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Forecasting A Company's Cash Flow

Aug 17, 2007
Forecasting cash flows is very important, as many businesses have failed due to lack of cash flow, rather than lack of profit. Cash flow forecasting is absolutely essential when planning short or long-term funding requirements for any business. Use cash flow forecasts to determine the amount of cash that may be necessary in the future for the business and to get through lean periods of low sales. Cash flow forecasts are helpful in identifying the main areas of costs. They help determine the total capital requirement of your business. It is easier to apply for funds in advance if you use cash flow forecasts to ascertain how much cash you will need at a given time.

Importance of Forecasting Cash Flows
By Forecasting cash flows accurately, you can guide a business in the right direction and be on the right path for success. If there are grave errors in cash flow forecasting, the consequences to the business can be devastating. Cash flow forecast help in planning and using the funds available at a given time in a way that best benefits the business. Fiscal management of a business is therefore made easy by using accurate cash flow forecasts. Good fiscal management is vital for the success of any venture. Forecasting cash flows accurately is imperative.

Cash flow forecasts have three major aspects: projected revenue, projected expenses and the balance. Make sure each detail is carefully studied and used, such as when a certain amount of money is due and when certain bills must be paid. Forecasting cash flows serves as an early warning system when expenditure runs out of control. They indicate when sales targets are not being met. It helps to identify periods where there will be a shortage of cash and you need to take necessary actions like investing temporary cash surpluses. These forecasts can be used to apply for loans when necessary, helping convince loan officers that there will be cash to repay the loan quickly.

Forecasting cash flows can be done manually or by using various software packages. Once you have a forecast, check it to see that no detail is omitted, any new information has been updated, and the cash flow forecasted accordingly. Be certain you compare the actual results with the forecast to check how accurate the forecast was. Forecasting cash flows must be done regularly. It helps to determine the amount of cash available and to determine the best way the funds available can be used. When the cash flow of a business is planned and well coordinated, the functioning of your business will be smooth.

Additional Help
There are firms that offer their help and services to make sure new business start-ups will succeed in running a well-organized business. There is also software available to aid you in the process of forecasting cash flow for your business.
About the Author
David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes a free weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com
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