How to manage your cash flow: 5 tips from the experts
Despite the containment and its effect on economic activity, the number of business failures remains on a downward trend for the time being. However, this situation, which is largely explained by the various public supports to companies (PGE, deferral of charges, deferral of loan repayments), will not last. Worse, according to the Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (OFCE), even companies that were healthy and productive will quickly find themselves short of cash and therefore exposed to a real risk of failure because of the drop in their activity following the Covid-19 pandemic.
What are the levers available for better cash management? Our consultants GESTION CREDIT EXPERT answer you in 5 points.
WHY MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW?
Originally, cash management was simply a matter of ensuring that sufficient liquidity was maintained to cover current expenses, while maximizing the return on available funds.
Good cash management now extends to a broader scope:
- Control the inflow and outflow of cash,
- Optimize the profitability of available funds,
- Hedge interest rate and foreign exchange risks,
- Provide security for payments.
It implies to have management tools to evaluate the immediate and future financing needs of the company.
DETERIORATION OF YOUR CASH FLOW: QUICKLY IDENTIFY THE PROBABLE CAUSES
The first thing to do is toquickly identify the sensitive points that can degrade your level of cash flow andyour working capital requirements (WCR).
- The deterioration of your customers’ payment terms is sudden?
- A rapid increase in your inventory?
- A very fast commercial development?
Once the points of vigilance have been identified, you must establish a corrective action plan.
TO BETTER MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW, BUILD YOUR BUDGET FORECAST
The cash flow budget is a table representing the financial forecast of the company. It reflects the monthly flows of receipts and disbursements month by month.
Data to consider:
- At the level of receipts: the projected turnover (including VAT) together with the payment deadlines of your customers, the capital contributions, the current account contributions, the subsidies received, the financial income and the tax refunds,
- At the level of disbursements: investments, purchases including VAT, overheads including VAT (rent, fees, maintenance, insurance, transport expenses, etc.), salaries and social security charges, taxes, capital reductions, write-backs of current account contributions, financial charges.
- To keep your cash flow forecast relevant, you must make sure to update it regularly,
- To easily and quickly retrieve your accounting history, get help from your accountant.
IMPLEMENT COLLABORATIVE CASH MANAGEMENT
Instilling a cash culture within your company is always essential, and this is even truer in times of crisis. It is necessary to make all stakeholders aware of the need to maintain a sufficient level of cash to preserve the financial health of the company.
In a company, whatever its size, cash must be everyone’s business:
- Executives need to communicate more regularly about the company’s financial reality with all business functions and share key indicators and priorities,
- Sales representatives must help to limit the time it takes to pay customers and to avoid unpaid invoices The only turnover that counts is the one that is collected,
- The sales/billing/customer accounting/supplier accounting teams need to ensure that their tasks and missions are carried out quickly and reliably.
- Offer your teams training courses in several steps to install this cash cuture efficiently and to allow them to appropriate the necessary changes more quickly and more durably,
- Always favour a pedagogical approach with practical examples from your own company,
- Equip yourself with powerful, adapted and collaborative tools to animate this cash culture,
CHOOSE A COMMITTED CASH MANAGEMENT TOOL
Excel is the most widely used tool, but is it really the most suitable for managing your cash flow?
- The use of Excel is time consuming: few employees really master Excel perfectly for an optimal use,
- The risk of error is high: the information entered is manual,
- It is not very ergonomic for users, and even a bit austere.
To engage all your employees faster and stronger on the subject of cash flow, choose simplicity, reliability and emotion. Yes! Even for dashboards it is important.
A SaaS treasury software like Agicap for example appears as an excellent alternative to the use of Excel.
Fast and intuitive, this tool allows managers and entrepreneurs toautomate their forecasts and monitor their cash flow.
By applying artificial intelligence to relevant data (e.g. bank flows), Agicap has created a real decision-making tool for day-to-day cash management, enabling :
- Easily view available cash in real time, with automatically synchronized data,
- Automate the updating of the budget and cash flow forecasts to identify variances and readjust the future budget in an iterative manner,
- Make the best decisions by evaluating the impact of strategic scenarios on cash flow (potential recruitment, obtaining loans, savings, strategic investments…),
- Communicate easily with other employees through multi-user access or integrated chat, or with your bankers through the ‘custom export’ feature.
- Treasury data tells a story. Make sure that all your collaborators take ownership of it and become committed actors so that this story lasts as long and as efficiently as possible.
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