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In the first article of this series we talked about why businesses should worry about measuring cash flow instead of profit. Today, we want to provide a walkthrough of how small businesses can actually measure cash flow with minimal accounting knowledge.

Cash Flow 101: How to forecast and manage cash flow

You’re one quick google search away from finding numerous paid apps (like Pulse and accounting software add-ons for Xero) that help small businesses manage cash flow. That said, the easiest and most cost effective solution may also be the simplest: Google Sheets. It’s incredibly easy to get up and running and you can easily share this with your team and/or accountant. And most importantly, it’s very easily customizable and adaptable based on the ever changing needs of your business.

To get you started, we’ve built a Cash Flow Template to show how you are using your cash today. It outlines where your cash is coming from and when/where it’s going out. Feel free to use this as a baseline to get smarter with managing your cash flow. Just simply click the link and either download it as an Excel file or make a copy directly to your Google Drive.

What is cash flow statement?

A cash flow statement provides an overview of the cash coming in and going out over a period of time (this can be month, quarter, year, etc). It also shows how your business uses cash during this period. Most businesses choose to manage this on a weekly basis, but this may be different depending on the industry norms and the  maturity of your company.

As your business matures, you should be able to project cash flow with increasing accuracy for up to 6 months or more. Of course, as a new business, this would be very difficult to do so for simplicity, a good benchmark for small businesses would be a 4 - 6 week cash flow projection at the very least.

Step 1: Forecast revenue

Let’s begin by forecasting weekly revenue. Especially for new businesses, this may be more of an art than a science. This is okay, the accuracy of your projections will increase over time as you understand your business better. Try to be as accurate and honest as possible.

Start by looking at your past sales numbers. How much did you sell last year or last month at this time?

         • If your business has seasonality or annual cycles, you will need to take this into account.

          • If you’re experiencing growth as a business (congrats!), then you should also bake this into these projections.

          • If previous sales resulted from specific promotions or large deals that are not recurring, you’ll have to factor

            this in .

At the end of the day, erring on side of conservatism usually results in better results.

Step 2: Forecast expenses

Next, let’s go through your expenses. Start with a list of the fixed, recurring transactions that you have to pay: salary, rent, ads, software subscriptions, credit card due -- basically anything that comes out from your net profit calculation. Your bank account or credit card statement should be able to give you a good idea of what these expenses are.

Step 3: Plug the data into the cash flow template

Now that you have revenue and expense data in place, it’s time to fill in your data. First, download the free Reap cash flow projection template. Update column A based on where your expenses and revenue are coming from. You can plug the figures based each specific line items (eg. Facebook ads, Google Ads) or bundle it together (eg. total weekly ad spend). Also, add your Opening Bank Balance on cell B3 for the first week so that we can predict your cash balances going forward.  

Step 4: Keep you cash flow projections updated

Now that you’ve projected your cash flow for 4 - 6 weeks, you need to incorporate this into your day-to-day operations. You should set up a regular cadence to monitor and update this living document. Bookmark the document on your browser so you can have access easily. At a minimum, you’ll need to update the Closing Bank Balance every week and see if it matches your previous calculations. You’ll also want to continue adding weeks to your cash flow projections so you maintain visibility of a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks.

If there is ever a cash deficit (where cash coming is lower than cash going out), you’ll be alerted when the Closing Bank Balance turns red. By forecasting potential shortfalls ahead of time, you’ll be prepared to collect payments related to sales faster or delay outflows of cash on the expense side (you can do this for any large expenses on Reap!).

Download our free cash flow template

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to grab your free cash flow template. Just click on this link, and you can access the spreadsheet in Google Drive. You’ll need to be logged into your Google account to make a copy.

Most companies cannot survive without proper cash flow management. But anyone can do it. Take the time to get organized now, and it'll be easy to stay on top of it.

If you have any other thoughts about managing cash flow, please feel free to email us any time!

