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Cash management

How to improve the cash flow of a company?

To improve the cash flow of a company, several strategies are possible in SME. Controlling expenses, optimizing revenue sources... This article reviews them.

CFO working on improving cash management in SMEs

How to improve the cash flow of a company?

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Improving a company's cash flow is the ambition of many CFOs and finance teams. It is not an easy task, but there are various strategies to increase the level of available cash and avoid a surge in working capital requirements. Here are the main avenues to explore. 

Evaluate the financial health of the company

Before taking steps to improve your company's cash flow, it is crucial to understand your company's current financial health. To do this, you must carefully review financial statements, accounting reports and key performance indicators.

If difficulties are identified at this stage, the challenge is to identify the causes. This could be, for example, poorly controlled payment terms, inefficient inventory management, or poor forecasting of revenues and expenses. 

Once you have an overall view of the company's financial health, it is critical to identify specific cash flow challenges and issues. Here are some questions to ask yourself at this point: 

Is the incoming cash flow sufficient to cover the outgoing cash flow? Is the cash flow forecast reliable and updated regularly?

  • Are expenses under control? Are there areas where savings can be made without compromising the company's operations?
  • Are there seasonal fluctuations in income or expenses that need to be considered in cash management?
  • Are there any unexpected costs or inventory management issues that are causing cash flow pressures?

Revenue management

Optimize incoming cash flow

Optimizing incoming cash flow is essential to improving your company's cash flow. Here are some strategies to implement:

‍Acceleratecustomer payments: Implement effective collection policies to reduce late payments. Send invoices promptly, issue regular payment reminders, and offer incentives for early payments.

  • Implement favorable payment terms: Re-examine the payment terms offered to customers. By shortening payment terms, you can improve cash flow and reduce the risk of non-payment.
  • Use accounts receivable management tools: Invest in effective accounts receivable management systems that make it easy to track invoices, identify delinquent customers and communicate with them. This improves visibility into incoming cash flow and allows you to take proactive steps to resolve issues.

Improve management of incoming cash flows

Effective cash flow management is essential to maximizing your company's revenue. Here are some recommended practices:

  • Forecast cash flow: Develop accurate cash flow forecasts by taking into account sales cycles, customer payment periods and revenue patterns. This will allow you to better plan your expenses and make informed decisions.
  • Build strong customer relationships: Develop trusting relationships with your customers by providing excellent customer service. Satisfied customers are more likely to pay on time and continue doing business with you.
  • Use cash management tools: Invest in cash management software that will allow you to track your cash flow and automate billing processes. 

Expense management

Optimize outgoing cash flow

Optimizing outbound cash flow is just as important as managing revenue to improve your company's cash flow. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Negotiate with suppliers: When the opportunity arises, renegotiate contracts with your suppliers to obtain more favorable purchasing terms. Look for opportunities to reduce costs, take advantage of early payment discounts or set up installment agreements.
  • Reduce operating costs: Carefully analyze your operating costs and identify areas where savings can be realized. This may include renegotiating lease agreements, optimizing utility expenses, evaluating alternative suppliers offering competitive rates, etc.
  • Implement rigorous inventory management: Avoid excess inventory that ties up cash. Closely monitor inventory levels, optimize ordering and inventory management processes to avoid shortages or unsold items, and identify slow-moving items that can be reduced or eliminated.

Assess and adjust non-essential expenditures

A careful assessment of non-essential expenses can help improve your cash flow. Here are some steps to take:

  • Identify unnecessary expenses: Review all your expenses and identify those that are not essential to your business. This may include unused subscriptions, excessive maintenance costs, travel and entertainment expenses that could be reduced, etc.
  • Prioritize necessary investments: Distinguish between expenses that are necessary to support your company's growth and those that could be deferred. Focus on investments that generate a quick and significant return on investment, while re-evaluating those that could be deferred or temporarily reduced.
  • Control overhead: Keep a close eye on your overhead and look for ways to save money. This may include optimizing resource utilization, finding cheaper suppliers, adopting more efficient technologies to reduce costs, or implementing a strict expense control policy.

Forecasting and financial planning

Careful financial planning and accurate forecasting are key to improving your company's cash flow. Here are some important things to consider:

Develop accurate cash flow forecasts

Accurate cash flow forecasting allows you to have a clear vision of cash inflows and outflows in the short and medium term. Here are some steps to develop an accurate forecast:

  • Analyze historical data: Use past financial data to identify trends and cash flow patterns. This will help you estimate the amounts and timing of future cash receipts and disbursements.
  • Take external factors into account: Consider external factors such as economic cycles, market changes, regulations or business seasons to refine your forecast. This will allow you to anticipate potential changes in your cash flow.
  • Involve stakeholders: Involve finance managers, department managers and other stakeholders in the forecasting process. Their expertise can help you achieve more accurate forecasts and identify potential risks.

Set up a realistic and efficient budget

A realistic and effective budget is essential for good cash flow management. Here are some tips on how to create an effective budget:

  • Analyze your revenues and expenses: Analyze your cash flow in detail and identify the main sources of revenues and expenses. This will help you allocate resources efficiently and prioritize investments.
  • Set clear and realistic financial goals based on cash flow projections and past performance. Make sure your goals are aligned with your company's current situation.
  • Regularly monitor and adjust: Regularly monitor actual results against budget and make adjustments if necessary. Identify variances and take appropriate corrective action to keep your cash flow under control.

By implementing an accurate cash flow forecast and a realistic budget, you will be able to better plan your financial resources, identify potential gaps and take proactive steps to improve your company's cash flow.

practical guide

Implementing effective management of expenses in SMEs

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