WHAT IS CASH?
Cash is ready money in the bank or in the business. It is not inventory, it is not accounts receivable (what you are owed), and it is not property. These might be converted to cash at some point in time, but it takes cash on hand or in the bank to pay suppliers, to pay the rent, and to meet the payroll. Profit growth does not necessarily mean more cash -- as we will see.
A lesson that all entrepreneurs learn is the difference between profit and cash. Profit is the amount of money you expect to make if all customers paid on time and if your expenses were spread out evenly over the time period being measured. However, it is not your day-to-day reality. Cash is what you must have to keep the doors of your business open, while you are busy trying to make a profit. Over time, a company's profits are of little value if they are not accompanied by positive net cash flow. You can't spend profit; you can only spend cash.
WHAT IS CASH FLOW?
Cash flow simply refers to the flow of cash into and out of a business over a period of time. Watching the cash inflows and outflows is one of the major management tasks of an owner. The outflow of cash is measured by those checks you will write every month to pay salaries, suppliers, and creditors. The inflows are the cash you receive from customers, lenders, and investors.
POSITIVE CASH FLOW
If the cash coming "in" to the business is more than the cash going "out" of the business, the company has a positive cash flow. A positive cash flow is very good and the only worry here is what to do with the excess cash. Like good health, a positive cash flow is something you're most aware of if you don't have it.
NEGATIVE CASH FLOW
If the cash going "out" of the business is more than the cash coming "in" to the business, the company has a negative cash flow. A negative cash flow can be caused by a number of reasons. For example: too much or obsolete inventory or poor collections on your accounts receivable (what your customers owe you) can cause you to be short of cash. If the company can't borrow additional cash at this point, the company may be in serious trouble.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF CASH FLOW?
A Cash Flow Statement is typically divided into three components so that you can see and understand the sources and uses of cash. These components include internal and external sources:
Operating Cash Flow
Operating cash flow, often referred to as working capital, is the cash flow generated from internal operations. It is the cash generated from sales of the product or service of your business. It is the real lifeblood of your business, and because it is generated internally, it is under your control.
Investing Cash Flow
Investing cash flow is generated internally from non-operating activities. This component would include investments in plant and equipment or other fixed assets, nonrecurring gains or losses, or other sources and uses of cash outside of normal operations.
Financing Cash Flow
Financing cash flow is the cash to and from external sources, such as lenders, investors and shareholders. A new loan, the repayment of a loan, the issuance of stock and the payment of dividend are some of the activities that would be included in this section of the cash flow statement.
HOW DO I PRACTICE GOOD CASH MANAGEMENT?
Catherine might have been able to avoid using her credit card to pay an "unexpected" bill if she had been practicing good cash management. Good cash management is simple. It means:
The starting point for avoiding a cash crisis is to develop a cash flow projection. Smart business owners know how to develop both short-term (weekly, monthly) cash flow projections to help them manage daily cash, and long-term (annual, 3-5 year) cash flow projections to help them develop the necessary capital strategy to meet their business needs. They also prepare and use historical cash flow statements to gain an understanding about where all the money went.
|Title:||The Importance of Cash Management|
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