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It might sound strange, but your Finance Department (even if that’s you after normal working hours) might be holding your business back. Having the right financial environment assists your business to survive and thrive, having the wrong one can close it down.

It can be as simple as having the right bank accounts. What does your business really need? A Trading Account, of course, and what else? At a point in your business growth you will also need some form of investment or interest bearing account. Exactly what you need is best decided between you and your financial advisors at the time, but there is obviously no real point having all your money just sitting around at the bank for free.

Your business may benefit from ready access to liquid funds – a bargain that has to be accepted immediately for example. Having a credit card or debit card may be the solution you need (Debit cards have much the same function as a credit card but use only your own money, so they generally cost less).

Would your business benefit from accepting card payments? That obviously allows you to minimise the risk of having cash on hand. Some stores have recently opened that do not accept cash at all, including a local coffee shop! You also open up the possibility of online trading when you can accept card payment, and that opens up a wider geographic range for your business.

If you trade online then you might consider using an online currency. That’s a real currency that only exists as an automated payment. There are no coins or notes, only electronic payments (including your card as a means of making electronic payments). Bitcoin is probably the most famous, however some Reserve banks are considering launching their own version.

Maybe you need a hierarchy of accounts for different levels of manager, or different geographic locations. If nothing else that prevents a store manager somewhere taking all your money and disappearing overseas with it – at least they can only clean out a local account.

Your financial history has a lot to do with what you can or can’t do – ask anybody who is bankrupt about the limitations they face. That said: nothing lasts forever, and may very wealthy people are ex-bankrupts. Don’t let your past performance dictate your future. Instead: learn from your mistake and do it better next time.

Convincing people to invest in your business requires you to provide financial projections. Any accountant can do that – they take your current financial position, add any expected investment funds and sales income – allowing for any credit period you might offer for payment, subtract expenses and that gives a prediction of the financial position of your company for each month for as long as you care to project it. But that’s only half the story. To convince someone to invest you also need to demonstrate to them that you have the capability to deliver on your promise. You tell them not only what you will do, how much income that will generate, but you describe you and your team’s experience. That just means that finance is ore than just the money you earn and spend, it is the way you do it too.

Your cash flow is the life blood of your business, if you don’t already then you need to start treating it with the respect it deserves.

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