Healthy Cash Flow:  How to Spot It, Build It, and Maintain It
10 August 2021

Healthy Cash Flow: How to Spot It, Build It, and Maintain It

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If you run – or are considering running – a business, learning how to foster healthy cash flow is one of the most important skills you can develop. Cash flow, or the way money moves in and out of your business, is a strong indicator of your company’s stability – or lack thereof. This metric goes beyond profit and loss (although that’s certainly a part of it) and digs deeper into where your money’s going and what it’s doing for you. Read on for valuable tips!

Sign 1: Tax Time is Manageable

As The Houston Chronicle explains, one solid sign that your cash flow is healthy is that tax season is relatively low stress. Now, this isn’t to say you won’t experience the usual anxiety of scrambling to get the paperwork together, but if you’ve stayed on top of paying taxes and kept track of your spending, that’s a good sign in and of itself. Businesses with a less healthy cash flow often have a tougher time come tax season, simply because the money they need to get through it isn’t always there.

If you want to make tax season easier, consider adding robust accounting software to your arsenal of business tools. QuickBooks Enterprise, for example, is a great alternative to ERP software. It allows you to manage all of your business financials in one place, which makes getting ready for tax time much easier. It allows you to track expenses and employee time and prep payroll. By using all-in-one accounting software, you can stay on top of your financial obligations, including taxes, with minimal time and effort.

Sign 2: You’re Self-Sufficient

Another good sign is if your business fully funds itself. There’s nothing wrong with relying on loans or investors at the beginning or during expansion, but it inherently puts your income at risk – after all, you have to pay those groups or people back. Your goal as a business should always be to move toward a self-sufficient point and fund yourself fully directly from your profits.

This is hard to do if you’re just starting out, and it’s likely to be a slow burn. Indeed, this issue is one of the many reasons most businesses don’t pull a profit for the first several years. Once you’ve repaid your startup debts and you’ve got your feet under you, however, focus on making sure you’re saving plenty of your profits to go toward future projects.

Sign 3: Your Investments Are Working For You

Finally, a business with healthy cash flow has good ROI on most, if not all, of their business-boosting investments. For example, if you’ve outsourced your marketing department to a company that promises a higher keyword rank or social media engagement, are you actually getting those results? More importantly, are you seeing a difference in your bottom line?

Learning how to recognize when investments aren’t working out and adjust appropriately is one of the hardest and most challenging parts of running a business. However, once you have a sense of this, your business is far more likely to thrive. Products and services can give you the tools you need to make effective changes to your process and reach your business goals.

To that end, Notre Dame recommends defining your goals with quantifiable metrics. Make them very specific, and don’t keep them to yourself – the more your team and outside entities know, the better your chances of success. You’ll be held accountable, and whether it’s a colleague, service person, or underling who is in the know, that accountability can help you reach your deadline, and ultimately your goal.

Although cash flow isn’t the only sign your business is doing well, you can almost think of it as your business’s temperature. A healthy result means to keep doing what you’re doing – an unhealthy one shows it’s time to give your business a little TLC.

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