4 Cash Flow Trends To Know About in 2024 Effective cash flow management is pivotal for sustained success. What changes can businesses anticipate and leverage from these trends to improve their financial strategies and successfully adapt to the changing landscape?

By Nick Chandi

Key Takeaways

  • Here are four upcoming trends you need to know about cash flow management.
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Effectively managing cash flow is a key aspect of overseeing a business's finances, directly influencing its profitability, flexibility and overall financial well-being. This involves the continuous tracking, analysis and optimization of the money that comes in versus what goes out.

When we think about the future in 2024, it's important to realize that many businesses struggle in their early years due to difficulties in managing cash flow. Out of every five businesses in the United States, one doesn't make it through the first year — they fail. And it gets even tougher: by the second year, another two out of every ten businesses close down, and by the fifth year, three more out of every ten go out of business. This underscores the vital role of skillful cash flow management for a business to survive and thrive over the long term.

To overcome challenges and succeed in 2024, businesses should be ready to adopt new trends and technologies in managing their cash flow. Let's explore the important trends that will shape the financial landscape in the coming year.

1. Cash flow forecasting

In 2024, there is going to be a growing recognition among businesses regarding the pivotal role of cash flow forecasting, driven by the transformative impact of AI and machine learning technologies. These advanced tools empower organizations to analyze vast datasets, encompassing historical financial information, market trends, and economic indicators.

As a result, businesses can now enhance the precision of their predictions and make well-informed decisions regarding future cash flows, marking a significant shift in the approach to financial planning and strategic decision-making.

2. Financial automation

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are bringing about a significant change in automating tasks for businesses. Automation will play a crucial role in streamlining routine financial tasks, such as invoicing, expense tracking and reconciliation. Businesses can reduce errors, enhance efficiency, and strategically allocate resources by automating these processes.

For example, automating Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) processes directly impacts cash flow. With AP automation, businesses can expedite invoicing, ensuring that invoices are sent out promptly. On the AR side, automation accelerates payment receipt by efficiently tracking and managing outstanding invoices. This speed in both invoicing and payment collection shortens the cash flow cycle, positively affecting liquidity.

Moreover, AP and AR automation minimize errors in data entry and calculations. This increased accuracy reduces the need for time-consuming corrections and ensures that financial records align with actual transactions. By streamlining these financial processes, businesses gain real-time visibility into their cash position, allowing for better decision-making and proactive management of cash flow dynamics.

Related: 80% of Businesses Fail Due To a Lack of Cash. Here are 4 Reasons Why Cash Flow Forecasting Is So Important

3. Instant payment technology

The substantial impact of delayed invoices on 73% of businesses highlights the importance of timely payments. Traditional payment methods, which are both costly and time-consuming, taking 3 to 10 business days to settle, are being reevaluated. The launch of the FedNow Service in 2023 has fuelled the rapid growth of instant payments, with 331 institutions actively participating. Businesses, recognizing the importance of payment modernization, are investing in new accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) systems.

Businesses can improve their cash flow position by seamlessly integrating instant payment option. The focus on modernizing financial processes addresses the challenge of late payments and positions businesses for a more streamlined financial future.

Related: Slow Payment Options Are Costing Your Business — Here's the Alternatives of the Future

4. Outsourcing for cash flow optimization

Many small and medium-sized businesses are now seeking help from outside accounting firms for jobs like cash flow consulting and accounting. This smart move frees up their own teams from everyday tasks such as bookkeeping. Instead, they can focus on important financial planning, analysis, and taking care of customers. Surprisingly, 37% of small businesses now choose to outsource accounting and IT services. This shows a growing trend of relying on external experts for important tasks.

The money saved from not hiring and training in-house experts can be used to improve cash flow. Also, having access to special skills and advanced technologies helps make better financial plans. In the end, this way of doing things helps small businesses handle their money better, use resources wisely, and aim for more profits.

Related: 4 Crucial Signs That Your Small Business Needs Funding

The role of effective cash flow management

These trends shed light on how technology is reshaping cash flow management. Success in today's business environment hinges on the ability to stay well-informed and adaptable. Despite the ongoing changes, the importance of effective cash flow management remains paramount, offering a critical foundation for success.

Adopting innovation is key for small and medium businesses to survive in the competitive market. Those who seamlessly integrate fintech solutions into their cash flow management strategies gain a competitive edge, as these tools offer agility and responsiveness to market changes. Whether through streamlined invoicing processes or dynamic budgeting tools, the adoption of innovative financial technologies empowers businesses to optimize their resources, improve financial performance, and ultimately thrive in a dynamic and challenging business environment.

Nick Chandi

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO & Co-Founder of Forwardly

Nick Chandi is the CEO and Co-Founder of Forwardly, the first instant business payments provider for small businesses and accountants in the United States. He focuses on helping small businesses improve their cash flow with faster, cheaper payment methods.

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