Cash flow is king

Pay your bills on time and manage the purchase of supplies and equipment you need with effective cash flow management.

The survival of any business depends on cash – making cash flow the lifeblood of your business. Even if your business makes a healthy profit at the end of the year, you still need to manage the inflow and outflow of cash to survive on a day-to-day basis.

Managing cash flow effectively will help your business to pay its bills on time, purchase the supplies and equipment it needs, and survive long-term.

Forecast your cash flow

It's important to find out in advance the months when your business is likely to be short of cash. Then you can plan ahead and minimize the impact of cash flow problems.

Cash flow forecasting tools are great for tracking when and from where your business will receive cash - and how and when the cash will need to be spent. Forecast your business's cash needs for the next six or 12 months.

Improve your cash flow

Once you know how much cash you'll need and when there are likely to be shortfalls, it's time to improve your cash flow.

Manage accounts receivable proactively

Manage accounts receivable proactively in order to improve your cash flow and minimize write-offs of bad debts. Some ways to enhance the management of your accounts receivable process include:

  • Carrying out a credit check on each new customer.
  • Improving your invoice system – consider introducing an electronic invoicing system so that invoices can't be lost in the mail. Add your bank details to invoices so customers can pay you by direct deposit.
  • Invoicing promptly – if you're working on a large project, invoice in instalments rather than waiting until the whole project has been completed.
  • Depositing checks in the bank as soon as you receive them.
  • Considering changing your payment terms to 30 or 14 days.
  • Chasing up all unpaid invoices as soon as they become overdue.

Manage accounts payable effectively

Your cash flow will improve if you also manage your accounts payable process effectively in the following ways. Aim to:

  • Negotiate favorable payment terms with new suppliers.
  • Pay for purchases with a business credit card and benefit from the interest-free period.
  • If you're in a strong cash position, take advantage of early payment discounts offered by suppliers.
  • Use an accounts payable system to track when bills are due, ensuring that you pay them on their due dates, thus keeping cash in your business for as long as possible – and avoiding late payment penalties.
  • Build strong relationships with your suppliers so that they’re likely to be more understanding if and when you run into cash flow problems.
  • Consider leasing rather than buying business premises, vehicles, equipment, and other assets. Leasing places less of a strain on your cash flow but it can be more expensive than buying in the long-term.

Other ways to improve cash flow

Depending on the nature of your business, there are several other ways to improve cash flow, which include:

  • Making your inventory ordering process more efficient. Think about introducing just-in-time ordering, and withdrawing products that don't sell very quickly.
  • Selling assets that are no longer used on a regular basis. If necessary, lease or hire vehicles or other assets whenever you need them in future.
  • Maintaining assets regularly and repair them when necessary. This should mean that they have a long life and don’t need to be replaced frequently.
  • Considering purchasing good quality, used equipment rather than new items.
  • Growing your sales by increasing your marketing efforts, introducing a loyalty program, or expanding your product range.

Save and invest excess cash

Whenever you have excess cash in your business account, transfer it to either a business savings account or a business investment account.

A business savings account allows you to earn interest on even small amounts of surplus cash. Scotiabank's Money Master for business savings account doesn't require you to maintain a minimum balance and gives you instant access to your cash, if you need it.

It’s ideal for businesses that have a relatively small amount of cash to save on an irregular basis.

If your business has at least $25,000 in cash savings, it could achieve higher interest rates with either the Scotia Power Savings for business account or the Scotiabank Business Investment Account.

On the road to growth in profits, cash flow is king. Healthy cash flow will enable you to rent your business premises, pay your staff salaries, and meet all your commitments.

Surplus cash will help your business to thrive on a long-term basis and provide a safety net for the months when your cash outflow exceeds your inflow.

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