Cash flow is one of the most important aspects of any business, particularly small businesses: without it, and you won’t have the money on-hand to make purchases, settle accounts, or even take a client out for lunch.
Of course, knowing that cash flow is important is one thing; knowing how to manage your cash flow, prepare financial statements, analyze that cash flow, and forecast for the future are other topics entirely. But they’re very important topics that any entrepreneur or small business owner must master, at least well enough to understand his or her business’s financial past, present and future.
Direct Capital put together the following resources that cover a range of cash flow topics, from the basic what is it? to more in-depth issues, like analyzing your financial statements and keeping investors happy with what they see. By the time you make it through these 50 cash-flow articles, tutorials, guides, and videos, you’ll have built a solid foundation for creating, maintaining, and even boosting your company’s positive cash flow.
Table of Contents:
Cash Flow Management Articles and How-To’s
Even if you’ve never seen a cash flow statement, these introductory articles will prepare you for the great, wide world of cash flow analysis, forecasting, and projection.
If you need a solid intro to cash flow – what it is, how it differs from profit, how to improve it, etc. – then this Inc. article will do the trick. We wouldn’t call it everything you need to know (there are another 49 resources on our list, after all!), but it’s a solid start.
Financial analysis is one of the most complicated aspects of any business. (That’s why there are entire professions devoted to the task.) But if you’re interested in the basics of cash flow analysis, this resources serves up a comprehensive – and easy to understand, hurray! – introduction to the task.
As part of its Finance Your Business series, the Small Business Association (SBA) offers up this overview of cash flow analysis: what it is and why its so crucial to small business success. The definitions of cash flow statement section is particularly helpful for newbies.
The SBA also pulled together this great Q&A with Julie Brander, a business consultant and SCORE mentor. The interview touches on many of the questions you’d likely ask Brander: the importance of calculating your break-even point, what to do with cash flow statements in the early stages of business, and more.
When you begin digging into cash flow resources, you soon realize it’s not just about managing your cash or even tracking it on paper: it’s also about estimating how much cash you’ll have, and when. Enter cash flow projections, which help you plan for the future of your business.
We’ve all heard the adage, “fake it ’till you make it.” The advice in this article is a little like that: how to slow your burn rate (how fast you’re burning through startup capital) until you can turn an actual profit. This is great advice for any business, but of particular interest to startups with watchful investors.
If you need a primer on corporate cash flow – that is, cash flow specifically for business – then this is it. A comprehensive introduction to corporate cash flow analysis, this resource takes you from what is cash flow?, to reviewing sample statements, to understanding what those statements tell you about your company.
This short resource is an excellent, easy-to-review article on managing your business’s cash flow. Its sections are broken down into bullet points, which thankfully make for easy scanning and comprehension. Check out the links at the bottom of the article, if you’d like to drill down to any of the discussed topics.
In this back-to-basics lesson, you’ll learn how cash flow is generated, how cash flows out of your business, and how to categorize your cash flow. But it’s not just about the how; this lesson goes into the why, emphasizing the importance not only of cash, but of analyzing your business’s cash flow.
And speaking of analyzing, this resource – an excerpt of Rieva Lesonsky’s Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You’ll Ever Need – discusses how to analyze and understand your cash flow statement.
A second excerpt from Lesonsky’s book, this brief article dives into the cash flow statement depths. We particularly like the no-nonsense, easy-to-understand descriptions of each of your statement’s four categories: net cash flow from operating activities, net cash flow from investing activities, net cash flow from financing activities, and net change in cash and marketable securities.
Another offering from Inc., this resource-dense article links out to some serious cash flow knowledge, including topics on cash-flow forecasting and budgeting, the “magic number,” and more. We love their tip on preparing for the worst – a cash crisis.
For the math, accounting and financial gurus, this article gets into the nuts and bolts of price multiples and price-to-cash-flow, otherwise known as the P/CF ratio. You’ll also learn about different types of cash flow, and how to calculate (complete with formulas) each.
While we’re on the topic of math, let’s review this offering from the Wall Street Journal. But wait, it’s not that kind of factoring. No, factoring for cash flow is when a company sells its invoices to specialized companies – companies called factors. Find out why and when factoring is a good idea.
Cash is key to any business, and your cash flow statement keeps a finger on the pulse of your cash in and cash out. This helpful resource introduces you to – and decodes – the sometimes complicated but always necessary cash flow statement.
