Managing cash flow is one of the most common challenges for small business owners.
Figuring out where you have a problem and what best to do about it can be a long and dull process. Especially when inflexible reports don’t allow for analysis that would really allow business owners to the underlying cause of the problems they are trying to address.
Traditionally, business owners who wanted to understand how much they spent on products would probably access their desktop accounting system and search for the right report to give them the information they were looking for. Then head to Excel to setting-up a query the old fashioned way. Filter down for details slowly by sorting, making computations and displaying graphs or tables to see what your data means.
Luckily, advances in technology make it easier, and quicker, to gain insight and make strategic data-driven decisions. It’s time to forget restrictive reporting through Excel. Modern Accounts Receivable management strategies and apps can be implemented that improve the average days to pay.
What is Accounts Receivable Management?
Accounts Receivable management is all about ensuring that clients/customers pay their invoices and prevents overdue payment or non-payment. It’s a quick and effective way to strengthen your company’s financial position. It can directly contribute to profit because it helps to reduce bad debt.
CHATA.AI for Data Analytics
CHATA.AI is simple-to-use analytics and reporting app that does the hard work for you through the power of artificial intelligence. It’s a conversational business tool, a user interface where you can type in a question and the system knows where to find that data, retrieve it, perform the computation necessary, and display it for the user.
As a data insight company, CHATA.AI has a Data Chat feature which allows you to search for business data (“Total sales this month”) from the cloud-based tool. Other possible questions include “which service/product brings in the most revenue?”, “give me my top 10 customers by revenue”, “average days to pay per client?”, and “show me invoices from the last two weeks”.
QuickBooks Online and CHATA.AI
CHATA.AI can integrate with Sage, Xero and QuickBooks Online accounting software. You’ll be able to make better business decisions when you turn your cloud-based accounting data into information you need to know with this analytics and reporting app.
These cloud accounting platforms can track, organize and help manage your business finances. When integrated with CHATA.AI, you will have the opportunity to elevate your business by accessing and analyzing so many critical insights from the data.
Helm is an automated cash management platform lets you make decisions based on what your bank balance will be tomorrow, rather than what it is today. This truly useful platform originated from a Calgary based digital advisory firm focused on Controller and CFO services. As a system built by entrepreneurial accountants, it’s just right for both entrepreneurs and accountants.
Helm really is a practical solution designed for the broader context of accounting, not just to solve a single pain point. It’s a great way to manage your business cash flow, as you can use the app to proactively plan, monitor and maintain your business finances. You will have a much clearer idea of when you will be getting paid and how much money you will have in the future.
Helm’s system also integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero, so you can see the full potential of your cloud accounting data to improve cash flow. How will changing the timing of spending and receiving money impacts your future cash? With Helm, you can easily plan out different business situations and see how they affect your financial future.
Strategies that can help improve cash flow situations:
1. Figure out what your current Accounts Receivable trends are:
- What are the average days to pay?
- Average days to pay for the last 12 months?
- What are the average days to pay per customer?
- Average days to pay per client for the last 12 months?
Learning the answers to these questions can help improve the average days to pay on accounts receivables. If you are dealing with an Accounts Receivable management problem, is it a recent problem or is it an ongoing issue? Which clients are driving the average days to pay up? Is it easy and convenient for clients to pay you? If you don’t already, incorporate online payment methods. The most common are credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and direct debit. Many companies prefer to pay by credit card, as it gives them extra financial flexibility.
2. What are the fundamental details in each client’s data?
If a certain client is slower than average at paying, you can see whether the slow payments are recent or cyclical. You can also find out if there any correlation between an invoice amount and the time it takes them to pay it?
3. Determine your plan for stragglers
- Which clients do you accept and under which conditions? Do you begin collecting payments in stages through the duration of a project, or implement a late payment penalty?
- Who should no longer be accepted, and when is the exit? You may need to have a talk, or even drop, a client who continually pay months later than the prearranged plan.
- When do you remind a customer by email? By phone? What will the reminder look/sound like?
- At what point will you involve a debt collector?
Make sure you have a plan for your slow-paying clients, don’t treat invoices on a case by case basis. It’s important that you treat everyone that owes you money the same way. Most credit policies suggest that 90 days past due is the tipping point. A consistent accounts receivable process will help keep you in business.
Most business owners who invoice eventually learn that having terms and deadlines doesn’t always ensure clients consistent pay on time. With CHATA.AI, you can easily keep a pulse on your AR metrics on an ongoing basis. With Helm, you can automate the forecasting process, greatly reducing the effort required.
So, how to best improve cash flow?
We suggest making data-driven financial decisions quicker and easier by pairing solid strategies and your cloud-based accounting software with AI metrics. By automating all of your data organization with analytics and reporting app like CHATA.AI or a powerful cash management platform like Helm, you will be able to shortcut your way to the information that will drive your growth and improve cash flow. You can also subscribe to our blog down below and receive a free gift. Our e-book on 10 ways every small business owner can improve their cashflow.