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Always short of cash?

Your cash shortages may point to poor accounts payable management.
By Henry Ong |

Have you ever wondered why you sometimes experience cash shortages even if your business is booming? No matter how much money your business generates, perhaps you always feel that you are always short of cash every time your suppliers are knocking on your door.


The cause of the problem may be poor accounts payable management. When managing cash flows, therefore, you should remember that timing your accounts payable payments is as crucial as collecting your accounts receivables.

You can manage your accounts payable by stretching out the payment terms as long as possible without damaging your credit standing to suppliers. There are some business owners who pay their payables too early simply because they have so much cash in the bank, but they don’t know that they lose the opportunity to earn extra interest income on their cash. On the other hand, there are entrepreneurs who pay their suppliers too late and end up being slapped with penalties and charges. It is thus important that you manage your payables to the best interest of both parties.


As a guide, you can determine your days payable outstanding by first computing your payable turnover. For example, assume that your accounts payable at the start of the month was P150,000 and that during the month, you made total merchandise purchases of P250,000. After one month of operation, you found out that the balance of your accounts payable by month’s end was P100,000. To compute for the payable turnover, divide your total purchases of P250,000 by the average accounts payable of P125,000; this will give you a ratio of 2.0x. This ratio simply tells you that you pay for your purchases two times a month. To get the number of days payable outstanding, divide 30 days by the ratio 2.0 to get the average of 15 days.

What this means is that on the average, it takes about 15 days for you to pay your suppliers. With this information on hand, you can now check how many days it takes you to sell your inventory and collect all your receivables.



Ideally, the total number of days of inventory and receivables should not exceed your days payable outstanding; this way, you would receive all cash collections just in time when you are about to pay your suppliers. In this example, let us say you can convert all your inventories into cash in 12 days. This would mean that on the 12th day, you would already have the available cash to pay your suppliers and enjoy three more days before your accounts payable becomes due. You can then take advantage of this by depositing the cash in an interest-bearing bank account.

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