Small Business Tip: Monthly Cash Flow Planning

Every single month, I sit down with Matt. Most of you don’t know him, but he is a key reason IWBNIN has continued to grow and expand. You see, Matt is our Financial Administrator. He manages all of the finances for our businesses. He and his team manage the regular financial management dealings of a business: payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivables, bank account reconciliation, credit card reconciliation, and governmental filings. However, Matt helps with a monthly task which we’ve found to be vital to our success – monthly cash flow planning.

For our two businesses with employees, we sit down at the beginning of each and every month to plan our financial decisions.

Here is the process we utilize:

  1. 12 month rolling plan  We have a rolling 12 month plan. This means at the end of each month, we add a new month at the end of the plan to ensure we are always looking forward for an entire year.
  2. Evaluate last month  We review last month’s plan to identify any major deviations – both positive and negative. This intelligence is utilized to continually improve our planning.
  3. Plan next month  We make changes to this month based upon known information.
  4. Review the next 12 months  We make changes to future months based upon known information.
  5. Make business critical decisions  We utilize the cash flow plan to determine when we can spend money for larger initiatives.
  6. Live by the plan throughout the month  Once the plan is finalized, the financial team follows it. If an unusual opportunity presents itself or major expense crops up, it generates a conversation amongst company leadership to determine an appropriate course of action.

Here’s how we’ve found the 12 month cash flow planning process to be helpful:

  1. Prepare for major financial challenges  As with any business, there are cycles. Some months are higher revenue while other months cause business owners to wonder if their business is going to fail. These cycles can create cash flow crunches if not carefully planned for. Viewing 12 months out allows our leadership to make better decisions.
  2. Prepare for known, upcoming non-monthly expenses  This type of planning forces a leader to think longer-term. As a result, known upcoming non-monthly expenses can be accommodated with ease by ensuring appropriate accrual accounts are established. Nothing makes me happier than to know the money is stored up for estimated quarterly tax payments, car repairs & replacement, annual software licenses, etc.
  3. Communication  Monthly reviews create a “trip point” that forces communication to happen regarding the financial and general affairs of the organization.

Want to get rid of a bunch of financial headaches? I highly recommending instituting a monthly cash flow planning meeting!

This post is part of a Small Business Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more of the posts in the series.

One Response to “Small Business Tip: Monthly Cash Flow Planning”

  1. Kelly Boros March 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    “We make changes to future months based upon known information.”

    Year-over-year (YOY) data is a fantastic tool to use for cash flow planning and forecasting. Analyzing cash flow reports from previous years can help you to identify trends to plan for for the upcoming year.

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