Cash flow problems and working capital solutions to those challenges that are faced by Canadian business. Are we really saying there are 2,450 ways to pinpoint the problem? In a way yes. Let’s explain.

Although cash flow challenges are more than ‘ intuitive ‘ in the real world (thats where we ourselves work) Canadian business owners and financial managers often fear or just simply don’t understand how to quantify those problems. The reality is that the actual problem can be quite clear if you go to your financial statements, preferably on an ongoing basis.

Let’s assume you can identify 2 data points in your financials – the number of simple relationships you can look at with those 2 numbers is of course 2.

3 different numbers or data points in your business numbers would allow you to calculate 6 relationships, 10 for example would allow you to calculate 90 relationships. Finally, if you identified 50 numbers in your balance sheet, income statement, or cash flow statement you would, you guessed it, be able to formulate 2,450 calculations. It’s of course a geometrical solution we have just laid out.

So, your next question is of course ‘ what the heck is your point?! )

Its simple actually; the relationships we are talking about are in fact more commonly called ‘ ratios’ by financial types. Naturally you don’t have to calculate 2,450 ratios to in fact get some meaningful data from your financials; a small handful will do nicely!

Let’s examine quick examples to show you how you can very quickly pinpoint cash flow problems in your firm. Let’s take 3 data points, your sales and your working capital. The working capital calculation is current assets over current liabilities on your balance sheet. Isolate those three data points and do the calculation. The actual calculation is Sales / Working capital.

Congratulations, you have just completed your working capital turnover calculation! It measures how your company is in fact managing your cash flow, because as sales go up inventories, receivables and payables rise also. All of those have been captured in our final calculation! In effect you have just mastered a simple way to compute the very complex relationship within your firm on a daily basis as you sell and collect.

Important to note that the number in and of itself is not meaningful. When you track it over time, say monthly, it becomes VERY meaningful. And for the purposes of this ratio a lower number is a better number.

It’s also important to note that each industry in Canada will have a different number as a result, ranging anywhere from 2 to even 18. Each industry is different.

We’re not accountants but what we have hopefully demonstrated is that any business owner or manager can use any number of data points in their financial results to pinpoint cash flow problems and performance.

It’s all about asset management; in our example its those current assets that pay bill and allow you to make loan payments. Your goal is to manage the ‘ cash on hand ‘ account in your business well enough to put you in constant survival mode – and it’s a jungle out there!

In Canada various solutions exist for cash flow problems. They include receivable financing, bank lines of credit, asset based lines of credit, monetization of tax credits, and supply chain finance. Each of these works in a different way, but all provide you with working capital solutions.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with score carding and solving your cash flow challenges.