在這系列的第一篇文章中,我們討論過為什麼企業應該先憂心現金流的狀況而非側重於企業賺錢與否。今天,我們想逐步解說一下,小企業如何可以用最基本的會計知識著實去衡量現金流的狀況。

現金流101:如何估算和管理現金流

你只需在Google搜尋一下,隨時隨地都可以找到大量的付費應用程式(例如: Pulse和專為Xero而設的會計軟件附加組件) 支援小企業去管理現金流。這就是說,最容易、最具成本效益亦可能是最簡單的方案就是運用Google試算表

出乎意料地Google試算表無論在啟動和日常操作上用起來都非常簡便,你可以輕易地與你的團隊和/或會計師分享。最重要的是,它可以按你所需輕易作出調整來迎合業務上不同時段的種種需求。

助你踏出第一步,我們創建了一個現金流範本用來顯示你每日運用現金的情況。 它概述了你的現金來源,以及於時/何處流出現金。歡迎隨意使用它,作為你更有效管理現金流的基準。只需點擊鏈結,你便可下載範本的Excel檔案或直接把範本複製到你的Google雲端硬碟。

什麼是現金流報表?

現金流報表展示了一個時間段內現金進出的概況(時間段可以是按月,按季,按年等計算)。它還顯示了你的企業在該段期間如何使用現金。大多數企業會選擇每週結算,但這亦可能會因應行業慣常的做法和你公司的發展狀況而有所差異。

隨著業務的發展日趨成熟,你應該能夠更準確地預測未來6個月或更長時間的現金流狀況。當然,作為一間初創企業,要做出準確的估算是非常困難的,簡單而言,小企業做到最少4至6週的現金流預測,已經算是達標了。

第一步: 預測收入

讓我們從預測每週收入開始。特別是對初創企業而言,這可能更像一門藝術,並未有太多科學根據。不要緊,隨著你更了解你的業務,你預測的準繩度將會與日俱增。盡可能準確和誠實地預測就可以了。

首先查看你過去的銷售數字。去年或上個月同期你從銷售所得的收入是多少呢?

         • 如果你的業務有淡旺季之分或者有年度性週期,預測時你需要考慮到這一點。

          • 如果你的業務正在增長中(恭喜!),那麼你就應該將這個因素在做預測時納入其中

          • 如果之前的銷售是由特定促銷或大型但非經常性的交易而來,那麼你亦不得不將其考慮在內。

說到底,預測時傾向做保守派,通常會帶來更好的結果。

第二步: 預測開支

接下來,讓我們來看看你的支出。 從你必須支付的固定、經常性開支入手:薪金、租金、廣告、軟件訂閱費、信用卡結欠 -- 基本上是所有從你的淨利潤中扣減出來的開支。你的銀行賬目或信用卡賬單應該能夠給你一個好好的概覽知道要包含什麼費用在內。

第三步: 將數據加進現金流範本  

現在你已經集齊收入和支出的數據,是時候輸入數據了。首先,下載免費的Reap現金流預測範本。按你的支出和收入來源更新A欄。你可以根據每個特定的項目來輸入數字(例如: Facebook廣告、Google廣告)或將它們歸納一起(例如: 每週廣告的總支出)。此外,在B3儲存格加上你第一週開始時的銀行戶口期初結餘,以便我們為你預測你的現金餘額。

第四步: 更新你的現金流預測

現在你已經預測了4至6週的現金流,你需要將數據結合到你的日常營運中。 需知道這項文件的數據時刻在變,你應該訂好時間表,按照規律定期更新。將文件加入瀏覽器的書籤中,方便你存取更新。你需要至少每週更新一次銀行戶口的期終結餘,看一看與你之前計算的數目是否相符。你還可繼續添加往後幾週的數據,令你在預測現金流時能持續保持至少4至6週的標準。

如果出現入不敷支的情況(即現金收入低過現金開支),你將會收到提示,銀行的期終結餘會變為紅色。提早預測到有可能出現的現金短缺,你便可防範未然,盡早收取銷售所得的收入或延遲發放現金繳付開支以應付周轉需要。(你在Reap的任何大額費用亦可延遲繳付來配合你的需求!)

下載我們的免費現金流範本

如果你尚未行動,請不要忘記下載你的免費現金流範本。只需按此連結,即可連接到Google雲端硬碟上的電子表格。你只需登入你的Google帳戶便能存取副本。

大多數公司倒閉的原因都是因為現金流管理不善。但其實任何人都可以管理得到。花點時間,現在就開始籌劃一下,要好好管理現金流的竅門其實是很簡單的。


如果你對管理現金流有任何其他想法,歡迎隨時發電郵與我們聯繫!

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