Cash-flow management plans how money comes in and out of your business. A good strategy can ensure you have enough money to cover ongoing expenses and invest for future growth. The best practices to manage cash-flow can get time-consuming, though, especially if your business expands and you have more transactions to track, record, and understand.
Cash management tools can simplify and improve your process. A cash management tool is a software or app designed for this work. It could be a basic system tracking transactions so you can better understand what's going on. It could also provide a more advanced cash-flow analysis. Many tools allow you to predict your future financial position based on past results.
Chances are you might be using a variety of tools to track your cash flow. According to a 2022 American Express survey of 1,100 U.S. small-business leaders, 60% of small businesses use between two to three cash-flow management products to run their business. Switching between systems can be inefficient, though, and can waste time. The same survey found that 84% of small-business owners thought consolidating to one platform would save them time, with half estimating the time savings at three to eight hours a week.
American Express Business Blueprint is one example of a consolidated cash-flow management tool. It links to your bank accounts to track your spending and transactions. The tool uses charts and graphs to show past results and to help you predict future cash-flow ups and downs. It estimates your cash-flow balance 30 days in the future so you can decide how to manage your spending now.
If you’re looking for other recommendations, here are seven cash-flow management tools worth checking out.
PlanGuru offers budget and forecasting software for business owners. Its analytical tools allow entrepreneurs to drill down into complex financial data. You can import up to five years of past transactions into the software. It will then let you build budgets and forecasts up to 10 years in the future. The tool enables you to adjust your assumptions to predict what might happen to your business’s financial position under different scenarios so you can adapt your management of cash-flow.
- QuickBooks and Excel integration: If you’re using QuickBooks and/or Excel, your transactions from these other programs automatically go into PlanGuru.
- Educational resources: PlanGuru provides a demo, video tutorials, and even an online course that teaches you the fundamentals of cash-flow management, along with how to use the software.
- Free trial: PlanGuru offers a 14-day free trial to test everything out. After that, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Relatively expensive: The software costs $99 a month for just one user. It costs $299 per month for a Multi-Department plan that allows three users.
- Limited number of users: PlanGuru’s Multi-Department plan only allows three users. Each additional user costs another $29 per month. This can make scaling with PlanGuru costly.
- Limited functionality for larger businesses: The PlanGuru tools are best for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. It doesn’t offer the cash management support needed for a larger business. User reviews expressed trouble sharing documents across accounts, an issue for bigger teams.
Float is an award-winning cash-flow management software and app. You can use the software to create your budget. You can then adjust to see how it would change for different scenarios, like the cost of materials increases or you hire a new employee.
You can connect your Float account to top accounting software for small businesses like QuickBooks and Xero. Float then automatically tracks and records new data from your accounting software, updating your forecasts for company cash-flow management based on this information.
- Well-designed: Float has a clean and user-friendly interface. You can quickly and easily build forecasts for different scenarios.
- Allows multiple users: Float’s lowest-cost Essential plan allows up to three users. Its high-end Enterprise plan includes up to 100.
- Premium plans include a human review of forecasts: If you get a Premium or Enterprise license, Float includes a quarterly or monthly review of your forecasts from an in-house expert.
- Relatively expensive: The Essential plan costs $59 per month. The Enterprise license costs $199 per month.
- Limits on forecasting: Float’s forecasts only go up to three years in the future. Past users said they wished there was more customization flexibility in how they could design forecasts beyond the Float pre-designed templates.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive tool that goes beyond how to manage cash-flow, Scoro could be the answer. Its software provides budgeting, forecasting, and cash-flow management but can also cover many other parts of your business. It provides over 100 capabilities, including project management, sales pipeline tracking, supplier management, invoicing, and employee time trackers.
- Powerful yet user-friendly: Scoro does a lot, but it’s not overwhelming. Past customers rave about all the information they can easily access using this platform.
- Extensive integration with other tools: Scoro integrates with over 1,000 other apps and software. This includes accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero, as well as software for marketing, time management, and payments. Scoro offers API integration so that the tool can be built into your in-house apps.
- Quality educational resources and support: Scoro provides an educational blog, webinars, guides, e-books, and a help center. More expensive plans also include consulting sessions with in-house Scoro experts.
- Budget and forecast tools not included in basic versions: You can only handle basic financial tasks, like invoices and a summary of your financial report, in the lowest-cost Basic version of Scoro. You need a more expensive plan to access budgets and forecasts.
- High cost plus an onboarding fee: Scoro starts at $26 per user per month, but if you want the full capabilities of Pro, it costs $63 per user per month. Scoro also charges an upfront fee if you want human support for onboarding your business into the software, starting at $1,699.
