Dear Aunty B,
I am in retail and worked all through Christmas. But as usual money is tight and I am sick of suffering summer stress of checking my daily bank balance and the usual January/February scramble for funds. Any ideas?
Simon F, Sydney
You and everyone else! I think the entire business community would like to press the fast-forward button to mid-March.
There is a lot you can do, and if the office is now a little quiet, it is the time to do it. It might seem like you have irregular cash flow but I am sure you would have a distinct pattern in the chaos.
I assume you have a bookkeeper. (If you haven’t, get one immediately! They can come in for a few hours and for less than $200 a week, and you can spend that time selling and marketing.)
Sit down with your lovely bookkeeper (well, my bookkeeper is lovely) and do a detailed cash flow assessment. Make sure you highlight the times of the years when the financial screws tighten. Get your lovely bookkeeper to put it all into a spreadsheet.
Then plan ahead and work out when you could put aside some money so you won’t have to turn to credit cards or overdraft. Do the same with your stock levels; are you carrying too much stock at quieter times? Meet with your clients and check when their needs are. Look at organising inventory better with suppliers and through sales and discounts.
Organise a meeting between your bookkeeper and those who chase invoices. Chase invoices aggressively and offer discounts for early payment. Can you meet with suppliers and order smaller amounts of stock? Can you organise bulk deals for discounts? Use this time also to look at other systems. How is your CRM software working? It could be a great time to start a marketing campaign.
It’s also a good time to look around and get competitive quotes on a wide range of services. Talk with others in your industry and see what ideas they have.
And stay determined. It’s easy to get swept up again and forget the summer stress of the plummeting bank balance.
Good luck Simon,
Your Aunty B.
Cassandra Scott at Laurus writes: Thank you Aunty B! Finally somebody who recognises the value of a good bookkeeper in business!!
So many times you hear the response to “Help I have a cashflow problem” as “Go and talk to your accountant about it”, when in fact a much less expensive option, and one that can come and work with you both on and in your business, is the humble bookkeeper. Get somebody into your business who can keep your day-to-day bookwork up-to-date, provide you with reports on a regular basis on what your receivables and payables are, give you balance sheets and profit and loss statements, and help you understand the information that is contained in them.
Bookkeepers in many places are much maligned. Business owners don’t think that they value add and unfortunately, that myth is sadly often perpetuated by those in the accounting world.
On behalf of the bookkeepers of this world… thank you!