Seven steps to boost your small business finances in 2014

Here are seven things you should take action on before 2014. 

1. Check your credit report

This is one of the key pieces of information that lenders and suppliers use to help assess applications for additional funding and essentials like utility deals. You should check your report every six months to ensure that it accurately reflects your current circumstances and address any issues with the relevant agencies.

2. Review your payment processes

The time it takes to pay bills and invoices impacts your commercial credit score. Across the UK, the average payment time is still 25 days beyond agreed terms. 

3. Speed up your cash flow

Keep a record of your customers? payment times and act quickly if they seem to be getting worse. Get smarter about chasing unpaid invoices and communicate regularly with your customers to understand their situation.

4. Tighten up your invoice processes

Sometimes companies don?t get paid because invoices go astray, get sent to the wrong place or are made out for the wrong amount. Reduce delays by ensuring the correct attention to detail and good communications between sales and finance teams.

5. Make sure your business is on the map

Do an assessment of key business directories such as Yell and Thomsons as suppliers will use your business information such as location to verify your existence. Get in touch with directories immediately if you don?t appear.

6. Plan ahead for key financial deadlines

Filing annual accounts can be a chore, but being late can count against your credit score. Avoid this by planning well ahead of key dates for 2014 and ensuring you put enough team time into this. Consider filing partial accounts if you are going to be late.

7. Re-examine your mix of customers

It sounds obvious, but relying upon a few large customers is a risky strategy. Keeping up the search for new, relevant and profitable customers is not difficult. It is worth investing in quality marketing lists that will enable you to focus on the best leads.

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