- Minimum user requirement: Scoro requires you to have at least five paid users, even for its basic Essential plan. You’d need to pay for these licenses even if they are unused.
QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting software programs in the World. It includes a basic cash-flow management tool. Through this tool, you can forecast your cash-flow and budget up to 90 days in the future. You can also manage invoices, pay bills, and create financial reports.
QuickBooks may be less powerful than other tools but could be a convenient option to manage cash-flow if you already use the software for bookkeeping.
- Low cost: You can access QuickBooks’ cash-flow management tools with an EasyStart plan, costing $24 monthly. QuickBooks gives you a free 30-day trial and, after that, 50% off the next three months. You get four months of service for $36 in total.
- Can handle your accounting work: QuickBooks is best known for its accounting and bookkeeping work, to go with its other business financial tools.
- Well-designed software and mobile app: Both the QuickBooks desktop and mobile app make running your cash-flow management easy.
- Less comprehensive cash-flow management support: QuickBooks does not offer the same capabilities as specialty cash-flow management tools. For example, it only lets you forecast up to 90 days in the future versus the years provided by other top options.
- Accounting services cost extra: If you want accounting support from QuickBooks, you need a Simple Start plan costing $30 per month. This plan includes the cash-flow tools.
- Limits number of users: The lowest-cost plans from QuickBooks only allow one user. Even its second-most expensive plan cap users at five.
Pulse is an online tool and mobile app entirely focused on cash-flow management for business owners. Its tool allows you to track your ongoing cash-flow and expenses automatically. Pulse lets you forecast and play with different scenarios to see the impact on cash-flow.
One nice feature is that Pulse lets you organize the cash-flow by the customer and project. You can gain individual insights on how to manage cash-flow for each account.
- Excellent functionality for cash-flow: Pulse offers features not seen with other companies, like organizing cash-flow tracking by project.
- Simple and easy to understand: User reviews expressed liking how easy Pulse was to understand and use.
- Connects with accounting software: If you use QuickBooks, you can link it to Pulse to automatically upload the transactions.
- Key functions require a more expensive plan: Pulse starts at $29 per month, but you need to pay $59 per month or more for better functionality, like connecting to QuickBooks.
- No tools besides cash-flow management: Pulse doesn’t offer project management, tax planning, or other financial tools.
- Limited support: Pulse doesn’t offer live customer service — just an online help center with an FAQ.
CashAnalytics is a robust cash-flow management tool for larger businesses. It recommends being used by companies in the mid-market, with between $50 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. For the finance teams of these companies, CashAnalytics provides automated cash-flow forecasting and tracking.
It works in multiple currencies and automatically tracks transactions across multiple banks and ledgers. It also analyzes accounts payable and accounts receivable to give cash-flow forecasting predictions based on past client and vendor behavior. This is another valuable piece of data for how to manage cash-flow in a business.
- Configurable and customizable: CashAnalytics provides various plan options with different features. It allows you to customize the plan to fit the needs of your business best.
- Excellent security: CashAnalytics has numerous certifications showing its commitment to keeping user data safe.
- Integration with other tools: CashAnalytics integrates with NetSuite, Oracle, SAP, and other popular business software solutions.
- High cost: CashAnalytic's most basic plan costs $500 per month. More intensive options cost even more.
- Platform interface could be better: The CashAnalytics software is not as clean or user-friendly as some other options, despite being the most expensive
7. Google Docs
If you want to handle business cash-flow management on your own, you can download templates for Google Docs/Sheets. These templates let you record your transactions. Not only can this help with tracking, but some also offer forecasting into the future. You can find these templates through a Google search and from companies selling cash management software. For example, Float provides a free template for Google Docs.
- Low-cost and often free: Google Docs makes sense if you’re on a tight budget. You can gain cash-flow insights with a free template.
- Wide variety of options: Many pre-built cash-flow templates exist for Google Docs. You can download several of them to experiment and find the one you like best.
- Can start right away: You don’t need to go through a lengthy onboarding process or set up software with Google Docs. You just download a template and start filling it in for cash-flow management.
- No customer support: As a DIY solution, Google Docs doesn’t give you any support or advice for your cash-flow management.
- Quality varies between templates: Not every cash-flow management template is worth using. You may need to try a few to find one that’s useful.
- Limited functionality: You may only gain so much insight from a Google Doc template versus a professionally designed software/tool.
Accomplish Your Financial Goals
Any of the tools in this article can provide valuable information on how to accomplish your financial goals. However, a tool can be only as powerful as your understanding of cash-flow management. If you’d like to learn more about improving your company’s cash position, consider checking these resources for insights on running your business.
A version of this article was originally published on May 22, 2018.
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