You, no doubt, realize that I as a Long Island and Stamford small business accountant make it my business to protect our clients and their businesses from the consequences of poor planning. We LOVE our work here at Team Kessler … and it’s gratifying to give our clients peace of mind.
And I wanted to give you some input about how you can make sure all the ships sail on time for your Long Island and Stamford small business, from a cashflow perspective.
So, I’ve pulled together a brief Note for you, which I hope will help. As usual, let me know if you’d like some more specific help on these matters. This is, after all, what we do … I’m here to help! – Michael
A Long Island and Stamford Accountant’s Guide To Planning for Cash In Your Business
What’s that old saying? Cash is king.
I’d say that’s ESPECIALLY true in this economic climate for a Long Island and Stamford small business.
The lifeblood of any business is its ability to collect cash and pay bills as well as pay its employees, particularly YOU–the owner. Far too often, small businesses are profitable on paper, but they do not have enough operating capital to meet their current needs. As a result, they may be forced to sell out to a stronger competitor, sell a portion of the company to investors at an undesirable price, or close the doors and put the company out of business.
None of this is what you dreamed about when you started your business, right?
The ability to forecast cash resources and uses is perhaps more art than science. Any cash forecast prepared by the management of the company or an outside consultant can be no more than a guess as to when your customers will pay. It is a little easier to forecast when your business obligations are due, but many variables interfere here as well. Hopefully, the more effort that is put into cash forecasting, the better will be the educated guess and the more accurate the resulting picture of the future operations of your business.
Starting the Analysis
One of the most significant factors to be considered in your cash flow forecast is the volume of sales which will be generated. Your sales forecast must be as finely-tuned as possible, and the method you use is critically important.
Top-down forecasting is usually dangerous. This involves assuming that there is a certain gross sales potential, say a million dollars, for your product in your area, and guessing you will be able to capture a specified percent of it. As rough as this kind of analysis might be, it is better than not making a forecast at all.
Bottom-up forecasting is better, but takes more work. You actually count the number of possible buyers of your product in your market area, and estimate how much of your product/service each of them is likely to purchase each year.
A sales forecast needs to be based upon specific facts as much as possible. These facts might include your own sales history, or the history of similar businesses. It is extremely valuable to determine what has been the experience of similar operations in your market niche in other parts of the country.
Other issues should be addressed: adding new product lines, deleting unprofitable operations, assigning new salespeople, getting rid of ones that aren’t producing to quota. In preparing a forecast, you must also take into consideration items such as the seasonality of your business, the relative state of the economy and the period over which you will forecast.
Obviously your ability to forecast sales for the next month is better than it is for three to five years from now. The amount of detail which must be included in the cash forecast is really a matter of preference. It can be based on per-units sales extended out by the sales price of each type of unit or an average sales volume per day, week or month.
I would ask that you forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance–or simply send them our way. While these particular articles relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax planning and accounting for small business owners. And though we’re growing rapidly, signing many new clients each month, we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.
Warmly (and until next week),