If you and your team are grinding the gears on a monster cash flow model and are considering moving to an automated solution, here are five reasons to make the switch in early 2023.
By Conor Deegan
1. Better manage the uncertain economic climate
Perhaps the biggest benefit of cash forecasting automation is that it will allow you to better predict and manage future surprises. The triple whammy of slower growth, high inflation and rising interest rates has led to considerable uncertainty that will last for the majority of 2023 and beyond. Layer in the inevitable unknowns and you have an environment where a firm handle on cash flow is critically important.
Automation will give you the cash flow data you need to manage the road ahead in a streamlined and reliable manner.
2. Manage an increased focus on cash
As a result of the changing economic environment and the expected impact on the cash flow of many businesses, you and your team will likely receive a lot more requests for cash flow reporting and insights into cash flow, including forecasts, from your senior stakeholders as they too focus more on cash flow.
Automated cash forecasting and reporting will allow you to respond faster and more efficiently to these new demands while reducing the admin burden on your team significantly.
3. Repay expensive debt faster
Banks have quickly passed on the recent interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world to their corporate customers in the form of higher loan interest rates. As deposit rates have yet to see the same increase, there is a need for any company with revolving or short-term debt to use excess cash flow to keep debt levels at a minimum. If they don’t, they will suffer the pincer movement of higher borrowing costs and the reduced value of cash holdings which will have a major impact on the profitability of the business.
Optimising cash and debt levels, with the goal of reducing interest costs while ensuring the business has enough liquidity to function day-to-day, requires a tight handle on cash and robust visibility over current and future cash flow. Without a high level of cash forecasting and reporting automation, you won’t have access to reliable detailed cash flow visibility you need to make these debt repayment decisions with confidence.
4. Keep your team happy
The reality is no one wants to spend most of their time manually slogging away with spreadsheets daily. Cash flow spreadsheets can be some of the largest and most complex managed by any finance team due to the number of inputs and volume of data required to create meaningful cash flow forecasts.
While economic conditions have deteriorated, the labour market also remains very tight. Retention of staff remains a top priority for CFOs who understand the upfront cost and ongoing investment needed to make new hires productive and keep them happy. Investing in automation is a great way to show your team that you are committed to both innovation and helping them to do their job, the best way they can.
5. Focus on strategic priorities
In line with the above point, automation of manual cash reporting and forecasting will allow you to focus on more strategic objectives such as supporting the growth of your business and planning longer term capital requirements.
It’s impossible to properly focus on strategic issues when you’re weighed down by the grind of manual work. If you or your team spend 80% of time on manual spreadsheet-based cash flow reporting and forecasting tasks and only 20% on analysis and strategic planning, you can flip this on its head with an automated forecasting solution to instead spend most of your time on higher value tasks.
Summary of Automation Benefits
In summary, cash forecasting automation will allow you to:
- Produce cash flow forecasts, reporting and analytics much faster
- Produce more accurate forecasts that improve over time
- Carry out detailed drill down and analysis
- Reduce manual error, improving overall forecast quality
- Save time to focus on forward looking planning
The net result of automation is that you will produce a higher quality forecast, in a fraction of the time which will give you clearer and more reliable visibility over future cash flow.
Ready to make the change?
Here in CashAnalytics we specialise in helping companies transition from manual, time consuming spread sheet-based cash reporting and forecasting processes to a highly automated system-based approach. We are experts in cash forecasting and cash management and write extensively on the subject. The follow resources may help you as you consider next steps.