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The SME Owner’s Guide to Managing Cash Flow 

24 February 2023
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Managing cash flow can be a tricky matter for SMEs, especially with a lot of cash burn in the first few years of launching a business. The term cash flow refers to the net amount of cash and cash equivalents being transferred in and out of a business. It can be calculated by totalling up the cash coming in and subtracting the payments going out from operations, investments, and financing.

SME owners may make the mistake of thinking strong revenue is all it takes to maintain a healthy cash flow, but there are many other steps to take. 

Check out these tips on how to manage cash flow for SMEs.

Managing Cash Flow for SMEs

1.      Separate your business and your personal finances

This is essential if you want to understand your business cash flow and forecast how it might change. Mixing up your business and personal finances can make it hard for you to check your business performance and do forecasting.

By having a separate business account, you are able to know how much cash your SME is making and how you will manage your money. You can also receive deposits from customers, pay employees and vendors, and do accounting and tax reporting on your business account.

2.      Reconcile your bank account regularly

Bank reconciliations should be done once a month to ensure the accuracy of your cash ledger and bank account. Reconciliations help determine the status of any outstanding checks and deposits, as well as keep your accounts updated for bank debits and credits.

Any unrecorded withdrawals can be the leading cause of overdrafts and costly penalties. By making sure your accounting information is updated regularly, you can evaluate the financial state of your business.

3.      Invoice customers as soon as you can

SMEs might make the mistake of being too lenient with customers to retain them. However, late customer payments are one of the causes of an unhealthy cash flow. The best thing to do is set a payment policy on receipt of invoice.

Don’t wait for the end of the month to receive payment, and don’t forget to follow up late payers through timely reminders. Send your invoices as soon as you can, which is ideally no later than 2 business days after the work is complete. Don’t be afraid to be direct and strict when it comes to invoicing.

4.      Offer different payment options

Another way to boost cash flow is by offering different payment options to customers. For example, nowadays customers expect to be able to pay online for everything, so it’s better for your SME to provide this option. Payment methods that are limited and time-consuming will make them take longer to pay or even stop being a customer. 

For example, using a payment automation solution such as the Payment Links feature from Fazz Business, you can create and share a unique Payment Link for customers to make hassle-free payments.

5.      Don’t pay bills too early

When it comes to running an SME, paying bills too early is not always ideal. In fact, it can cause a strain in your cash flow during later times. As long as you don’t pass the deadline and decrease your credit score, there’s no reason to pay for something too early.

Schedule payments wisely so that you still keep up with payment terms while making sure you have the cash needed at any period of the month to avoid any issues in cash flow management.

6.      Secure a business loan ahead of time

Many SME owners wait until the last minute before trying to take on a business loan. However, a business loan gives you more flexibility in managing cash flow. You can take advantage of purchasing new equipment and seize business opportunities that pop up during the days when you don’t have enough capital.

There are many types of loans available for SMEs. Choose lenders that offer loans with low interest so that you won’t face any problems paying it off in the future.

7.      Open a high-yield business account 

Having a high yield business account does not only help you store your revenue and do transactions, but also lets you benefit from the interest given to safeguard your SME growth. Depending on your business financial needs, you may want to look out for accounts that do not have a minimum deposit and low monthly fees.

Also, consider the number of transfers you can do from that account every month, and if you need accounts that allow multi-currency transactions.

8.      Have a reliable accounting system

Important business metrics that SME owners should keep track of are accounts receivables aging, operating margins and inventory turnover. Having a reliable accounting system helps you track and report these and manage cash flow smoothly. Even if you have little accounting background, you can work with a professional accountant to know your current cash position.

For example, if you need to know whether you have enough working capital to buy new equipment or process big seasonal orders, you can simply look at your accounts. If you haven’t been updating and recording your accounts clearly and accurately, start doing it so that you can use your past cash flow statements to predict how much you will spend or earn in the coming months.

9.      Prepare emergency funding

Having emergency funding is the cushion that will keep you secured in the face of unexpected events. You will also have the confidence and finances you need to expand or grow your business. The simplest way to prepare emergency funding is by setting aside some of your cash for the long term as your cash reserve.

10. Cut costs where you can

Staying on top of your expenses is one of the best ways to manage cash flow. Identify if there are any places where you can reduce costs and make money-saving decisions. 

Some simple steps to cut costs for SMEs are:

–          Consider leasing or choosing used goods when buying equipment

–          Do regular maintenance and repairs instead of replacement

–          Unless necessary, work with open source software

–          Outsourcing instead of hiring permanent employees where possible

Grow your business with a Fazz Business Loan

If you are hoping to manage cash flow better and are looking into a business loan for financing, check out Fazz Business. Accelerate your SME growth with quick, ready access to working capital. Our daily interest rate starts as low as 0.05% with approval within 48 hours. Apply for a Fazz Business Loan here to build, run and grow your business with peace of mind today!

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