Get your invoicing right
BlueVine knows invoicing is part of good cash flow management. Once you’ve delivered a product or service, don’t wait to invoice. That can hurt your cash flow and your business. You should get into the habit of sending invoices for payment quickly.
Consider sending invoices immediately, or on a daily basis, depending on the nature of your work. If you are providing a service, think about asking for a deposit upfront, or a payment part-way through. It’s a reasonable request.
A product or service that has been delivered is the closest thing your business has to cold, hard cash. The sooner you invoice your client, the sooner you’ll receive payment.
Five rules for managing your cash flow
Invoicing is only the start. To maintain a healthy cash flow, you need more than just strong revenue. You need to be able to collect that revenue too. Here are five rules for managing your cash flow and getting your invoices paid faster:
- Keep your books accurate and up to date
Your cash flow is only as good as your accounting and reporting. Don’t let this get out of hand. Make sure your accounting information is updated regularly. Then you can see the financial state of your business at a glance.
- Don’t be too lenient with your customers
Be direct and fair without being a pushover. A clever but polite invoicing strategy will usually get you a long way. But don’t be afraid to take more formal action if you need to.Keep a close watch on your accounts receivable turnover at all times. If it’s trending up, it might be time to step up your efforts at chasing payment. As receivables age, their quality goes down, so you should act sooner rather than later.
- Keep your accounting simple
If you’re not confident with numbers, hire a professional accountant. Use quality accounting software, so you always know your cash position. It will also help you forecast your cash flow for planning purposes.For example, maybe you’re expecting a big order next month. How will you know if you’ll have the working capital needed to expand payroll? Or be able to buy the necessary inventory? Many small business owners get caught out when a large opportunity turns up. They are unable to take advantage of it due to a lack of cash. Don’t let that happen to your business.What’s more, a reliable accounting system will help you track and report on key business metrics. These include accounts receivables aging, operating margins and inventory turnover. Having a good handle on these business metrics will help you manage your cash like a pro – and take advantage of new opportunities.