Best Practices: Manage Cash Flow

Author:  Matthew Smith
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Cash flow management is a process of best practice which involves; forecasting cash needs, providing idle funds, calculating disbursements, covering shortfalls, collecting payments, and reimbursing banks for all these actions.

Cash flow management involves tax and accounting evaluation. Therefore, every business requires best practice involving staff handling tax and accounting in business firms. Additionally, there is need for coordination between the staff in the treasury and operations department. These best practices along with powerful electronic tools assist in collection of data on financial information and formatting. This is necessary for generation of reports to help managers in making decisions.

In order to facilitate best practices in managing cash flow there are some important steps which can be taken. These include:

Selecting a Banking Partner:

When companies shop for the right bank for support with cash management they tend to look for quality of services rather than low cost. Banks therefore offer their business clients with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and automated processes. Automated processes may be payrolls and account payables and others. This ensures security against theft as well as affordable outsourcing option for organizations. This is one of the reasons why banks consolidate their accounts with few banks and are not dependent on a single bank as a best practice.

Models for Accurate Cash Forecast:

There is a lot of uncertainty about cash flow. This is why companies use forecast models as best practice to assist them with disbursements. Forecasts are made based upon the daily, monthly, seasonal, and cyclic patterns and trends. There are three forms of forecasts to help companies in assessing how well it fares;

  • Short term: covering 1 day to 2 weeks
  • Medium term: a few weeks, 1 year or may be 2 years
  • Long term: covering 1 year, 2 years or  more

The best practice most companies ensure is to use the “rolling format” which continuously updates incoming receipts and assists in disbursements. Additionally, this increases accuracy of forecasts and assists the company in “cash critical periods.”

Maximized Investments:

It is a best practice for companies to have clear, transparent investment policies indicating their objectives, guidelines and acceptable investments. These assist managers in making decisions according to opportunities. The aim is to increase yield of investments at low costs. Additionally, companies use Sweep accounts.

These are effective because they allow companies to “sweep” or move the idle cash into overnight investments at the end of the day. Sweep accounts allow companies to use zero balance accounts to write checks and drafts without penalty charges. The amount of money is drawn from central accounts to make payments for the company.

Regular Cash Management System Review:

Identifying weak areas in a company is a best practice which helps in improving the cash management system. This provides the assurance that the company’s financial data is reliable and accurate without the need for an audit. Therefore, this best practice ensures that collection and payment processes are reviewed regularly for evaluation of cash flow and its management.

Cash flow Management is one of the most effective and recommended best practices. It is necessary because it ensures accurate audit reports and annual financial statements of businesses and other financial institutions.

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