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Business 101: Understanding Your Cash Flow

Author: Dan Brecher|December 18, 2015

Business Basics: The Importance of Cash Flow Projections

Business 101: Understanding Your Cash Flow

Business Basics: The Importance of Cash Flow Projections

cash flow

Whether you are starting a new business or looking to grow or sell an established business, it is essential to understand your cash flow. In addition to shaping your future business decisions, cash flow projections will also likely impact future funding.

Cash Flow Basics

A basic cash flow spreadsheet tracks cash receipts and cash paid out for each month. Cash receipts include all cash sales, collections from customer accounts, and loans/other funding. Cash paid out includes all of the company’s monthly expenses, such as purchases, wages and payroll expenses, rent, loan payments, insurance, utilities, supplies, taxes, advertising/marketing expenses, and professional fees. One time costs, such as capital investments and startup costs, must also be included in the corresponding month, i.e., when the purchase will be made and/or payment is due.

Recording the basic information listed above can help businesses understand when/how money comes in, how/when it goes out, and what’s left at the end of the day. More importantly, it can also help businesses project cash flow in the months and years to come.

By the same token, having a clear picture of cash in and cash out can also help identify weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. If the projected balance is negative, the business must cut expenses, use existing liquid assets, borrow or otherwise obtain more working capital. However, even profitable businesses can benefit from cash flow analysis. For instance, negotiating reduced rent payments or improving collections procedures can free up cash for expanding products or services. Any capital raise or sale of the company can benefit from cash flow analysis.

The Importance of  Flow Charts

Business owners should also be prepared to share their cash flow charts. Detailed cash flow projections are essential to a successful business plan. Potential investors want to see that your company will be profitable and how quickly. For existing businesses, cash flow statements are also required when obtaining loans or other forms of financing.

Where to Start

It is possible to create a cash flow chart using Microsoft Excel, but you will have to do all of the work yourself. There are a number of different templates available online. The most basic ones are free, while the more detailed ones are not. Accounting software programs often include cash flow charts as a feature, so if you already use one, that’s also a good place to start.

Business 101: Understanding Your Cash Flow

Author: Dan Brecher
cash flow

Whether you are starting a new business or looking to grow or sell an established business, it is essential to understand your cash flow. In addition to shaping your future business decisions, cash flow projections will also likely impact future funding.

Cash Flow Basics

A basic cash flow spreadsheet tracks cash receipts and cash paid out for each month. Cash receipts include all cash sales, collections from customer accounts, and loans/other funding. Cash paid out includes all of the company’s monthly expenses, such as purchases, wages and payroll expenses, rent, loan payments, insurance, utilities, supplies, taxes, advertising/marketing expenses, and professional fees. One time costs, such as capital investments and startup costs, must also be included in the corresponding month, i.e., when the purchase will be made and/or payment is due.

Recording the basic information listed above can help businesses understand when/how money comes in, how/when it goes out, and what’s left at the end of the day. More importantly, it can also help businesses project cash flow in the months and years to come.

By the same token, having a clear picture of cash in and cash out can also help identify weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. If the projected balance is negative, the business must cut expenses, use existing liquid assets, borrow or otherwise obtain more working capital. However, even profitable businesses can benefit from cash flow analysis. For instance, negotiating reduced rent payments or improving collections procedures can free up cash for expanding products or services. Any capital raise or sale of the company can benefit from cash flow analysis.

The Importance of  Flow Charts

Business owners should also be prepared to share their cash flow charts. Detailed cash flow projections are essential to a successful business plan. Potential investors want to see that your company will be profitable and how quickly. For existing businesses, cash flow statements are also required when obtaining loans or other forms of financing.

Where to Start

It is possible to create a cash flow chart using Microsoft Excel, but you will have to do all of the work yourself. There are a number of different templates available online. The most basic ones are free, while the more detailed ones are not. Accounting software programs often include cash flow charts as a feature, so if you already use one, that’s also a good place to start.

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