Using a 13-Week Cash Flow Forecast in Uncertain Times

By Jennifer Mailhes, CPA, Managing Director

Business disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, or economic uncertainty can happen at any given moment, and a concern that often arises for business owners is how to continue to properly manage their cash flow during uncertain times. 

When a company is experiencing a period of uncertainty, it should consider using a 13-week cash flow forecast as a helpful tool. It can be used to help determine where to cut costs, develop ways to plan around challenges, help understand the impact of delayed collections and continued costs, and much more. It also provides business owners with a tool to modify their plans as things change. 

Additionally, this type of planning gives your lenders confidence in your ability to plan and manage through a situation with a great deal of uncertainty. Typically, in times of covenant violations or default, lenders will require a 13-week cash flow, at least a two-year forecast, and additional reporting driven by the business and current situation. By sharing this information proactively with your lenders (although not yet in default), it not only helps build your relationship, but also demonstrates that your management team can handle it. 

A 13-week cash flow forecast also gives you the ability to make more informed decisions about when and how to make changes. For example, if you see that in eight weeks cash is constrained, you will want to make adjustments now, so that those changes will have time to make an impact on your cash flow. Or you may want to see if you can complete and bill a project or deliver products sooner, so it can be billed and collected. 

To help you get started, here’s an example of a 13-week cash flow forecast we often use with clients. However, it’s important that you work with your advisor in developing this model to evaluate how current economic factors may impact your forecast. 


Our cross-disciplined team of business advisors and tax professionals specialize in working closely with business owners to develop a 13-week cash flow forecast to help them make more informed decisions on next steps to take during challenging times like these. To learn more or obtain assistance, contact us today. 

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