If there is anything more important to the successful financial management of a business than the thorough, thoughtful preparation of Pro Forma Income Statements, it is the preparation of the Cash Flow Statement, sometimes called the Cash Flow Budget.
The cash flow management and cash flow statement identifies when cash is expected to be received and when it must be spent to pay bills and debts. It shows how much cash will be needed to pay expenses and when it will be needed. It also allows the manager to identify where the necessary cash will come from. For example, will it be internally generated from sales and the collection of accounts receivable - or must it be borrowed? (The Cash Flow Projection deals only with actual cash transactions; depreciation and amortization of goodwill or other non-cash expense items are not considered in this Pro Forma.)
The Cash Flow Statement, based on management estimates of sales and obligations, identifies when money will be flowing into and out of the business. It enables management to plan for shortfalls in cash resources so short term working capital loans may be arranged in advance.
It allows management to schedule purchases and payments in a way that enables the business to borrow as little as possible. Because all sales are not cash sales, management must be able to forecast when accounts receivable will become "cash in the bank" and when expenses - whether regular or seasonal - must be paid so cash shortfalls will not interrupt normal business operations.
The Pro Forma Cash Flow Statement may also be used as a Budget. permitting the manager increased control of the business through continuous comparison of actual receipts and disbursements against forecast amounts. This comparison helps the small business owner identify areas for timely improvement in financial management.
By closely watching the timing of cash receipts and disbursements, cash balance on hand, and loan balances, management can readily identify such things as deficiencies in collecting receivables, unrealistic trade credit or loan repayment schedules. Surplus cash that may be invested on a short-term basis or used to reduce debt and interest expenses temporarily can be recognized. In short, it is the most valuable tool management has at its disposal to refine the day-to-day operation of a business. It is an important financial tool bank lenders evaluate when a business needs a loan, for it demonstrates not only how large a loan is required but also when and how it can be repaid.
A Cash Flow Statement or Budget can be prepared for any period of time. However, a one-year budget matching the fiscal year of your business is recommended. As in the preparation and use of the Pro Forma Statement of Income, the projected Cash Flow Statement should be prepared on a monthly basis for the next year. It should be revised not less than quarterly to reflect actual performance in the preceding three months of operations to check its projections.
In preparing the Cash Flow Statement or Budget start with the sales budget. Other budgets are related directly or indirectly to this budget.
Later on, before a cash budget can be compiled, you will need to know the estimated cash requirements for selling expenses. Therefore, you prepare a budget for selling expenses and another for cash expenditures for selling expenses (total selling expenses less depreciation):
Basic information for an estimate of administrative expenses for the coming year is easily compiled. Again, from that budget you can estimate cash requirements for those expenses to be used subsequently in preparing the cash budget.
Now, from the information budgeted so far, you can proceed to prepare the budget income statement. Assume you plan to borrow $10,000 at the end of the first quarter. Although payable at maturity of the note, the interest appears in the last three quarters of the year. The statement will resemble the following:
Estimating that 90 percent of your account sales is collected in the quarter in which they are made, that 9 percent is collected in the quarter following the quarter in which the sales were made, and that 1 percent of account sales is uncollectible, your accounts receivable budget of collections would look like this:
Going back to the sales budget in units, now prepare a production budget in units. Assume you have 2,000 units in the opening inventory and want to have on hand at the end of each quarter the following quantities: 1st quarter, 3,000 units; 2nd quarter, 3,500 units; 3rd quarter, 4,000 units; and 4th quarter, 4,500 units.
Next, based on the production budget, prepare a budget to show the purchases needed during each of the four quarters. Expressed in terms of dollars, you do this by taking the production and inventory figures and multiplying them by the cost of material (previously estimated at $1.50 per unit). You could prepare a similar budget expressed in units.
Now suppose you pay 50 percent of your accounts in the quarter of the purchase and 50 percent in the following quarter. Carryover payables from last year were $5,000. Further, you always take the purchase discounts as a matter of good business policy. Since net purchases (less discount) were figured into the $1.50 cost estimate, purchase discounts do not appear in the budgets.
Taking the data for quantities produced from the production budget in units, calculate the direct labor requirements on the basis of units to be produced. (The number and cost of labor hours necessary to produce a given quantity can be set forth in supplemental schedules.)
Figure the cash payments for manufacturing overhead by subtracting depreciation, which requires no cash outlay, from the totals above, and you will have the following breakdown.
Now comes the all important cash budget. You put it together by using the Collection of Accounts Receivable Budget; Selling Expenses Budget-Cash Requirements; Administrative Expenses Budget-Cash Requirements; Payment of Purchases Budget; Direct Labor Budget-Cash Requirements: and Manufacturing Budget Cash Requirements.
Take $15,000 as the beginning balance, and assume that dividends of $20,000 are to be paid in the fourth quarter.
In order to make the most effective use of your budgets to plan profits, you will want to establish reporting devices. Throughout the time span you have set, you need periodic reports and reviews on both efforts and accomplishments. These let you know whether your budget plan is being attained and help you keep control throughout the process. It is through comparing actual performance with budgeted projections that you maintain control of the operations.
Your company should be structured along functional lines, with well identified areas of responsibility and authority. Then, depending upon the size of your company, the budget reports can be prepared to correspond with the organizational structure of the company.
Remember, the Cash Flow Statement used as the business's Budget allows the owner/manager to anticipate problems rather than react to them after they occur. It permits comparison of actual receipts and disbursements against projections to identify errors in the forecast. If cash flow is analyzed monthly, the manager can correct the cause of the error before it harms profitability.
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