As a business owner, it is very important that you know how much money you have left, and if it is sufficient to meet your short-term cash needs. Specially, the recent economic downturn due to the pandemic has made it even more crucial that we are able to project the company’s future financial position based on anticipated payments and receivables. To ascertain if you have adequate cash reserves for short-term viability, it is essential that you have an accurate cash flow forecast set up for your business.
A cash flow forecast simply helps you project your company’s future financial position based on your income and expenses. Like a weather forecast predicts the weather for the next week, similarly a cash flow forecast tells you how much money will be moving in and out of your business and how much difference it’s going to make to your ROI.
Your cash flow forecast can include your projected earnings, your expenses, and it is usually sketched up to cover the next twelve weeks of spending for a business. It is regarded as one of the most crucial tools a businessperson can have to ensure a steady and stable income in their business. Executed well, your cash flow projections will aid you in having a rich understanding of:
Forecasting your cash flow can bring a vast amount of clarity about the future of your business and helps you grasp a comprehensive understanding of where and when your business is losing cash by looking at your projected accounts receivables and accounts payables.
If you are looking to adopt a proactive financial management strategy into your business, then forecasting your cash flow can be a great asset to bring clarity to your numbers.
Cash flow forecasting gives you an exact representation of the comparison between how much you are actually earning and how much you’re spending. With these statistics, you can know whether your business is either under-or over-performing or doing better than expected and allows you to adjust your budget accordingly.
Every business operates at its own pace. But having a thorough and rigorous cash flow forecast can help you broadly identify what the base-level needs of your business are to function optimally. It is also handy for identifying opportunities where you can cut back on operating costs and increase your overall ROI.
Cash flow forecasting is much more than just knowing how much you have left in the bank. It can include all your future expenses, including upcoming payments, bills, and when your business can be expected to experience a little turbulence in its profitability.
Knowing you have enough cash available to manage your needs can bring a peace of mind and eliminates the day-to-day stress of firefighting short-term cash needs. Through proactive cash flow forecasting, you are able to identify and prevent significant cash shortages before they become a problem.
If you’re going to the route of manually creating your forecasts, then using old-school (yet still purposeful) programs such as Microsoft Excel can be a way to get up close and personal with your financial data. Just use a pre-installed template available in the software and forecast your cash flow efficiently.
There is no shortage of accounting software programs for accounting and bookkeeping available on the Internet, and most of them will provide you with a vast array of useful options to quickly generate your cash flow projections. But while they are generally easy to use, their projections aren’t what we would call the most accurate or reliable. They’re only suitable to be used as last-minute measures and are not recommended for informed business decision-making.
Having a clear idea of your business’s financial health is essential for any entrepreneur. If you do not have an in-house accountant to provide the cash flow for you, then outsourcing your forecasting needs to online financial management services such as Monily can also be really helpful. WHY is this better than the other two options? The accountant will work closely with the business owner to design cash management and cash flow projection tool custom-tailored for the business taking into account the industry-specific variables, needs, and nuances. Our accountants not only create tools and graphical representations in an easy-to-understand format but also provide detailed analysis and identify key action items for optimal cash management based on the report.
In simple terms, cash flow forecasting gives you useful insights you need to make informed financial decisions such as: will you be able to pay your vendors on time? Or will you have to delay somebody’s payment? A cash flow highlights any cash shortages and enables you to proactively address the situation before it becomes a crisis.