You’ll appreciate this conversational approach to cash flow: a discussion of the difference between cash flow and profit; a declaration that cash is king; and then the caveat that even kings have limits. Think of this NYT blog post as a casual lesson from your financial guru.
Cash flow manipulation is an unfortunate part of business – shady business, that is. This article gives an overview of cash flow “cheating,” and prepares you to identify and avoid it before investing in a current business with apparently (but deceivingly) strong cash flow.
Here’s another eye-opener on the dirty doings of some manipulative businesses. We love the section on four signs to identify when a company is trying to pull a fast one with its financial statements. Another must-read for potential investors.
Cash Flow Management Tips and Tricks
More than just how-to articles, these tips and tricks explore cash flow statements, projections, and common mistakes in easily digestible listicles.
If you love lists, this one will do the trick: Inc. dishes up 10 cash flow rules you absolutely must follow. The list is full of real-world wisdom and a-ha! gems; for example, never manage your cash flow based on your bank balance. Don’t immediately see the reason why not? This one’s for you.
Once you have the rules out of the way, you can concentrate on managing your cash flow correctly. These tips from MYOB make it easy, with eight bulleted points that will arm you with the tools and knowledge necessary to manage your business’s cash flow.
“Your balance sheet is lying to you.” If that got your attention, click on over to this very link-worthy (and lengthy) article on cash flow management for business. We particularly like the section on cash flow projections, including the difference between forecasting and strategic planning.
Once you achieve cash flow for your business, you’ll want it to keep on keeping on. This article provides five tips, from renegotiating contracts to gauging the financial forecast, on how to protect your positive cash flow.
If your cash flow needs more motivation than protection – and at some point, it’s bound to happen, unfortunately – this offering might be the ticket. Read up on seven proven ways to boost your cash flow, whether that means better training of your customers or a tightening your own belt.
Whether your cash flow is floundering or flourishing, you still need to manage it properly. Here are five tips on how to do just that.
StartupNation knows what’s what when it comes to cash flow and new business. They’ve condensed much of this knowledge into one article and 10 tips to improve your company’s positive cash flow.
Startups are infamous for burning through their cash and, ultimately, failing. The thing they all had in common, before the crash? They thought it wouldn’t happen to them. Learn from their mistakes and arm yourself with these five tips to avoid the startup burnout.
The Small Business Hub knows of what it speaks: time-tested techniques to unlock the potential of your company cash flow. These no-nonsense, short tips get straight to the point with surefire advice, like offering cash discounts and arranging progress payments.
The title is total link-bait, but this list is more than just a pretty face. Scroll through the list of cash-flow surprises – did you know you can be on budget but out of cash? – and prepare your business for these all-too-common cash flow snafus.
One way to avoid surprises and cash problems is to think ahead. This list arms you with the foreknowledge needed to sidestep common issues, like the unclear payment terms that could get you into the above-mentioned on-budget-but-cash-poor problem.
Bootstrapping your own business is hard enough, but it’s even more challenging when you’re worrying about cash flow. These tips are pure gold for cash-stressed boostrappers, arming you not only with knowledge but with the tools you need to get your cash flow in the green.
This selection from the California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is about managing your cash flow, for better or for worse: what to do when it flounders, how to manage it in good times, and everything in between.
If you already enjoy good cash flow, you know what a boon it is for business. The goal, of course, is to keep the cash flowing (and flowing and flowing) – and this excellent article delivers five tips on how to do just that.
If you’re interested in creating a clear projection of your business’s cash flow (and you should be), this article is for you. In four simple steps, you’ll learn how to harness cash flow projections to control your cash and form a clearer, better view of your business’s present and future.
Inevitably, times get tough. Your clients or customers are late on their payments. Sales dry up. Cash is flowing out, too quickly even, but the inflow has slowed to a crawl. Here are seven tips to get you through the cash-flow famine that all businesses will experience at some point.
In this same vein, Entrepreneur offers up a sister article on how to keep cash pumping into your business – even during those rough times. There are some great tips here, like learning how to bundle your services or products to encourage greater sales volume.
Cash Flow Management Guides
If you’re after more in-depth information on cash flow, these meaty guides are perfect reads for an autumn afternoon. So grab a steaming mug of something warm, pull up a chair, and give these guides a read.
