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What is Cash Management?

Welcome to Learn, where we provide straightforward, easy-to-understand definitions of the payments industry.

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Cash management is the monitoring and maintaining of cash flow to ensure that a business has enough funds to function. Investments, bill payments, and unexpected liabilities can affect a business’ inflows and outflows, and in turn their cash management. In order for companies to function autonomously, they need to establish a system that maximizes liquid assets while minimizing outgoing operational and logistical costs. In other words, cash management helps companies ensure that their cash flow covers their financial obligations.

Cash management depends on a company’s cash flow, or the money that goes in and out of a business. Cash flow refers to the money movement cycle through bank accounts. It depends on the clients that are paying your business for a service or a product and the expenses that you pay to keep your business running.

Why is cash management necessary?

A business with a working cash management structure collaborates with all of its internal stakeholders—usually financial officers, treasurers, or business managers. They strategize around the cash flow statement, which is a detailed record of all inbound and outbound transactions, as well as its cash used for investments. The main objective of the cash flow statement is to display the cash that is presently available for the business to use.

Every company, regardless of size, needs to have some level of a cash management capability, as it’s a critical component of financial security. Money is often moving in and out of a business account, but it’s crucial that more comes in so the balance isn’t depleted.

Say that there’s a food delivery company called CircleM. Juan uses CircleM to place a $100 food order, but his money doesn’t just go to CircleM. The money gets split across the restaurant that Juan ordered from, the driver delivering Juan’s food, and CircleM for additional service fees. When it comes to cash management, CircleM needs a real-time understanding of whether that $100—amongst countless other food orders—made it into each respective bank account.

If CircleM has a customer base of 100,000 users, its cash management system must operate at a much higher scale. Monitoring and tracking transactions at this level is considerably more difficult. In order to guarantee that money is flowing in and out of the right accounts, CircleM needs immediate insight into their cash flow so that they can see an accurate report of their company’s money movement—and act accordingly.

What are the challenges of cash management?

When money moves at a high volume and a high scale, the complexity of managing it increases. It can be daunting for businesses to have to track hundreds of thousands of payments, at various times, using different payment types that settle at different speeds. There are a lot of moving parts and considerable room for error.

Almost 6 in 10 (58%) of senior finance decision makers say it is hard to get a complete financial view of their company with their current payment ops system.

Businesses need real-time visibility. They want to ensure that they are getting the most up-to-date picture of how the cash is moving in and out of an account, as well as who is making a certain transaction. The proper tools will take their bank statements and instantly match or reconcile them to customer payments, simplifying money movement and making cash management easier.

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