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What Does a Healthy Cash Flow Statement Look Like?

What does the cash flow statement of a robust business look like?

While you’re probably dutifully reviewing your cash flow statement each month, there are several key parts to pay extra attention to. For example, is it generating enough positive cash flow? Or is it time to tweak your business strategies? For a small to medium-sized business or a startup, this is doubly important as you’ll feel the effects of a poor cash flow sooner. This also means tweaking a poor or inefficient process is much more feasible.

Here are three important factors that determine the health of your finances: 

1.Positive Cash Flow from Operating Activities

The foremost requirement of a healthy business is its ability to generate more cash than it spends. Your firm’s core business operations should thus consistently grow your net cash flow over time. Failure to do so would mean your business might have to rely on external financing to keep it afloat, which is not sustainable in the long term.

2.Customers Pay on Time

Late payments frequently contribute to an unhealthy cash flow, as business owners are forced to shoulder unnecessary expenses such as overdraft fees as a direct consequence.

To minimize delayed payments, you should calculate your debtor days (the average time it takes for your customers to pay you) and work out what an acceptable number of debtor days is. Generally, the acceptable number of debtor days will depend on your credit terms and business model, but the lower the number, the better.

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3.Upgrades and Expansions Are Funded by Operating Activities, Not Financing

A strong indicator that a business is doing well is that it shows negative net cash flow from financing activities. Although from time to time having positive net cash flow from financing activities is necessary when expanding your business, ideally it should be the exception rather than the rule. This suggests the company is using its cash flow from operating activities to pay off external financing and issue dividends, instead of taking out new loans.

Simply put, it reassures investors that the fundamentals of the business are strong enough and that it can pay for its own growth, instead of relying on one-time gains such as selling its assets or raising funds.

Getting a complete cash flow statement can be a quick and easy process or it can be a slow, laborious and costly one. Because it’s a vital part of being aware of how well your business is actually performing, selecting accounting software will make all the difference.

QuickBooks Online gives you all the diagnostic tools your business needs to stay healthy. Get a firsthand look at how it can help you manage your books with ease.