Cash flow keeps businesses going. It’s the lifeblood of any business. But simply holding on to cash for as long as you can might create its own knock on problems. This article examines the way in which a small business should best interact with its suppliers and help its cash flow.
Firstly, if you don’t pay your suppliers on time you risk damaging their business, or even contributing to, their failure. You want your invoices paid on time, and you should do the same when paying your invoices. It’s not just good business practice and ethical behavior; it also demonstrates corporate social responsibility. There may be no need to pay bills before the due date but if you have a query with an invoice, its good practice to tell your supplier so that they can resolve the problem and still be paid on time. Closer to home, small businesses should make sure payments due are in your cash flow forecast so they don’t catch you by surprise.
Of course, the fact that a business is here today, and is creditworthy, does not mean that it will be around tomorrow, next week or next year – or in fact that it will still be in business. If a customer becomes insolvent and cannot pay your invoice it may create significant problems for your business, especially if the amount involved is large.
Insurance companies and brokers offer credit insurance to meet the specific needs of clients, industry sectors and specific transactions to protect against non-payment by your customers and their insolvency. Credit insurers can often provide detailed information on prospective customers, and they can sometimes provide access to cheaper business financing.
Small businesses should check regularly that their most important customers are not at risk of failure. If your business is successful and growing, there will be many exciting challenges to take care of – but can your business achieve sufficient and profitable growth while taking all the risk itself? If your business would be more comfortable trading with protection against bad debts or, in certain circumstances, late or non-payment then credit insurance is worth considering. Credit insurers have access to more up-to-date and detailed information than is readily and publicly available. This can open up larger credit lines or more flexible payment terms allowing your business to grow its profitable sales.
There are also Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending Options. Extending credit to customers usually requires some form of finance for the business to be able to extend credit. Timing between when the business collects cash, and when it pays it back out, can cause issues if the business is not well equipped to support itself in situations when the balancing cash is not paid back. Managing cash flow effectively means staying on top of finance and ensuring funds are available when needed and there are quite a range of potential solutions:
Always remember – most businesses which fail do so for cash reasons. Revenue and profit are vitally important, but cash is king!
To help businesses recover debts, FSB offers access to a debt recovery service as part of its Business Essentials package.
This service includes a range of features designed to help businesses with debt recovery, including:
To find out more about how FSB could help your business deal with late or lapsed payments, visit our FSB Debt Recovery page. To see how else our Business Essentials package could help your business continue to grow and improve, visit our package comparison page.
Helpful Guide - How to avoid late payments
FSB Debt Recovery gives you the opportunity to recover 100% of the money you are owed and in most cases this costs absolutely nothing