If you’re an SME, managing cash flow with Christmas just around the corner can be one of the many things that take up much of your already busy working day.

You might find yourself in need of a little extra help covering costs during the Christmas break as many of your customers may close down for the festive period and therefore not pay invoices as promptly as usual. There are various options open to you, including alternative finance, and if you haven’t seen it, we talk in detail about the importance of cash flow in our blog – Cash Is King

Depending on the type of business you run, your year end could be extremely quiet or ridiculously busy, but regardless of which camp your main business falls into, for your finance and credit control department it’s always the busiest time of the year as the chase for payments intensifies.

The festive period might also mark the end of the financial year for some of your customers and this may well affect their ability to pay invoices as they are likely to want to keep hold of as much of their own cash as possible before their accounts are finalised and submitted.

If you only do your invoicing once a month or once a week you may want to consider doing this more often in the run up to Christmas, if that is feasible; and if you have a good relationship with your customers let them know how you are looking to manage your cash as the year end approaches – a personal approach can make them more likely to pay you when you ask them to.

The easier you make it for customers to pay you, the more likely you are to get paid.  Encourage as many different payments methods as possible.

Here’s how some of our customers manage their cash flow during the festive season: 

We invoice a couple of weeks earlier than we normally do in the run up to Christmas.  We then chase payments with a Christmas message and payment request email.  The Christmas message sometimes encourages payment!

I contact key customers to ask when their last BACS run before Christmas is going to be and ensure my invoices are submitted in plenty of time.

Threaten to smother them in brussells sprouts if they don’t pay up!