Cash flow involves expected inflows, expected outflows and the carry cost/cost of delay.
1. Cash inflows: There are three primary considerations to manage and monitor:
• Compliance on all items that ensure you get paid.
• Agreed-upon timing. For instance, if you get paid 30 days after you submit your milestone report, then have your internal plan to ensure you submit that report on time.
• Do not spend the expected cash before you receive it. Any expected use of these funds not related to the project should not be approved until you have received the cash.
2. Cash outflows: Project-related cash outflows should be timed as much as possible to correlate with related cash inflows. Try to maximize project “self-funding.” Also, do your best to ensure the agreements you make on the outflow side have easily cancellability with the least amount of committed cash.
3. Carry cost: This is a fancy way of saying the cost of delay. On certain projects, you have to tee up teams or hold raw materials. Delays usually mean additional storage fees, paying for idle time or, even worse, the resource not being available when you need it. Try to have delay costs covered by your client where possible.