Advice on keeping cash flow going over the summer months

Clive Lewis, ICAEW Head of Enterprise, said: “At this time of year when employees will be taking their holiday it is essential that firms plan ahead to ensure business is not disrupted. With economic prospects still uncertain, firms must try to ensure they keep cash flowing”.

Some top tips for SMEs to manage while staff are on holiday are:

Make sure that staff complete a proper handover and that the handover is given in enough time. Staff involved in raising sales invoices and chasing customers for payment must properly brief the staff standing in for them. Stand-in staff need briefing on commitments made by customers regarding payment. They must also be aware of how to follow up customer queries regarding sales invoices so that disputes are resolved quickly

Make sure that suppliers or customers are aware of any alternatives to their regular contacts to ensure a smooth handover and make sure that stand-in staff can access a list of contact details for suppliers and customers

Getting cash into your business is critical. During the summer you will have staff away – but so will your customers. Plan ahead to avoid payment delays

Make sure invoices are still paid on time otherwise you could damage your credit rating and limit your access to supplies on credit

If the person authorising payment is away make sure that someone else can authorise it in their absence. The same applies with cheque signatories

Systems for recording / forecasting cash flow need to be maintained in the finance director’s absence

Debrief people when they get back – this will enable them to get back “up to speed” more quickly after their holiday

“Cash is king and businesses must ensure that cash continues to come in by examining their debt collection and bill paying procedures as well as making sure proper safeguards are in place while staff are away,” added Clive.