work in progress - creditors - taxes owing

For example, if your business had the following balances:

Cash $150,000
Debtors $120,000
Stock $100,000
Creditors $45,000
Taxes owing $25,000

Then your working capital would be $300,000 ($150,000 + $120,000 + $100,000 - $45,000 - $25,000).

If the business had an overdraft of $150,000 rather than a positive cash balance, the working capital would be zero. This means the business would have no cash to cover any slowdown in debtor payments or a downturn in sales (which would lead to higher stock levels). Worse, the business could be in serious trouble for trading while insolvent.

It’s likely your working capital has taken a hit due to Covid-19. Now is the time to review your processes and boost your working capital.

Consider the following strategies:

Build up enough cash to cover at least 2 months’ sales value

One of the key learnings from lockdown was how important it is for businesses to have enough cash in the bank to get them through a shutdown. Use the average sales value for the last six months to calculate the amount you’ll need, then manage your expenses to build your cash stocks up to this level.

Renegotiate your debt

If your business has an overdraft, could the core debt be negotiated into a term loan? Have you spoken to your bank manager about options for managing your debt as a result of Covid? We can work with you and your bank manager to determine your best finance options.

Negotiate with suppliers

Speak to your suppliers and see if you can negotiate better terms. This might be a discount for early payment or longer payment terms. They’ll be suffering too, so work together to come to the best arrangement for you both.

Set aside money for taxes

Calculate the percentage of sales you need to put aside for taxes and put this aside in a separate bank account so you have the cash to cover tax payments as they fall due.

Inject sufficient funds

If the above strategies don’t boost your working capital sufficiently, you’ll need to invest your own funds into your business to cover your working capital requirements.

Even with the many challenges of a post-pandemic economy, undertaking regular working capital checks is an effective way to help increase your business’s cashflow. We can help you calculate your working capital requirements and identify strategies you can implement to increase your working capital.


“Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is.” - Seth Godin

We can help. Talk to us about your working capital.

Your critical numbers

Your critical numbers

Your critical numbers

Establish your critical numbers; to improve the KPIs that have the biggest impact.

The Covid-19 crisis has created a “new normal” for businesses. Traditional ways of working are being challenged and we now need to innovate, adapt, re-engineer, and reinvent the way we work. Lockdown gave us time to consider our options, but two important questions often remain unanswered:

  1. How will we know if we are on track or not?
  2. Are our new plans actually working?

It goes without saying that our success needs to be measured. But it’s important for us to know what to measure. Your critical numbers are the levers that, if pulled, make the biggest impact to your results. Choose four or five critical numbers to measure. These may vary between businesses, for example, most businesses should know their minimum viable sales number per day or week for survival. Likewise, knowing the gross margin needed to cover your overhead costs and living expenses will be critical for many businesses.

Some tailored critical numbers might be:

  • Return on investment by each team member
  • Average value of proposals won
  • Number of networking calls or meetings
  • Number of days it takes your debtors to pay you

  • Once we’re clear on the critical numbers we should be measuring, we need to establish how to measure them. Having real-time, cloud-based data is the new standard, so having the right software is important. The way you capture data may require additional planning. For example, you may need to make changes to your coding or reporting structure to measure your sales or margin by product type to assess the viability of different product lines. These changes will help to give you peace of mind and certainty that you’re on track. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.


    “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.” - James Harrington

    How healthy is your working capital?

    How healthy is your working capital?

    How healthy is your working capital?


    We all know that cash is king when it comes to business success, but what exactly is ‘working capital’ and how does this financial metric help measure the health of your business?

    Working capital is made up of the cash and assets that are available in the business to fund your operations and keep you trading. It’s worked out by taking your current assets (the things you own) away from your current liabilities (the things you owe to other people).

    So, why is working capital such a critical metric?

    Having the liquid capital needed to trade

    It’s possible for your business to be busy, successful and profitable, but for your cash position to still be in poor health – and that can have a serious impact.

