Cash is the fuel that keeps your business running. Without sufficient cash, your business could have a liquidity crunch. Even if you are making a profit, you must be cash positive to pay off your liabilities such as rent, payments to suppliers, wages and salaries, etc. The best way to track your cash flow is to create a cash budget.
A cash budget is a statement that helps a business manage its cash flows. It is prepared in advance to capture a company’s cash receipts and cash spends.
While a budget reflects your business’s complete financial position, a cash budget is an assessment of your company’s cash flows during a given period of time.
Cash flow can be defined as the way money flows into and out of your business. Cash flows can be estimated for a week, a month, a quarter, or a year. It is the best way to determine whether your company will have enough cash to meet its expenses over a given period of time.
Preparing a cash flow statement with all the elements of a cash budget can not only give you an insight into the inflows and outflows of cash, but can also help determine an efficient allocation of any surplus cash.
The primary reason to create a cash budget is to keep an eye on your company’s financial health. Analysing the movement of cash through your business creates a realistic picture of when and how you can pay off your bills. The elements of a cash budget identify the inflows and outflows of cash during a given period, thereby helping understand if you have sufficient funds for monthly operations.
Drawing up a cash budget for the next month or next quarter can also help you estimate your cash position in the future. Based on what your current inflows and outflows are, you can forecast what your liquidity will be in the coming months, helping you manage your money better.
A cash budget is also essential to make decisions about how to deploy your cash. For instance, if you have too much surplus cash, you must make an investment plan so that you don’t waste your money. If you are cash deficient, you must plan how to reduce your expenses or improve collection methods to maintain a healthy cash reserve.
Businesses function in cycles. Some months may bring in a lot of cash while other months may see low inflows. Drawing up a cash flow budget can help management manage cash better by deploying cash in a way that it can absorb deficits during lean months.
Business emergencies can arise at any time. If you find yourself in a position where you have to pay an unforeseen cash expense that you had not accounted for, a cash budget that has smartly helped deploy excess cash can come in handy.
To create a successful company, you must plan your income and expenses as well as possible. A cash budget allows you to estimate and track all the money that comes into your business and leaves it. Whether it's used by companies or individuals, each cash budget generally contains the same basic components.
The first element of a cash budget is the incoming cash or cash receipts that your business has. This is an estimation of all the cash that you will actually receive. While accounting uses the accrual method to track what is due in a given period, a cash budget tracks all the cash that comes into your business. For example, you may be receiving advance payment for an order for the next month. This must reflect in the cash receipts as soon as you receive it. In general, cash receipts can include cash from sales, rental income, debtor payments, and investment returns. You can also list cash received from loans as a cash receipt.
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Just as you account for cash receipts, you also need to make a note of all the cash payments or outflows. Once again, this section must include all payments you make in the given period. This could be payments towards rent, purchase of raw materials, salaries and wages, loan repayments, etc.
Based on the income and expenses that you have, you can then estimate your surplus or deficiency. When you subtract the cash payments from the cash receipts, you will get a single line that reflects your surplus or deficiency. Based on this, you can determine how to deploy your surplus for more returns or devise a plan to reduce your expenses to increase your surplus.
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While determining cash budget depends on a number of factors一long terms or short-term, economic conditions, sale and production forecasts, etc. - it would typically comprise of the following elements:
Be sure to have a clear idea of the above and make the necessary preparations to acquire these figures before you start to create a cash budget for your business.
A cash budget formula is as follows:
Beginning cash balance + total cash inflows for the month - total cash outflows for the month - financing repayments = Ending balance
Illustrated below is the example of a cash budget with all the elements of a cash budget. Using this as a model, you can create your own cash budget.
Cash Budget for Six Months Ended Dec 31
Cash budgets are usually created for a specific period of time. This could be a short-term cash budget or a long-term cash budget.
It is important to create both short-term and long-term cash budgets to forecast your business’s immediate as well as ongoing liquidity.
This type of cash flow analysis is referred to as cash budgeting preparation and analysis, which is part of your company's short-term financial forecasting.
To start, determine the amount of cash that will flow into your company in one month. If you are just starting your business, you should have a rough estimate of the initial balance in cash that you aim to have. In addition, you also need to determine the number of sales you will have during the first month. Sales should include cash sales and sales that you make from customers who pay via credit.
Now that you've determined your cash inflow, you need to do the same with your cash outflow. This is the money a business disburses, which can fall under the following categories:
Especially for small businesses, it is essential to always be on top of your cash outflow as it helps founders make better decisions for the company, protects internal and external business relationships, and helps you understand where you're spending your money.
Every businessman certainly wants their flow of cash coming into the company to be greater than the amount of cash flowing out of their company. When the time comes when a business ends up with greater cash outflow than cash inflow, it may need to file for bankruptcy eventually. That's why founders must carefully plan and assess their expenses to minimise the risks. Having a greater cash inflow also ensures that you will have enough funds to run your company in the long run.
One fundamental rule in making a cash budget is to include the ending balance for the previous month as the beginning balance for the next month. Each month, you may have to add more items to the analysis as your business grows. In order for your business to run well, you have to decide the minimum ending balance that your company must have each month. You can then devise ways in which you can maintain a minimum surplus every month.
In business, accounts receivable or borrowing money are not new concepts. If the cash flow turns negative or is facing a deficit in funds, you will have to borrow money to cover the lack of cash for the month.
Borrowing money can be done from family, friends, investors or from banks and other financial institutions. If your cash flow is positive the following month, you can pay back the loan.
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Be consistent in doing the cash budget every month. Try to keep your loan to a minimum and your cash inflows greater than the outflows. Remember that a cash budget is a financial planning document, and try to be as consistent with this as possible.
Now that you know how to create a cash budget using a template above, the next step is to develop a business budget outlining not just your cash flow but also your income, expenses, and profit. This monthly budget Excel template is just the guide you need for this exercise. It’s a budget template that captures all the financial details – small and big – that affect your business. It’s easy to use and personalise to suit your requirements.
Cash budgets are crucial to ensure your company’s liquidity. No matter how small your business is, you should create a cash budget to stay on top of your cash situation.
Now that you are equipped with all the information you need, it's time to create a cash budget for your business. Take note of the steps above to ensure your business finances are well in place. If you want to take it up a notch, the Aspire Business Account can help business owners manage their expenses in a unified and seamless platform. Through the expense management feature, you can control your finances and monitor your cash inflow and outflow each step of the way.