In this post, I will talk about the importance of the Cash Position Report for any Professional Services Organization.
The Cash Position is your current and forecasted ‘Cash in Hand’. The importance of having Cash in your bank account cannot be emphasized enough. It is important to understand the difference between Cash Flow and Cash in Hand as they are not the same. An organization can have a solid cash flow (which is revenue tied up in Receivables), but without money in the bank, it cannot operate. Let me go into this further as it’s the foundation of our conversation here.
For any Professional Services organization, anywhere from 60 to 80% of the Monthly expenses are tied to Employee salaries. Paying salaries on time, every month is key to the organization’s credibility. Salaries need to happen on time, month after month, irrespective of your cash flow. They require cash on hand. In addition, any business planning, from HR Activities (a team lunch, an offsite meet) to Investing in the organization’s growth (new areas of business, developing expertise) also requires cash on hand.
One more topic that I need to mention is the current pandemic. Many Projects are delayed, cancelled or on hold. From a business standpoint, this kind of unforeseen event can put a tremendous strain on its ability to continue operations. But while the current pandemic is an extreme scenario, businesses constantly face challenges as we operate on a global level (2004 Tsunami, 2008 Financial Meltdown are some recently examples). Cash on Hand can mean the difference between survival and going out of business.
So we see that Cash on Hand is a Key Metric and hence should be reviewed regularly, ideally during a scheduled Management meeting on a recurring basis. At CloudFronts, we do this review every Monday morning. Our two and a half hour Monday morning Management meetings are literally run by numbers. Some of the Key Reports we review are Project Overview Report, Team Billable & Non-Billable Allocation Report, Support Metrics, Sales Pipeline, Outstanding Accounts Receivable Report, Forecasted AR Report, Cash Position Report. Each one of these is a PowerBI Report embedded into our Microsoft Teams Leadership Team Group.
So what is the Cash Position Report? I will start with a simple equation and then delve into the details –
Cash Position = Cash + AR – AP + Projected AR
Now let’s walk through each of the Items in there and how we get that data –
Cash on Hand – This is what is in your Bank Account when you run this Report (our report is updated every Monday morning before our weekly Management Meeting). We manually enter this data into the Report.
AR – AR is your Accounts Receivable which includes all Customer Invoices that are due this month and have not yet been paid. This includes overdue invoices carried forward from the previous month as well. If an Invoice is Paid, then it goes into Cash on Hand. Our AR data comes from Dynamics 365 PSA Contract Invoicing Schedule for both Fixed Bid and Time & Materials Projects. Our Contract Invoicing Schedule is the Single source of truth for all our Project Services Invoicing.
AP – AP is all Payables this month, including Salaries. It comes from our Accounting System which is currently QuickBooks Online.
Projected AR – Projected Accounts Receivable are any Invoices that we will generate this month and that will be due this month. This data also becomes from our Contract Invoicing Schedule. For Fixed Bid, this is based on the Contract Billing Milestones and for Time & Materials, this data comes from the Team Member Allocations.
At the top of the Report, you will see that the report is month wise. Hence as you move into the future months, you have less visibility into AR data, but rely on your Projected AR data. As you move into a month, the Projected AR starts becoming AR, which then becomes cash on hand and typically by the end of the month, Projected AR should be zero.
This Report gives the Management Team a clear visibility of the company’s Cash Position over a period of time. For us, we are looking at six months into the future, but organizations can easily set this up for longer periods. By reviewing it regularly, in a scheduled meeting, you ensure there are no surprises and you have time to react well in advance.
The benefits of such a report are further amplified when you consider its impact on our behaviour. During the pandemic, our No.1 priority has been to ensure we are a stable organization with the ability to operate through this pandemic. This report can give you that stability and allow you to stay productive and impact your team with a positive state of mind.
If you are keen on understanding more about our Internal Systems that keep us running and growing, our Internal Systems page is a wonderful resource – https://www.cloudfronts.com/our-internal-systems/
CloudFronts is one of the leading Microsoft Partners globally on implementing Professional Services Automation on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Platform. You can reach me on LinkedIn for any questions/queries or email me at [email protected]