Archive for 'Money'
Maintaining healthy cash flow can be challenging; between ongoing expenses and bills, poor cash flow can severely impact your customers, staff and bottom line. Business owners need to understand the differences between short and long-term financing when developing a cash flow strategy.
There are various sources of financing available, with each being useful for different situations. Choosing the right source and mix is key for good cash flow, with financing options often being classified into two categories based on time period: short-term and long-term. To find the right plan for you, determine your needs and then match a financing option to meet those needs.
Short term financing, or working capital financing, looks at needs that arise in relation to financing current assets – for a period of less than one year. Working capital is the funds that are used in the day-to-day trading operations of a business. Short-term financing can help you to pay suppliers, increase inventory and cover expenses when you do not have sufficient cash on hand.
Long-term financing options can help you invest in overall improvements to your business, for a period of more than 5 years. Capital expenditures, such as upgrading equipment, buying additional vehicles and renovating are funded using long-term sources of finance.
Managing cash flow is critical to the success of a small business. While it is necessary to be profitable, your profit is a number that shows up on your accounts at the end of the year whereas your cash is the money you have in the bank. By incorporating the following tricks, you can help to maintain the flow of money coming in and keep the business running smoothly.
Prepare a cash flow projection:
There are always unforeseen challenges or changes in the marketplace. While you won’t always be able to predict or forecast these, you can gain a better grasp on industry trends and patterns. Drawing up a cash flow projection can help you plan the ups and downs of your spending. In your projection, be sure to include:
- Cash receipts, including income from sales and income from financing.
- Cash disbursements, including all expenses (cost of goods, operating expenses, loan payments, income tax payments, etc).
- Net cash flow — opening cash balance plus receipts, minus disbursements.
- Ending cash balance.
Generate new business:
The business is going well; you’re meeting your targets, money is coming in, and you’re happy. This is not a time to relax, it is a time to be seeking out and generating more business. Cash flow may keep your business alive, but sales are what keeps cash flow alive. Keep expanding and preparing your business to cater for growth. This will help prevent you from chasing your tail when times are tough.
Employee share schemes (ESS) provide employees with a financial share in the organisation that they work for. They can be offered by organisations as a way to grow their business by attracting, retaining and motivating their employees.
How they work:
ESS gives employees shares in the organisation they work for at a discounted price, and the opportunity to purchase shares in the future. The discount refers to the difference between the market value of the ESS interests, and the amount paid by the employee to acquire them. This discount forms part of an employee’s assessable income, and will need to be included in their tax return.
Employee share purchase plans offer eligible employees the chance to purchase shares from their employer, often through a loan. The shares can be paid through a salary sacrifice plan over a set period, or by using the dividends received on the shares. Employees who are on a higher income may be eligible to receive shares as a performance bonus or as a form of remuneration instead of receiving a higher salary.
There may be restrictions on when employees can buy, sell and access their shares through an organisation’s share scheme. For example, employees may have to get permission from the business before buying or selling their shares, or there could be an annual window during which shares can be bought or sold.
What to consider:
Employees should take time to research the organisation they are considering participating in an ESS with. This will help determine how well the scheme is doing, and whether the shares are likely to increase in value. To avoid losing a large part of your investment portfolio, consider purchasing shares that are part of a diversified investment plan.
Before entering into an employee share scheme, consider seeking professional financial advice that is specific to your circumstances.
Financial ratios are useful tools for business owners to monitor, analyse and improve their business performance. By using ratio analysis methods, you can gain insight into a company’s liquidity, efficiency and profitability by comparing the information contained in its financial statements.
Solvency ratios measure the company’s capacity to fulfil long-term financial commitments. Debtor days is one of the key measures of this ratio analysis method. It shows the average number of days that a business takes to collect invoices from their customers. The longer it takes to collect, the greater the number of debtor days. When debtor days increase beyond normal trading terms, it indicates that the business is not collecting debts from customers as efficiently as it should be. The formula for working out debtor days is:
(Trade receivables ÷ Annual credit sales) x 365 days
Profitability ratios help measure and evaluate the ability of a company to generate income relative to revenue, balance sheet assets, operating costs and shareholders’ equity during a specific period of time. The net profit margin measures what percentage of each dollar earned by a business ends up as profit at the end of the year, the formula is:
Net income ÷ Total revenue = Net profit margin
When it comes to investing your money, there is the possibility that it may not perform as well as expected, possibly losing you some or all of the original investment amount. While no investment is free of risk, some carry more risk than others. These are a few strategies that can help minimise the risk of investments without sacrificing your returns, and not be left out of pocket in volatile and fluctuating markets.
Investment diversification involves buying asset classes or sectors that are not correlated. Diversified portfolios give you the advantage of being less exposed to particular economic events. It can be an effective way to limit your risk, as the fall in the value of one asset class may be offset by an increase in the value of another.
When buying growth investment assets, you may expect to see some short-term volatility. It would be helpful to separate your short-term and long-term goals and determine how much will be needed for each. Consider investing for the long term in growth assets, while setting aside funds for the short term in a cash investment or another similar defensive asset, ensuring short term funds are available and longer term growth investments are not affected.
Track your investments:
The balance of your assets may change as they gain or lose value, reducing the diversity of your portfolio. Tracking investments is useful in these circumstances as you may need to rebalance your portfolio. Doing this will make sure your investments still align with your strategy to mitigate risk.
