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How to manage your business’s cash flow

As a small business owner, you’re managing cash coming in and out of your business all day. From the smallest transaction to your monthly storefront rent payment, you need to have a good handle on your cash flow and financial transactions. At the end of the day, those dollars and cents really matter.

But for many small business owners (we’re looking at you, sole proprietors!), this process can be tedious and time consuming. Thankfully, with the right tools and support, you can take a lot of the stress out of the process.

First, the tools.

Online banking. This is one of the most helpful and accessible tools for managing cash flow, especially because it’s accessible anywhere, anytime. So if you want to check your transactions while lounging in your bathrobe at night, by all means!

Many financial institutions have special features available in their online banking portals specifically for small businesses. For example, you can view both your personal and business accounts with a single login. So if you want,  you can authorize selected staff to perform assigned activities on the account. You can also approve, reject and keep track of transactions with ease.

Cash deposit services. Small businesses, especially those in retail, may need to handle lots of bills and coins. For safety and cash flow, it’s best to deposit these funds as soon as possible, even after banking hours. Cash deposit services let you deposit cash, coins, and cheques at ATMs 24/7. That means there’s no need to keep cash on your premises while you wait for the branch to open.

Plus, they only permit deposits, so you can confidently have your employees deposit cash knowing that they’re not able to view or move funds in the account. Something to note is that this service is only accessible at ATMs with a cash depository slot and requires a special card. Talk to your financial institution for more information.

Automated fund transfers allow you to switch from cheques and mailed invoices to electronic processing and management of payables and receivables. You can also set up recurring payments or bills, or one-off transactions for a future date.

If you pay several suppliers on a regular basis, regularly receive payments from the same source, or regularly process payroll deductions for employees, this service will become your new best friend.

Now, the tips.

Unfortunately, business ownership and taxes go hand-in-hand. But fortunately for you, it’s quite easy for you to fulfill your obligations to the Tax Man. You can manage and pay your payroll deduction taxes, PST, GST or corporation tax through online banking, or in-branch at your Financial Institution. And it won’t be taxing, either.

Does your business involve foreign exchange? Your financial institution can help with that too. The timing of conversations can be critical, and financial institutions can help manage your transactions to minimize rate risk. They’ll also support you in the planning process if you have payables and receivables in foreign currency.

Another helpful service credit unions and banks provide to small businesses is wire transfers for businesses that send or receive foreign currency internationally. Contact your financial institution before arranging wire transfers to make sure you have everything you need to process your transaction.

If you’re looking for a fast and secure way to transfer money from your business account to a vendor or client, e-Transfers allow you to do so without exchanging bank account numbers. All you need is an email address and name of the business or person receiving the money.

You can also use your money to make money. If you find yourself holding onto excess cash and won’t need it for at least six months, consider putting it in a locked-in investment like a GIC. If you need a hand picking an investment solution that’s best for you, give our Business Banking Team a shout.

 

Nicole Gervais Headshot Nicole Gervais, Manager, Payments and Cash Management

Nicole has worked for Coast Capital for over 13 years. She’s passionate about helping people navigate the (sometimes) daunting world of finances while having fun in the process. She’s a born and raised Vancouver Islander who can often be found beach combing or hiking with her two children.

You can also find her on LinkedIn.