An informative guide and workbook to assess your business cash-flow by Julie Wilkinson of Wilkinson Accounting Solutions 

1. Develop a cash forecast for the next 12 weeks!

This needs to show immediate cash inflows and outflows so you can track your position and identify if at any point you are at risk of not being able to pay your bills or suppliers.Use a spreadsheet or invest in my product Business Financial Forecasting (the BFF!)

2. Review all of your costs.

See if you can reduce your costs by consolidating or minimising non- essential spend. Speak to suppliers to see if you can defer payments or better yet implement an interest free payment plan (say over 12 months) to reduce the immediate cash outflow. If you are still at risk of not being able to pay your liabilities, then review if you need to get a loan. This could be in a form short term overdraft, invoice financing, interest free credit cards or a cash loan (currently either the CBILS or Bounce bank loans are available for consideration) I am offering free consultations to help businesses discuss any financial risk and implement steps to help manage their cashflow.

3. Review all of your costs.

Think about the longer term vision of your business and how you think you can get there. This should be at least a 12-month forecast and realistic in terms of what you will need to spend on areas such as marketing, promotions and advertising etc to build up new clients. You should analyse your profitability by service, customer or product and think about what investments you may need to generate these customers along with identifying potential new revenue streams. Going back to the cash flow and cost analysis, remember it may not only be funding you need to pay your essential liabilities but if you need investment to keep up brand awareness etc, this may also require funding. It is not always best to stop all spend as it can hinder longer term growth.

4. Implement an effective bookkeeping process

Will ensure your financials, liabilities and cash flow are ‘up to date’ and also enable you to analyse your actual trading vs your
business plan. Small changes to bookkeeping processes can make a big impact when trying to make decisions on analysing ‘what has worked in your business’ and ‘what needs to change’ to keep aligned to your original plans.

An effective bookkeeping process needs to include:

Cash Flow Questions

Use my checklist to see how far you are with your cash flow planning, to strategise what needs to be done!

1) 12-week Cash Forecasting / Cost Review

If you answer no to any of the above, then you should build a 12-week forecast. You need to take some time and think about ‘expected’ cash in and cash out over a running 12-week cycle. To ensure no costs are missed you may need be go back to the prior year bank statements/accounts to find any costs/income you may have forgotten about.

2) Business Plan

If you answer no to any of the above, then you should build a business plan. If you have a history of trading, then you can use ‘what’ you have done previously as a basis on how you want to grow.

3) Bookkeeping Processes

Remember cash is different to profit and if you trade regularly on receiving customer deposits (where services can be cancelled) or paying supplier deposits i.e. for future events, then having an effective process to managing these will make all the difference when measuring true profits.
If you answer no to any of the above then you should consider reviewing your bookkeeping process, identify if you could benefit from a system to streamline your processes. Think about how you can structure to enable quick reviews against prior year and forecasts, to make decisions on how to increase sales, reduce costs to ultimately generate higher returns.

At Wilkinson Accounting Solutions we specialise in working with businesses to implement robust, efficient and practical solutions to manage your profits, cash and resources effectively.

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