Debt consolidation loans are a financial solution that may be suitable when you have multiple debts at once and are struggling to manage them all.
Debt consolidation is the process of bringing together all of your current outstanding debts into one single repayment. This is typically done by taking out a new personal loan to repay your existing debts and then paying this new loan back over a set term. While they may seem like an appealing idea, there are a number of potential negatives to consider as well as the benefits.
- Consolidating your debt into one single loan to repay can be easier to track and manage.
- Those taking out a debt consolidation loan may benefit from a lower interest rate compared to what they are currently paying. This means that over time, you can expect to save money.
- Without being mindful of your finances, the lower regular payments as a result of consolidating your debt may lead to you spending more overall. This creates the potential to accrue more debt and pay more in the long term.
- Failing to keep up to date with regular loan payments could end up affecting your credit score and put you in further financial hardship.
Before deciding to apply for a personal loan to consolidate your debt, take the time to consider all of the potential advantages and risks that are involved. Factor in your own circumstances and look for a loan that offers an interest rate and terms that will work for you. For more information, you may consider seeking professional financial advice.
Having a healthy supply of cash is vital for the survival of small businesses, as it is required to operate and enables you to pay workers, rent and other expenses. Unpaid invoices can lead to poor cash flow, a significant reason small businesses fail.
Late invoice payments can add to the strain of being restricted by limited resources. As a business owner, you should take the necessary steps to ensure prompt invoice payments and reduce your stress.
A structured collection process when it comes to chasing payments can provide a strong foundation to minimising losses as your business grows and can release thousands of dollars into your cash flow as a result of faster payments. By embedding certain practices into your day-to-day operations, the time dedicated to invoicing and chasing late payments is more efficient and effective.
Fast and correct invoicing is a great way to encourage faster payment. The earlier that you send your invoice will mean the client can make payments as soon as possible. Contacting clients after sending your bill allows issues to be addressed quickly. Checking if they have received your invoice and are happy with the services that have been provided is a good way to improve customer relationships.
Borrowing money to invest, also known as ‘gearing’, can be a risky business. While it can increase your returns when markets rise, losses can be extreme when markets fall. It is important to understand the risks involved when deciding whether borrowing to invest is right for you.
The main benefits of borrowing to invest are:
- It gives you more money to invest.
- If you are on a high marginal tax rate then there may be tax benefits as you are usually allowed a tax deduction for interest payments on the loan.
Some major risks of borrowing to invest are:
- The income that you receive from the investment may be lower than expected.
- Interest rates on the loan could rise.
- Income risk in circumstances where your income may stop, such as illness or redundancy.
It is vital to understand and have a plan in place to manage these risks. As borrowing to invest is a high-risk investment strategy best suited to experienced investors, you should seek further professional financial advice to make sure that this is a viable option for you.
There are a number of options when it comes to choosing an income investment scheme. Investments that generate regular income can be useful in a number of various situations, for example funding your retirement lifestyle. Options to consider include managed funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Managed funds are where your money is pooled together with other investors and then bought and sold by an investment manager via shares or other assets on your behalf. ETFs are a type of managed fund that can be bought and sold on a secondary market like a share.
- Pricing: When buying and selling managed funds, investors won’t know their exit price until the next day. A sale takes place either at the end-of-the-day price or on the net asset value of the assets. You could have to wait several days to receive your money from the sale.
- Risk: It is up to the individual fund manager to invest in particular stocks, allowing you to access a diversified portfolio made up of varying asset classes. This can reduce your level of risk by minimising the impact of poor performance by a particular industry or sector.
- Transparency: ETFs are typically more transparent than actively managed funds. An investment manager’s website can have its underlying investments readily able to be seen, where managed funds provide relatively little information about the holdings of the fund.
- Buying and selling: Arguably faster and more convenient than the trade of managed funds, ETFs are bought and sold like shares, meaning you will need a sharemarket account and a broker. One option could be online brokers, as there are many of them available and they offer lower rates. On the other hand, a managed fund is bought from the fund manager.
If you are in a position to invest, it can be a great venture to help grow your wealth as well as provide opportunities for others through your contributions.
Before investing though, you need to consider what is the best avenue as there are many aspects of an investment you will need to examine to determine if it is the right fit for you. On a personal level, you will need to make a financial plan, consider risks, establish a timeframe of when you can invest as well as decide how involved in the processes you would like to be. When deciding where to invest, you should consider the following:
Understand the business:
As an investor, you should understand the day to day workings of the business you are contributing to. This will help you when deciding if an investment is the right fit for you. Research not only the particular business or company you are investing in but the industry as a whole so you can properly assess suitability. Make sure there is a market and audience for your type of investment.
Investors are allowed to look at the aspects of businesses that not everyone else can. When your money is involved, you have a right to know many things such as how the company functions, what it earns and how they pay employees. You should also look into whether the company is growing, their tax rates, debts and any other expenses they might have.
The day to day operations is what will help your investment strive so the management of the company is something to look into. Management history is a good way to gauge consistency, effectiveness and overall satisfaction. There needs to be cohesion between shareholders and management. To ensure this, partner with a management team that you align with which will benefit everyone involved.