A Basic Guide to Cash Flow Forecasting
Nobody wants their business to fail. Although it’s impossible to predict the future with 100% accuracy, a cash flow forecast is a tool that will help you prepare for different possible scenarios in the future.
In a nutshell, cash flow forecasting involves estimating how much cash will be coming in and out of your business within a certain period and gives you a clearer picture of your business’ financial health
What is Cash Flow Forecasting?
Cash flow forecasting is the process of estimating how much cash you’ll have and ensuring you have a sufficient amount to meet your obligations. By focusing on the revenue you expect to generate and the expenses you need to pay, cash flow forecasting can help you better manage your working capital and plan for various positive or difficult scenarios.
A cash flow forecast is composed of three key elements: beginning cash balance, cash inflows (e.g., cash sales, receivables collections), and cash outflows (e.g., expenses for utilities, rent, loan payments, payroll).
Building Out Cash Flow Scenario Models
It’s always good to create best case, worst-case and moderate financial scenarios. Through cash flow forecasting, you’ll be able to see the impact of these three scenarios and implement the suitable course of action. You can use the models to predict what needs to happen especially during difficult and uncertain times.
In situations where variables shift quickly such as during a recession, it is highly recommended to review and update your cash flow forecasts regularly on a monthly or even weekly basis. By monitoring your cash flow forecast closely, you’ll be able to identify warning signs such as declining revenue or increasing expenses.