Cash flow has always been a troublesome issue for small business owners but never more than right now. As the country edges toward reopening, many small businesses face an uncertain future with a much slimmer margin of error in managing their cash flow. More than ever, business owners could benefit from crystal ball-like divine to make informed financial decisions. While there are no crystal balls, QuickBooks Cash Flow Planner, which infuses its venerable accounting software with artificial intelligence (AI), could be the next best thing.
Introduced earlier this year as a prototype feature within the QuickBooks Mobile App, Cash Flow Planner leverages the power of AI to deliver insights and forecasts into current and future cash flow positions. With regular use, the platform allows business owners and their accountants to view and manage the business’s complete financial status, enabling them to anticipate cash flow crunches and prepare for the uncertainty ahead.
How Cash Flow Planner Works
Using inputs from QuickBooks accounting software, Cash Flow Planner looks at transactions across the platform, including cash flow, expenses, and receivables, to model future scenarios over the next 30 to 90 days. If a negative situation is on the horizon, it will identify the cause of the problem, alert the business owners, and provide a range of options to avoid cash problems, including advice on the timing of payables and whether they can afford new expenses. If circumstances change, the business owners can modify the inputs based on new information and have Cash Flow Planner generate a new forecast.
From a planning standpoint, Cash Flow Planner can look ahead to help business owners formulate growth strategies, such as adding staff or purchasing equipment based on forecasted cash flow. Business owners can ask “what if” questions to have Cash Flow Planner model different scenarios.
Strengthening the Business Owner – Accountant Collaboration
At the core of Cash Flow Planner is its ability to learn based on previous cash flow inputs into the QuickBooks accounting software. With the insights it can provide through a centralized platform, accounting professionals can be much more collaborative and strategic when advising and educating their business owner clients. Not only will that increase the value of their guidance, it will also give business owners more confidence in their financial decision-making.
Ever the pain point for small businesses, cash flow management will become an even more significant challenge in their struggle to recover from the shutdown. The ability to see around the corner is the edge small businesses need to get ahead of inevitable cash flow problems.
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