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7 Causes of poor business cashflow

Published in: TrialBalance | #63

1  Accounts Receivable Process - A poor accounts receivable process will result in debtor days (the time between billing and banking) being too high. This will stifle your cashflow. There are many strategies to minimize debtor days including tightening your Terms of Trade, offering prompt payment discounts and streamlining your billing process.

2  Accounts Payable Process - A review of all suppliers’ terms may identify ways to improve cashflow and potentially achieve better Terms of Trade. Implementing budgets, streamlining your payments process to maximize prompt payment discounts and avoid late payment penalties is just the start.

3  Inventory Process -  Carrying stock for too long means full shelves but an empty bank account. This is no different if you’re a service provider with work in progress that is yet to be billed. Reviewing your stock ordering systems and stock control processes (to name a few) will identify strategies to ensure cash hits the bank sooner.

4  Inappropriate Debt/Capital Structure - Often significant cashflow and interest charge improvements can be achieved with a regular review of existing debt. Maybe your debt / capital structure could be improved, or perhaps your debt should be consolidated and paid off over a longer term. Maybe you need to review and adjust what you’re drawing from the business, or perhaps the business needs a capital injection to fund its growth.

5  Overheads too High - Every business should do a thorough review of its overheads each year. Reviewing the effectiveness of your marketing spend, going paperless, putting expense budgets in place and changing your technology platform are some simple ways to reduce overheads.

6  Gross Profit Margins too Low - Our gross profit margin is what is left from sales value after variable costs are deducted. There are a large number of strategies that you can implement to increase your margin, such as focusing on rework and wastage, reducing stock shrinkage and improving team productivity, just to name a few.

7  Sales Levels too Low - If the current sales levels don’t support overheads and other cash demands on the business, then the business is not currently viable. If in high growth mode, a financing plan will be necessary. If not, we need to consider how we will grow sales. To grow sales we need to focus on customer retention, generating leads, improving sales conversion, customer transaction frequency and pricing strategies.

Source: McDonald Vague

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McDonald Vague Limited

Our experience in business turnaround, restructuring and insolvency has helped many New Zealand companies through periods of growth and change, as well as difficult times.

We advise underperforming businesses how to protect their financial future and find stability through a range of turnaround services including independent accounting reviews, raising finance and divestment.

Region: Auckland

Phone: 0800 30 30 34

Accounting HQ Limited

Accounting HQ Limited is a client focussed chartered accounting firm. We believe in supporting our clients in all their financial matters and although we are a small friendly local firm we do offer a full range of accounting services for all requirements.
Accounting HQ Limited Chartered Accountants (CA) came from the merger of the Iles Casey Partnership, Farquhar Accountants Limited and Graeme Lee & Associates Limited, Chartered Accountant practices.

Region: Bay of Plenty

Phone: 07 348 7066

Brown Glassford & Co Ltd

Brown Glassford & Co Limited have a long history providing specialist farm accounting and business advice to the rural community. The combination of experience, expertise and quality staff makes us one of the leading providers of farm accounting services in the South Island. At Brown Glassford & Co Limited we also provide management and accounting advice to the commercial sector.

Region: Canterbury

Phone: (03) 365 0881

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BM Accounting Ltd

BM recognise that different people need different things from their accountants depending on where they are in the business life cycle. Whether you are just starting out, are established in business or ready to retire we have the knowledge and expertise to support you. Similarly our dealings with a wide variety of industries and professionals help us to understand that everyone's requirements are unique.

Region: Hawke's Bay

Phone: 06 876 7159

Naylor Lawrence

At NLA we believe that a good accountant will ensure your compliance and tax is completed to standard and on time. However, a great accountant will take the time to understand your vision for growing your business and help you plan the journey to achieve it. With some checks along the way!

Our team has the expertise to assist your business, whether it’s big or small, just starting out, or needing some fine tuning. We don’t just offer services – we offer personalised solutions for each of our clients.

Region: Manawatu/Wanganui

Phone: 06 357 0640

Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants Ltd

With over 50 years combined experience in New Zealand, Wallace Diack is committed to providing a comprehensive range of practical accounting services for today's economic environment that help you realise your goals.

We appreciate that selecting a firm to entrust with your accounting requirements is an important decision, intensified by rapid economic changes, increases in competitive pressures, and resource availability. With our benchmarking, cash flow forecasting, and other tools, Wallace Diack is well placed to help you make an informed decision.

Region: Nelson/Marlborough

Phone: (03) 578 7389

Whitelaw Weber Limited

Whitelaw Weber is the largest business advisory and accountancy firm in New Zealand's Far North. They have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of businesses and families for more years than they care to remember.

They have a large team of accountants and business specialists based in offices in Kaikohe, Kaitaia and Kerikeri. Their expert hubs consist of the following;

  • Technology, systems and processes
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Region: Northland

Phone: (09) 407 7117

G S McLauchlan & Co

GSM is a Dunedin based Business Advisory and Chartered Accountancy practice founded in 1957. 

GSM pride themselves on our specialist knowledge, our ability to keep fresh in today's ever changing environment

Region: Otago

Phone: 03 477 8192

McIntyre Dick Limited

McIntyre Dick is a vibrant, driven, and people focused firm of Business Advisors and Chartered Accountants leading the industry in Southland, New Zealand. They’re dedicated to delivering exceptional service and strive to put time, mind and money back in their clients’ hands.

Region: Southland

Phone: 03 211 0801

Harris Taylor Limited

The Accountancy world is constantly changing and highly competitive. At Harris Taylor their challenge is to stay ahead of the competition by providing the best possible service, whilst ensuring that client satisfaction remains our primary motivation and ultimate goal.

Region: Taranaki

Phone: 06 278 5058

Vazey Child Limited


The first thing you will notice when you work with Vazey Child is their approach. It is in the analysis and advice, the understanding of your business and a focus on adding value that is where they excel. It’s why they exist, and it’s why their clients enjoy working with them.

Region: Waikato

Phone: (07) 838 2169

Southey Sayer

Offering a full range of accounting and business development services, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client. The wide range of expertise and experience within the firm is shared amongst the partners and their teams for their clients benefit. Services and products offered are fully flexible there will be no expectation to conform to a certain product or pricing structure.

Region: Wairarapa

Phone: (06) 370 0811

BW Miller Dean Ltd

BW Miller Dean Ltd was formed on 1 April 2016 with the merger of two long standing Wellington chartered accountancy practices: BW Chartered Accountants Ltd and Miller Dean Chartered Accountants Ltd. 

BW Miller Dean pride themselves on building relationships based on trust with clients through personal, individual attention, and always being available to help their clients with specialist Accounting or Finance functions when needed.

Region: Wellington

Phone: 04 910 3340

Marshall & Heaphy Limited

Central to the culture of the team that has been developed over their history, is the belief that successful and sustainable businesses are the backbone for the West Coast community. Great businesses create jobs, keeping people and family together on the Coast, building a sustainable community.

Region: West Coast

Phone: 03 768 7186