Christmas is, by far, the busiest time of the year for the retail and hospitality industries. However, businesses operating in other sectors often find that sales slow and customers take longer to pay invoices during the holiday season. Suppliers also often close for an extended period at this time of year. This means that many small businesses may need to pay suppliers prior to the Christmas break so they have product to sell while their suppliers are closed.
Whether your business is large or small, well-established or in start-up mode, it is prudent to take a planned approach to managing cashflow during the holiday season. Here are few tips for keeping on top of cashflow management during the Christmas/New Year holiday period.
Keep on top of invoicing in the lead-up to Christmas
It is easy to let your business admin slip in the hectic lead-up to Christmas. However, this is the most important time of the year to stay on top of your invoicing. You may find that many customers will be slow to pay because their businesses are closed over the Christmas period.
If you’ve been thinking about moving to a cloud-based accounting system, it’s worth making the transition before the end of the year. Software like Xero and MYOB allows you to set up automated reminders for overdue payments, even if you’re away from the office.
Set clear expectations with your customers
Be clear with customers that you expect them to pay within the pre-arranged credit terms over the Christmas period. Consider contacting regular slow payers a few days before payment is due to confirm that they’ll be paying on time. The phone is usually a more effective method than email. If you’re not comfortable having this conversation with your customers, your bookkeeper may be able to assist.
Avoid non-essential spending
If December and January are traditionally quiet months for your small business, take a close look at expenses to see if there’s any spending that can wait until February or March, when you’re back into your regular trading rhythm.
End of year celebrations and staff Christmas bonuses are two common areas that many business owners don’t plan for. This can result in a cashflow squeeze. Try setting up a regular fortnightly or monthly payment plan so you’re contributing to these costs throughout the year.
Access extra funding like invoice finance
Many small businesses face cashflow shortages due to the holiday period. It’s a good idea to have a strategy for accessing additional capital if you need it, such as a line of credit. Invoice finance can take the pressure off when cashflow is tight.
Invoice finance is specifically designed to turn your unpaid invoices into cash to pay supplier accounts and other operating expenses. Australian Invoice Finance can approve and make available a new factoring facility before Christmas. We can help your business access additional funding and avoid cash flow shortages over the holiday period and throughout 2019.
Make the most of any quiet time
If sales are a little slow in the lead-up to Christmas, use the time wisely to hit the ground running in the new year.
The pre-Christmas slowdown is a great time to work through the to-do list you’ve been compiling all year. This might include taking a thorough inventory, searching for more suitable funding alternatives, completing a comprehensive competitor analysis or researching the market for new products and suppliers.
Learn more about debtor finance:
Find out more about how AIF can help your business take control of cash flow through a factoring facility.