    If you can’t readily convert your assets into liquid cash, it’s a struggle to meet your cashflow goals, pay your bills and fund your day-to-day operations. But with the optimum level of working capital, you strengthen your balance sheet and put the company in a solid financial position.

    To achieve this healthy level of working capital you will need to:

    Proactively manage your cashflow

    Cashflow feeds your working capital by pumping liquid cash into the company and keeping the balance between assets and liabilities in a strong position. But to achieve this, it’s vital to achieve a positive cashflow position, where your cash inflows are greater than your cash outflows. This means getting paid on time, lowering your outgoings and keeping a close eye on your ongoing cash position.

    Monitor and forecast your financial position

    Running regular financial reports helps you stay in control of your finances. With careful monitoring and forecasting of your cash position, you can ensure you don’t end up in a negative cashflow position, without the requisite working capital to trade and fund the next stage in your business plan. Cloud accounting software and business intelligence apps have made it easier than ever to create up-to-date, real-time reports and run dashboards that show your key metrics.

    Use additional finance when required

    If working capital is looking thin on the ground, then additional funding may be needed to bolster your balance sheet. Short-term finance options (such as overdraft extensions or invoice finance) and longer-term business loans can be needed to keep working capital on an equilibrium.

    Working closely with your accountant is vital if you want to promote the ideal level of working capital in the business. We can help manage your cashflow, monitor your financial metrics and provide access to additional finance and funding when your capital needs a boost.

    We can help. Talk to us about optimising your working capital.

    How to use forecasts and scenario-planning

    How to use forecasts and scenario-planning

    How to use forecasts and scenario-planning

    For centuries, accounting was all about reviewing historic information – but that only told you about the past, not what was going to happen in the future.

    If you’re only looking back at past periods and historic numbers, that limits the insights you can achieve into your business. With a backward-looking ideology, it becomes difficult to plan, run through different scenarios or understand the path of the business.

    Forecasting changes this. With the right data analysis and forecasting tools, you can project sales, cash, revenue and profits into the future – and get in control of your business.

    A forward-looking view of your business journey

    Forecasting switches the focus of your financial management. By moving to a forward-looking view of your business journey, you can see further down the road – and that helps to spot the opportunities and avoid the common business pitfalls.

    Forecasting adds value by:


    Highlighting the data patterns

    A forecasting tool takes your historic data and projects it forward in time. This helps you and your advisers to spot the patterns, trends, gaps and opportunities, revealing the true ‘story’ behind your business accounts. For example, forecasting may reveal a predicted seasonal slump in the next quarter, allowing you to plan ahead and proactively take action to minimise any negative impact.

    Giving you a future view of your business

    Instinctively, business owners will look back at prior periods to assess performance. There’s value to reviewing your historic actuals, of course, but using forecasting helps you to look forward, rather than just backwards. Forecasting is the satnav, showing you the road ahead, rather than the rear-view mirror showing you the road you’ve already travelled.

    Helping you scenario-plan

    With a financial model of your key drivers, combined with accurate forecasting, you can quick answer your burning ‘What if…?’ questions. Forecasting lets you run different scenarios, with different drivers, to see how business decisions may pan out over time. If option B performs better than option A, that’s invaluable information when defining your next strategic move.

    Making informed, evidence-based decisions

    Having ‘the full picture’ of combined historic numbers, forecasts and longer-term projections aides your business decision-making. Forecasting gives you solid evidence on which to base your strategy, and helps to red flag any threats that are looming on the horizon – giving you the best possible information to keep your executive team informed and on the ball.

    A deeper relationship with your accountant

    Forecasting also helps us to get a far more granular view of your business. This helps to spot potential areas of performance improvement, and to give you the best possible strategic advice, all backed up by solid, empirical data and management information.


    If you want to get in control of the destiny of your company, come and talk to us. Forecasting helps you highlight your future threats and opportunities – and create a proactive strategy to improve the performance of your business.

