Sunday, July 1, 2012

Using Web-Based Accounting to Manage Cash Flow

In basic economics many models rely on the basic assumption that consumers engage in consumption smoothing. By attempting to anticipate future income and parcel out their spending evenly across this period, people in the model maintain an even level of consumption. Many small business owners don't even attempt to create the financial forecasts to perform this kind of smoothing, despite the fact that they stand to benefit the most from managing their cash flow in this way. Web-based accounting tools make cash flow management easier and business owners that use their small business accounting software to try smooth their spending will get more value from their free online accounting. But that's only true as long as they actually take the steps necessary to do so.

A few different but related accounting and business management tools have been mentioned so far. Financial forecasting, cash flow management, and expenditure smoothing are different, and they are all parts of an effective strategy to keep a business healthy. Many small business owners ignore cash flow management because they think that as long as they show a profit each month, they're doing everything right. So they don't worry too much about forecasting to help them time investments and inventory acquisition to limit risk exposure. But it's as simple as a client cancelling an order and leaving the business with a large stock of inventory, no customer to buy it, and a lack of capital to make other necessary purchases until that inventory moves.

So the first step for cash flow management is to get clean books. Either devoting effort to ensure effective bookkeeping, hiring or outsourcing the basic bookkeeping, or setting up web-based accounting is necessary. This is data collection and organization. It's time consuming and can be frustrating, but it's the most common problem that trips up small businesses. Most good accounting software will also produce accounting sheets like a profit and loss report, conducting the analysis that allows you to make basic financial forecasts.

When you know your average income and expenditure, your week-to-week cash flow, and projected growth, you can used free online forecasting tools to project future cash flow. This is a complex and important accounting strategy, so business owners who intend to manage their own accounting should spend some time and effort researching it at this stage.

Once you can anticipate monthly income and estimate future expense amounts, if not the nature of the expenses, you can set aside working capital and cash reserves. These allow you to protect your business functions against fluctuations in income that might come in the future and be ready to respond to problems and opportunities flexibly, without making your web-based accounting numbers look scary.

Web-Based Accounting Gives You P&L Data So You Can Plan Your Expenses and Manages Your Cash Flow Proactively. Get Web-based Accounting at

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