Seven Tips to manage your money better

Cash flow is the fuel that keeps a business running smoothly. To make sure your company isn’t running on empty, check your current practices against these techniques used by the top money managers.

Create a cash flow budget

A cash flow budget helps to ensure that you can comfortably pay all your expenses and enables you to manage your revenues and expenses proactively.

Key components include a sales/revenue forecast; anticipated inflows, such as accounts receivable; anticipated outflows, such as cost of goods sold; debt repayments; and operating expenses.

It’s important to keep your cash flow budget up-to-date and to make sure that it reflects changes in your operating environment and your plans for your business.
Know the sensitivities in your cash flow

It’s important to pin down which items – such as price, volume, or overheads – will have the most impact on your cash flow.

Cost of goods sold, for example, has a significant impact on your cash flow, yet is difficult for you to change. At the same time, competitive pressures may prevent you from increasing prices.

Cash flow is also affected by inventory days and accounts receivable days.
Manage the credit you are extending to your customers

There are a number of different ways to improve how you manage your receivables.

Establishing effective credit policies is an important part of successful cash flow management.

You might also think about how you can encourage clients to pay more quickly. For example, consider discounts for early payments, or charge interest on accounts that are past due.

While interest and late charges may actually become a source of income for your business, it’s important to apply some due diligence. Extremely late payments are more likely to become write-offs and will also keep some of your working capital tied up.
Keep your payables up-to-date

Regularly reviewing your accounts payable schedule helps determine how well you are keeping up with your credit obligations.

A useful practice is to have an “aging schedule,” which shows you how much you owe, to whom, and whether you are current or past due on any bills.
Reduce expenses

Look for ways to cut back: for example, can the cost of promotional materials (such as printing or production) be reduced without compromising their quality and impact?

When business volume steps up, bring in temporary, contract, or part-time help before committing to additional full-time staff.

An independent audit may reveal redundancies and inefficiencies that you can address.
Use credit effectively

The best credit facility will depend on your company’s individual circumstances, business plans, and existing credit facilities.

For example, term loans are ideal for long-term capital purchases, while lines of credit can be used to meet short-term working capital requirements or to take advantage of unexpected business opportunities.
Put your company’s surplus cash flow to work

Assess how much money you need to set aside for emergencies

To do this, review your company’s cash flow history for any patterns.

As well, consider how potential changes in the economy, such as currency or interest rate fluctuations, could affect your revenues or expenses.

Any surplus in your cash flow can be used for business expansion, to pay off debts, or to maintain a certain level of working capital.

Your CIBC business advisor can help you in all areas of your cash flow management to find the solutions that are right for your business.

5 Tips for Getting Your Company’s Financial House in Order

When you started your business, unless you love finance and accounting, you probably weren’t excited to crunch numbers and dig into financial models. Instead, you did it because you love to bake cakes, get people in shape or do whatever is at the core of your business.

But there’s a clear difference between working your business (i.e. baking the cakes) and the work needed to run your business (i.e. making sure you have the money to buy flour for the cakes). One can’t exist without the other, and business owners often make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on working the business while ignoring how the business is run, oftentimes to their detriment.

One of most difficult parts about running a business are tending to numbers that need crunching and financials that need digging into. Without attending to them, your business could be headed for trouble.

But what if managing finances could be less of a pain? Good news—it can be! Below are five tips to help your financial management run seamlessly, so you can get back to focusing on other parts of your burgeoning business.

1. Embrace Technology

If you’re not already using accounting software, you’re making it about 1000 times harder to manage your financials. There are so many excellent options out there. If you don’t have accounting software yet, make it a priority to purchase one in the next few days—it really is that pertinent. But even if you’ve been using accounting software for years, have you stopped and thought, “What other technologies could streamline different aspects of my finances?”

Whether it’s expense management, tracking your employees time for accurate payroll or even something industry-specific (i.e. an app for contractor bidding), you should consider what your biggest financial pain points are, and then research what’s out there to solve them.

2. Get Comfortable With Your Most Important Financials

There are key financial documents that every small business owner needs to know inside and out. These include your income statement (also known as a profit and loss statement), your balance sheet and your cash flow statement. Many of these reports can be generated in your accounting software. Click this link to learn more about these three financial statements, including getting free templates for each.

  • Income Statement: Your income statement gives you an idea of your business’ net income, which is essentially your revenue minus your expenses. Your business is killing it in sales, but if you’re spending more than you’re making to get there, then you’re perpetuating an unsustainable business model.
  • Balance Sheet: Your balance sheet is a snapshot of your company’s financials at a specific point of time, so it’s one of the best tools for figuring out how “healthy” your financials are. It’s important you learn to read a balance sheet, so you can come to the right conclusions.
  • Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement is used to track the money coming in and going out of your business over a specific period of time. Knowing when cash is coming in and where it’s going out is key to keeping your business healthy.

3. Get Help

If you currently aren’t working with a bookkeeper or an accountant, that should be your very next step. If you’re a young business and can’t quite afford these services, see if you can connect with a local bookkeeper who you can perhaps barter with. For example, if you run a marketing firm, you could offer your prospective bookkeeper a consulting package in exchange for a few hours of bookkeeping a month.

Not only will this help ensure your key financial documents are accurate, but many accountants are moving into a “consulting capacity” where they can offer you overall financial advice, introduction to helpful apps for your business and more.

4. Save for Taxes

You should open up a tax savings account so you don’t get hit hard, whether that hit comes quarterly or in April. Ask your accountant for advice on setting this up, including structures for any scheduled payments or deferments.

Additionally, ask your accountant what your expected tax rate is. When your business receives a payment, take this amount out and put it right into that savings account. Not only will you be ready to go when you need it, but as an added bonus, you’ll have earned some interest on the money you’ve been saving. It’s a win-win!

5. Add in Money Minutes

By always having a pulse on what is happening with your finances, you’ll be able to identify trouble spots early and address them before they get out of hand. To do this, start your morning every day with “money minutes.” Take the first 10 minutes of every day to check in on what’s happening with your finances. Did you find any unexpected expenses? Bills that need to be paid? Maybe you’ll find a customer that missed their invoice due date and needs you to resend the invoice online along with an email reminder.

If you don’t prioritize your business’ financial management, how can you expect your finances to stay healthy? As a business owner, time is certainly your most valuable asset and it’s tough to find surplus amounts in your already-full schedule. But if you adopt the tips above, you’ll find managing your finances can become much more seamless.