    Talk to us about the benefits of forecasting.

    reduce your debtor days

    Reduce your debtor days and improve your cashflow

    Reduce your debtor days and improve cashflow

    Managing the gap between the receiving money into your business and paying money out of your business is vital for sustaining viability.

    Debtor days is the average number of days taken for a business to receive payment for goods or services. Keeping track of the average number of days for a business to receive payment is important in understanding the cashflow gap you might experience and the impact on cashflow planning and budgets.

    How to calculate debtor days

    (Year-end receivables amount ÷ annual sales) x 365 days = average debtor days.

    Here's an example: An IT consultant has in her terms and conditions that payment is due 21 days after invoice date. But she is interested to know what the actual average payment time is.

    Trade debtors at 30 June 2019 = $35,000

    Annual sales for 2019 = $478,000

    (35,000 ÷ 478,000) x 365 = 26.7 days

    With this information, she can either alter her cashflow planning according to the actual time-frame or take steps to reduce the average number of debtor days.

    Here are ten things you can do to reduce the payment times?

    1. Update your payment terms

    Make sure the terms are clear on every invoice issued. Don’t forget to include bank details on the invoice!

    2. Regular admin

    Schedule a regular time for your own administration and get your invoices out promptly.

    3. Send to the right person

    When you send invoices, make sure you address the email personally to your contact. Send the invoice to multiple addresses if possible, for example, your contact and the accounts department.

    4. Use technology to your advantage

    Use automated invoice reminders to notify customers when an invoice is about to be due and then when it is overdue. Do not wait to send notifications manually, let the software do it as soon as the invoice is a day overdue.

    5. Make it easy for your customers

    List the payment terms, for example, due in 14 days, as well as the actual due date.

    6. Provide incentives for early payment 

    For example, a 5% discount if paid within five days.

    7. Offer several payment methods for clients

    Make it easy to pay by adding an online option such as credit card or PayPal.

    8. Offer instalment payment plans over a mutually agreed period. 

    This allows you to plan for part payments, rather than being inconvenienced by the whole invoice being paid late.

    9. Do not offer unlimited credit to customers

    Make sure your terms and conditions include the right to refuse further supply if invoices are outstanding. Request part or full payment before supplying more goods or services.

    10. Talk to your suppliers

    Maintain good relationships and clear communications so they are more likely to help you if you need an extension on your bills. If possible, renegotiate supplier terms that suit your business cashflow.


    During tough times it can be difficult to get paid on time. Use low activity phases in your business to update your terms and conditions, implement alternative payment options, think about ways of making it easy for customers to pay you and clarify information on your website.

    Talk to us about adding payment options, updating your software and improving business systems to assist in reducing the number of debtor days to improve your cashflow.

    We can also look at average debtor days of your business compared to industry averages and discuss ways of managing cashflow during difficult periods.

    6 secrets to getting prompt payment

    6 secrets to getting prompt payment

    6 secrets to getting prompt payment

    If you’re struggling with late payments, and about half of small businesses are, here are some simple tips to try.

    Invoice without delay

    Your customer can't pay until you've invoiced them, so make sure you send you bill promptly. Customers are also more open to paying when they've just recieved the goods or services that you delivered. Cash in the goodwill, there's no reason to delay.

    Include all the information

    Make sure you invoice has all the right information, including a description of the work or product, the date it was ddelivered, and any customer requirements such as a purchase order number. Some customers have very specific requirements so ask what they need to see on the invoice. Make the due date clear too.

    Ask for prompt payment

    Customers used to get weeks to pay invoices, but that's changing. More than a third of businesses now request payment within a week. Consider doing the same. Starting off at seven days will help set an expectation of prompt payment. 

    Be easy to pay

    Customers will pay faster if they can use their prefferemd method to hand over the money. Consider whether you can offer them a variety of options, like a credit card or PayPal.

    Chase payments

    Your job's not done when the invoice goes out the door. You'll need to follow up with the customer to make sure it's being processed. If the invoice goes past due, it's time to make a phone call.

    Talk to us about your invoicing system, we can help you get paid faster.