Surprise Bills: Prepare Your Business for the Unexpected
Getting a bill for an unexpected expense can put a dent in your business’s cash flow. Here are some tips your business can use to handle these unforeseen bumps in the road.
- Stick to a reconciliation schedule. Know how much cash you have in your bank account at any given time. This is done by sticking to a consistent bank reconciliation schedule. Conventional wisdom suggests reconciling your bank account with bills paid and revenue received once a month, but you now have the ability to reconcile your cash every day. Perpetual reconciliation is easier to do if your business has fewer transactions. It may seem a bit much, but with the correct team in place, you will be prepared for surprises as they happen.
- Create a 12-month rolling forecast. This exercise projects cash out twelve months. Each new month you drop the prior month and add another month one year out. This type of a forecast will reflect the ebbs and flows of cash throughout the year and identify times that you’ll need more cash, so when a surprise bill shows up, you know exactly how it will impact your ability to pay it. If you have lean months, you may wish to explore creating a line of credit with your bank to be prepared for any surprises.
- Build an emergency fund. Getting surprised with an unexpected business expense isn’t a matter of if it will happen, but when. Consider setting money aside each month into an emergency fund to be used only in case of a significant expense. A longer term goal could be to save enough money to cover 3 to 6 months of operating expenses.
- Partner with a business advisor. Even small businesses sometime need help keeping their cash flow in line and avoiding unexpected expenses. Please call if you have any questions about organizing your business’s cash flow and preparing for surprises.