I hear it more and more: companies are struggling to invoice their work, reducing cash flow and making it harder to pay vendors.
However, delay in billing for your work is not an excuse your key vendors will likely accept for very long before it impacts your relationship with them. The most common repercussion is that credit terms are converted to more immediate payment terms rather than a longer-term repayment arrangement.
Not only will this affect your cash flow, it can also greatly impact your productivity if you are unable to purchase the resources required to convert into profit.
We may try to blame our delayed revenues on outside problems but those are most often out of our control and not helpful. In our practice, we regularly see early signs of delayed revenue problems with our clients. Fortunately between our three-way cashflow forecasts and other KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) monitored on company performance scorecards, we identify these problems early enough. We are then able to guide our clients to finding solutions before the issues negatively impact cash flow and the ability to pay vendors.
One solution is to modify a client’s sales contracts to protect against project delays. Another solution is to identify a risk early enough to be able to add additional suppliers to a client’s supply chain strategy.
In a third situation, clients identify a project management strategy as a win/win and agree to provide additional payments in advance.
The 3-Step Cash Flow Solution
- Use shorter-period client invoice terms
- Pre-plan for future vendor invoices
- Negotiate a pre-pay installation plan with vendors
The primary advantage of managing drops in revenue is identifying the causes early enough to be able to find solutions that avoid cash flow challenges. To do this, you should have effective company scorecards and accurate three-way cash flow forecasts. If either of these strategies is missing in your company, I suggest you talk to your business advisor or account for some further guidance. If you don’t have confidence in either of those team members, call me today and we can walk you through how to get your revenue and cash flow under control so you can maintain strong relationships with your vendors and partners.