Use a cash flow management tool
These days there are so many different apps and tools out there to help businesses from sole traders to large businesses. We will try and cover some of them here. While we do not endorse any and the needs for each business may differ, we hope to provide a summary of some of the resources available.
Go Cardless can help you collect recurring payments from customers (like direct debits) without the need of going via a bank. Payments are sent to your business bank account.
Kabbage allows users to apply for a line of credit when their cash flow is running low. On the other side, users can invest cash during times when cash flow is not a problem.
Mint lets users monitor their expenses, and the great thing is that it works for both business and personal accounts. See where your money is going, where it’s coming from and avoid late fees or overdraft charges by setting up alerts, so you’re on top of your cash flow before it becomes an issue.
Use automation and set parameters
Thinking about what you are spending money on, labour costs have the potential to be sky-high. Apps that help you optimise staffing levels could help. Automating both your income and expenditure could help build a much clearer picture, therefore alerting you much sooner should potential cash flow problems arise. Many apps are available. Use tech to reduce or even eliminate bank trips. Mobile card readers can accept payments anywhere (all you need is an internet connection and a smartphone) and again, funds can be transferred to your business bank account. Some banks also allow mobile cheque deposit via their app. Take advantage of your own bank’s online and app functionality. Does your bank allow you to export data easily, e.g. a CSV or to accounting software such as Quickbooks? Can you easily see what your expenses are, and upcoming payments due within the next few days? These are all things to consider when looking at a business bank account.
We briefly mentioned accounting software previously. Software such as Xero or Freshbooks can enable you to see what you are owed and what is due at all times. Automation is often available. For example, reminder notices can be sent when an invoice is due, past due, and so on. The great thing about this is that software can be integrated with your bank account, and you no longer need to be using paper invoices or Excel spreadsheets. Sounds great, right? But look at the functionality of the software, as well as the needs of your own business, before signing up or spending a large amount of money on software.
Have a process
Speaking of reminder emails, you need to have a clear process in place. When do you send reminder emails? What happens when an invoice is past due? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. Asking clients to pay by direct debit or recurring payment can help. If you have a virtual assistant, you could get them to track invoices and send reminders when payment is due. Being clear on your payment terms, e.g. 30 days, will always let you know what is outstanding.
We talked a lot about automation in this article, but one thing we didn’t mention is the human touch. Call your debtors. Explain how important cash flow is to your business. It’s better to over-communicate than to under-communicate. Confirm receipts of emails and invoices and maintain constant contact. The same applies to your creditors. If you know you are having cash flow problems, call them and explain. They will appreciate that you contacted them and may be more flexible as a result.
Cash flow can make or break a business, but it needn’t be stressful. In worst-case scenarios, some firms will take on cases on a “no win no fee basis”, depending on where your business is located and the size of your business (or invoice in question). Invoice factoring is another, possible last resort option. For a percentage, a company will pay your invoices when they are raised or due, then take on the debt on your behalf. Note that this generally only applies to companies with an annual turnover above a certain amount.
Beatrix Potter is a professional writer at Assignment Writing Service and English Assignment Help writing services. Although she has written on a wide array of topics she is most comfortable writing about tech and AI-related topics. When not writing Beatrix enjoys traveling, reading, and running. In her spare time, she also tutors at Paper Fellows.