When a crisis event first hits your business, an important step is to develop or revise your budget. The cash flow budget estimates the future income and expenditure of the business, revealing any periods where it may fall short of cash.
By developing cash flow projections for several months in advance, you can estimate when the business will be short of money and take appropriate steps beforehand, such as promotions or revising staff allocations. The cash flow budget is also the most commonly requested budget when seeking finance from a bank or another financier.
Irrespective of the nature and duration of the tourism emergency, it is recommended that you prepare, and continue to monitor, an emergency management cash flow budget.
Using the Cash budget template (XLS 19.5 KB) template or Cash budget template - accessible version (DOC 99.5 KB), follow these steps to prepare an emergency management cash flow budget.
Step 1: Determine the time frame
Decide on the timeframe that the emergency might have a significant impact on your cash flow. This might be a weekly, fortnight, month or longer.
Step 2: Estimate sales units
Estimate the number of customers or sales units you could expect for a weekly, fortnightly or monthly forecast period. Do this for each of your areas of income such as meals, tours, accommodation or equipment hire.
Step 3: Estimate sales income
Multiply the customers or sales units by the actual (or average) price of each unit, to give the likely sales income.
Step 4: Estimate timing of income
Calculate when this sales income will actually be paid to the business's account, taking into account any deposits, cash payments or credit card payments.
Step 5: Itemise and add expenditure
Identify and add up all the expenses that must be paid in each weekly, fortnightly or monthly forecast period. Separate the expenditure into fixed costs (those that will occur regardless of your situation) and variable costs (those that are linked to the number of sales).
Step 6: Work out surplus or deficit
Calculate the surplus or deficit for the weekly, fortnightly or monthly forecast period. If there is a deficit, consider whether it can be covered by any cash you have on hand, or by an overdraft or other credit facilities.
Step 7: Review sales units
Review the number of sales units. Is there enough time to establish marketing strategies to increase sales with special offers or add-ons? Add in any extra units you could expect to sell, and recalculate Steps 2-6.
Step 8: Review timing of sales income
Review when the sales income is likely to be received into the business. Are there any opportunities to increase income during the emergency projection period by paying incentives for cash payments, or by temporarily reducing the normal payment terms? Add in any changes to the timing of when income is to be received and recalculate Steps 4-6 above.
Step 9: Review expenditure
Look at each expense item and ask whether any expenses could be deferred, reduced or avoided altogether without impacting on your business's reputation or future sales.
The separated fixed and variable costs will make it easier to look for potential savings because the fixed costs will tend to be relatively constant amounts, paid at regular intervals irrespective of sales income, while the variable cost will be linked to the sales income for the period.
Deduct any changes to expenses and recalculate Steps 5-6 above.
Step 10: Finalise the budget
When a satisfactory and manageable result is obtained, finalise and print out the budget.
Case Study – Loch Sport Marina Hotel (Gippsland)
The Loch Sport Marina Hotel experienced a downturn after the 2006-07 bushfires in Gippsland, followed by floods in June 2007 and a blue-green algae outbreak in the summer of 2007-08.
"While business is sound and going through good times, put in place financial arrangements to help you in the case of an emergency." says Alan Hall, Loch Sport Marina Hotel. "Don't wait until the emergency has struck and then go begging to the bank for money. Set up overdrafts, etc. when your business is in a positive growth cycle. This way you'll get a much more satisfactory arrangement."