This short guide (just nine pages) is an excellent introduction to business cash flow management, touching on topics like why you should track your cash flow and the best ways to ask for payment. We particularly like the tips for avoiding a cash flow crisis.
37. How to Prepare a Cashflow Statement (PDF)
Prepared by Zions Bank, this 20-page guide is, understandably, heavy on the financials. And that’s a good thing. Sample cash flow statements, handy definitions, how-to’s and worksheets prepare you to handle your own cash flow statements with ease.
Bplans guides are always good, and their cash-flow primer is no exception. Fun graphics and witty repartee punctuate this lengthy guide, which takes you from total newbie (what does a cash flow statement even look like?) to potential pitfalls to avoid (hello, rapid growth!).
BizFilings’ cash flow toolkit is basically a link hub, providing easy access to their wealth of cash flow resources. You’ll learn to crunch numbers, establish customer credit terms, improve your cash flow management, and shorten your collection period. We like that this clickable guide makes it easy to choose only the topics that interest you.
This guide comes courtesy of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and is a long but comprehensive guide to financial statements, including cash flow. The guide is factual, but simple – an easy to understand introduction suited to all financial skill levels.
The Queensland government put together this guide on managing your business’s cash flow. It’s divided into four sections: Managing cash flow; Plan and monitor cash flow; Tips for improving cash flow; and Analyzing your cash flow statement.
From SmallBizConnect, this cash flow toolkit explores the ins and outs of cash flow statements, analysis and forecasting. The module is broken into four separate sections: What is Cash Flow?; Cash Flow Forecasting; Cash Flow Management; and How to Write a Cash Flow Statement.
If you want a really, really comprehensive guide to business finance, then this is a good start. Investopedia’s complete guide is divided into five chapters and many sub-sections, and includes an entire chapter on financial statements, cash flow, and income.
Direct from the United Kingdom’s government website, this comprehensive guide is actually a set of comprehensive guides – 10 of them, in fact. The great thing about dividing their info into smaller, separate PDF downloads is that you can skip over topics you already understand and focus on those you don’t.
45. Your Guide to cash flow management (PDF)
If you think it’s impossible to pack serious information into just eight pages, give this guide a go. It delves into topics like cash flow management and how to improve your company’s cash flow, all while throwing in practical tips here, there, everywhere.
Cash Flow Management Videos and Tutorials
This one’s for the visual learners. In the following videos, financial experts boil down their cash flow know-how into easily consumed clips that not only tell, but also show. Better grab some popcorn for this one.
This short video talks to real-life entrepreneur Caroline Ceniza-Levine who, after quitting her day job, needed an immediate influx of cash. Learn how she got the revenue machine running so quickly – and what you can do to emulate her startup success.
Keeping the cash flowing is a challenge for any business owner. This video snippet shows you 10 ways to encourage cash flow. The accompanying article, from Entrepreneur, does a good job recapping the video content, so you can skip the note-taking while you watch.
SmallBizConnect offers a series videos to accompany their Cash Flow Finance Module. Scroll down the right-hand side to browse videos, most of which accompany a specific module chapter. Many feature interviews with successful businesspeople, providing real-life, practical tips and entrepreneurial inspiration.
Curious how to set up a foolproof, effective cash flow management system? Tim Berry has the answer – or, at least, one answer. He briefly discusses leads and lags, and how they affect your purchases/sales vs. cash flow, as well as credit, financing, and other topics related to the ebb and flow of cash through your business.
This one is less about production value and more about the nitty gritty of cash flow statements. Taking a simple example, this video teaches you how to reconcile your net income with cash flow. It’s a well presented, easy-to-follow how-to – perfect for cash flow statement first-timers.
About Direct Capital
Is your business looking for financing? Direct Capital has been providing small businesses with financing solutions since 1993. With the recent acquisition by CIT we can now help you and your business with our new and improved loan program. Visit our financing page to learn more.
- Computer Equipment Financing
- Laptop Financing
- Medical Equipment Financing
- Dental Equipment Financing
- Construction Equipment Financing
- Forklift Financing
- Restaurant Equipment Financing
- Catering Equipment Financing
- Commercial Vehicle Financing
- Commercial Truck Financing
- Fitness Equipment Financing
- Printing Equipment Financing
- Machine Tool Leasing
- More Equipment We Help Finance…