While the end of year period can be the busiest and most profitable season of the year for some industries, ironically it also puts a massive financial strain on many businesses. Many large companies slow down production or put off making big contracting and purchasing decisions until the new year – meaning cash flow can dry up for their suppliers. Unpaid invoices and additional outgoings like holiday leave can result in businesses facing a cashflow crisis that stretches well into the new year. 

Planning and early preparation are key to managing the financial health of any business, and it’s important to give yourself time to prepare accordingly.

These are our expert tips to managing cash flow:

1. BUDGET AND PUT MONEY ASIDE
When it comes to budgeting for businesses, you should approach it the same way you do in your personal life. Taking the time earlier in the year to budget for large expenses and outgoings over the New Year period (in a separate account if possible), will ensure you have the funds available when you need them and avoid going into debt.
2. GET YOU INVOICES OUT EARLY
Don’t wait until the end of the month; invoice as soon as the work is complete, and consider requesting a deposit. Late payments can have a serious impact on small businesses, and with the number of businesses that shut down or have key personnel on leave over the period, the payment of invoices may be pushed out well beyond your terms. 
3. DEAL WITH YOUR POTENTIAL LATE PAYERS

You know who they are! Have a strategy in place – early invoicing, making your terms clear, and chasing payment. Get on the phone and make sure you build good relationships with the right people in your clients’ accounts teams. 

4. CLEAR OVERSTOCKS AND CALCULATE DEMAND

In advance of the end of the year, sell any stock that is taking up space at a discounted price. Keeping an eye on the volume ordered from your manufacturer and on the subsequent sales is key to avoid long-term cash flow problems.

5. PRE-EMPT CUSTOMER DEMAND OVER THE HOLIDAY PERIOD
Anticipate demand by looking at your sales from last year as well as other variables such as consumer confidence, political climate and other economic and social factors that might influence the behaviour of your customers.
6. USE AN INVOICE FINANCE FACILITY
Convert your unpaid invoices into cash now, ahead of the break. Invoice finance allows businesses to leverage their own assets (accounts receivables) to create an immediate influx of cash and negate the need for loans or overdrafts over the New Year period.
7. CLOSE UP SHOP
There’s no point in keeping your business open and incurring costs if you aren’t busy over the holiday season. Consider shutting down or running a skeleton staff to keep costs down.
8. PLAN FOR THE LONG TERM

The end of the calendar year is a great time to revisit your business plan and budget.  Speak to a financial advisor about budgeting, and get on the front foot for the new year ahead by creating a cash flow forecast to plan for the future.

The importance of planning is highlighted by a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe”. The common theme among all these strategies is the value of cashflow planning.”

For information about invoice finance can help your business over the end of year period, and more on Apricity Finance, visit here.

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