Money is coming into your business, and it's covering your bills, but do you really know how healthy your bottom line is? Analyzing cash flow and the financial processes that contribute to it are the keys to determining whether your business is on track or heading for a cash crisis.

Invoicing, getting paid promptly, and keeping costs down all affect your cash flow. Analyzing your business with these things in mind will help you maximize cash flow and ward off any catastrophes.

Manage Payables

Hot Tip: Pay Bills Early, Earn Money
Chris Zane of Zane's Cycles earns his salary with the money he saves by paying his company bills early.

Get Paid

The Cash-flow Crunch
Big firms are dragging their feet on payables, taking as long as 60 days to settle up, and creating new problems for entrepreneurs.
Closing the Books
It's time to settle accounts for 2004 -- and prepare for a fruitful 2005. Here are three ways to get the most out of the annual end-of-the-year bookkeeping scram.
Case Study: Give Credit to the Small-Business Owner
Nick Ypsilantis, CEO of AccuFile, routinely checks in with customers to track incoming payments and reviews a weekly cash-flow statement to ensure that cash keeps flowing into his business.
Cough It Up!
Take the time to outline payment terms before a project starts. It will help establish a professional relationship with a new client and increase the likelihood of getting paid on time.
Collecting Yourself
For a soloist, focusing on collections means missing out on payable hours. Here's how one sole proprietor avoids the cost of collections.
Case Study: Top Billing
Ransom Environmental turned its bill-collection problem around by making sure that managers didn't ignore billing.
How to Collect From Clients: Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk
Collecting payment from clients is a matter of negotiating terms in advance, separating collection and business functions, and keeping internal accounting systems in order.

Control Costs

Cranking Up the Earnings
Forget revenue growth. For VCs these days, it`s the EBITDA, stupid.
Case Study: A Simple Little System
A look at how Hi-Shear Technology executive Linda Nespole devised a cost-control system to bolster the bottom line.
Case Study: A Can't-Miss Plan for Cutting Costs
Here's how Mike Scimeca drastically cut costs at his chemicals-and-metals supply company after revenue growth slowed.


Tracking Progress and Profit on Projects
These worksheets will help the owners of project-based companies calculate gross profit earned on individual projects that are underway in their companies.
The Employee-Run-Budget Worksheet
When Steve Wilson finally opened the books to employees, he had one proviso: they had to do the budgets. Cost control is great now.