Cash flow management for small businesses: a guide for accountants
This guide helps you offer your small business clients effective cash flow management strategies
Managing cash flow for small businesses is one of your most important responsibilities as an accountant. Cash flow management is crucial for the success of any business, but it can be particularly challenging for small businesses that may have limited resources and fluctuating income.
Tips for managing small business’ cash flow
Create a cash flow forecast
Help your clients plan their spending by making a cash flow forecast. A cash flow forecast gives visibility over whether a small business will have sufficient funds to meet expenses.
Firstly, you’d need to gather information on your clients’ small business income and expense. This includes details on income streams including sales and investments, as well as regular expenses like rent, utilities, and wages. It’s also important to account for once-off expenses such as major equipment purchases or tax payments.
A cash flow forecast can then be created once you have this information.Start by projecting your client’s income and expenses on a monthly basis for the next 12 months. This will give you a clear picture of their expected cash flow. You can then use this information to identify any potential cash flow gaps and plan accordingly.
It’s important to note that cash flow forecasting is not a one-time exercise. You’ll need to monitor your client’s cash flow regularly and adjust your forecast as needed.
This will ensure that your client has accurate and up-to-date information on their cash flow and can make informed financial decisions.
Monitor cash flow regularly
It’s essential to keep a close eye on your client’s cash flow to ensure their business stays afloat.
Regular monitoring of cash flow enables you to identify potential issues early and take corrective action. With the help of cloud accounting software and real-time data, you can easily track your client’s cash flow, compare it with their budget, and analyse the key drivers of cash inflow and outflow. You can help your clients make informed financial decisions by monitoring their cash flow regularly.
Manage cash flow gaps
Managing cash flow gaps is crucial for small businesses, as inadequate cash flow can result in serious financial trouble. You can help your clients identify and manage cash flow gaps by analysing their cash flow patterns and forecasting cash flow.
Offering advice on ways to reduce payment terms and encouraging prompt payment from customers can help alleviate cash flow gaps. With the right tools and guidance, your clients can minimise the negative impacts of cash flow gaps on their business.
One effective way to improve cash flow is by reducing expenses. Analysing your clients’ expenses and identifying areas where they can cut back will enable you to support them in reducing expenses. Suggesting ways to reduce overheads, renegotiate contracts, and find cheaper suppliers can help your clients reduce their expenses and increase their cash flow. With regular expense tracking and analysis, you can identify cost-saving opportunities that help your clients achieve their financial goals.
Consider financing options
It is possible for a small business to still suffer from a cash flow shortage despite all efforts to manage cash flow. In such cases, it’s important to explore financing options that can help bridge the gap. You can advise your clients on the best financing options based on their business needs.
Options such as bank loans, lines of credit, invoice factoring, and merchant cash advances can help your clients secure the necessary funds to keep their business running smoothly.
By providing guidance on financing options, you can help your clients make informed decisions that ensure their business’s financial stability.
By following these strategies and resources, small business owners can effectively manage their cash flow and ensure the long-term success of their businesses.
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