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Upgrading Treasury Management Processes During Expansion

For many businesses, expansion can be costly and complicated, particularly when interest rates are high. Expanding into new markets, adding employees, handling an increased number of transactions and managing more sophisticated relationships with vendors and financial institutions can all contribute to the challenge. As a business faces the prospect of taking on a large amount of debt, one solution to offsetting expenses is maintaining a consistent cash flow.

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However, sustaining cash flow levels during expansion can be complex. In the early stages of a business’ lifecycle, particularly when financial paperwork is largely limited to simple invoices and collecting checks, the basics of managing cash flow and duties related to the company’s financial health, or treasury management, may be performed as part of an owner or employee’s regular responsibilities. As the business grows, the bandwidth required to handle such work expands, meaning one person or a team might need to be dedicated to treasury management.

Additionally, modern solutions, such as digital platforms provided by financial institutions that manage electronic transactions, are available to analyze cash flow and automate certain processes, driving the efficiency that becomes exponentially more important to a business as it grows. Automation, when executed properly, can cut down on “busy work” and enable employees to focus on more impactful duties that require critical thinking and close attention. It also can foster enhanced security and accuracy as transaction volume increases.

Regardless of how an expanding business approaches treasury management processes, there are some points to keep in mind.

More Than Collections

A new business owner may not yet be a business expert, instead holding proficiency in the firm’s industry, but one lesson to learn early is that treasury management involves more than sending and receiving invoices and balancing a checkbook. Additional tasks include financial information reporting and analysis, forecasting cash flow, setting accurate budgets, managing escrow accounts, creating payment schedules to lenders and vendors, and more. Implementing digital platforms and automated systems, as well as collaborating with financial professionals, can streamline and consolidate these processes.

Communication is Key

If your payment options are expanding or shifting to a more efficient online portal, are your customers and vendors aware? Connecting with customers about changing processes is crucial to sustaining cash flow consistency. For example, while digital payments are convenient and faster to process, unless you clearly share news about their availability through your known communication channels — along with necessary actions to engage with a new platform — there are likely to be delays.

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Today’s storefront is a home page. Many prospective customers — whether they are seeking T-shirts or dental services — visit a website before stepping through the front door. With buying habits changing, expectations are for businesses to have a professional-looking website, a comfortable user interface and, certainly, an easy-to-use and secure payment portal. Digital platforms can also provide more customized and sophisticated invoices that meet unique customer needs and enable a business to showcase value. A subpar online experience, much like a drab storefront, can deter visitors before they even engage with a business’ services, regardless of their quality.

What to Ask

During an expansion, a business may be focused on “big-ticket” items, such as new equipment or new locations. Largely behind-the-scenes processes like treasury management might be an afterthought, but they are key to maintaining cash flow, building efficient and safe internal operations and succeeding with customer retention during a transition. Decision-makers must continually ask themselves what their cash flow needs are, whether they have the infrastructure to manage increased cash volumes, and whether customers are being adequately informed of upcoming changes to payment procedures.

FNB’s Treasury Management team guides businesses to those answers and has a full suite of services to create a more organized workplace.

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