With widespread predictions that we are about to face the longest recession since records began, many business owners are concerned about the detrimental impact this could have on their business. As part of our recession resilience series, we take a look at how managing your cashflow during a recession can help reduce the impact of challenging financial times.
Managing cashflow poorly can result in small businesses struggling, especially during times of recession. Maintaining a healthy cashflow is always essential for your business but it might require some extra attention in this difficult economic landscape.
You may find as businesses tighten their belts that sales fall, some customers may put smaller orders in or switch to cheaper options, others may ask you for extended credit terms or discounts for fast settlement. Keeping on top of any money coming into your business from your sales is essential for healthy cashflow. Ensuring prompt invoicing and making sure invoices have all the correct purchase order information attached will reduce the risk of an invoice being put into query, you may also want to request that prompt payments are also made. Using features in Xero such as auto reminders and integrating payment services will help with collecting any outstanding debts.
Sending statements to regular customers can be a good way of prompting them to pay and remove any risk of them suddenly querying a long overdue invoice.
Consider your payment terms
Payment terms generally refer to the amount of time a payer has to make a payment for the service or product you have provided to them. This could be anything from 14 days, 30 days, or cash on delivery and it’s important to include your payment terms on your invoices and statements. This should also include how you would like the payment to be made.
It is vital to make these terms clear as you may wish to offer a discount to encourage early payment or you could charge interest on any late payments providing you have clearly stated your terms. Using Xero you could have different invoice templates for different groups of customers which may state different terms depending on their payment history.
If you don’t already have one, this is a valuable step to take. A cashflow forecast will tell you the expected flow of cash in and out of the business over a certain period of time e.g. 6, 12 or 18 months.
Such forecasts can be very accurate providing you are realistic with your figures and are likely to consider factors such as income, bank interest, wages, material costs, rent, rates and utilities. Obtaining an accurate forecast of your finances will provide you with a clear outlook as to where you are currently and where you are likely to be in the future. This can help you to plan any steps you may need to take to protect your business, and potentially look to raise extra funds if you think it is going to be necessary.
It is important to review and update your cash flow forecast regularly to ensure it is accurate when circumstances change.
Check your profit margins and look to reduce outgoings
It is always worth going through your outgoings carefully during challenging times to see if there are any areas you can look to cut back on, although they may only be small savings, it can soon add up if there are a few. Consider your bills and whether there are any better deals out there if you were to use a different insurance provider, for example.
During a recession it is likely that your costs of sale increase, so it is recommended to check your profit margins are in line.
Get in touch
For further information or advice on any of the topics discussed above, contact our cloud team manager, Rosie Cooper, using the button below.
A comment to note that the article does not constitute personalised advice and that advice should be sought before taking any action.