Top Ten Tips for Improving Your Cash Flow

Cash is king-so they say. If you work for yourself or someone else, you need to be aware of ways to improve the cash flow. Budgeting and collecting are not glamorous but they are both key to having a successful business. Working in a successful business is much more fun than working for a struggling one!

1. Stick to your budget. (If you don't have one, make one now.) The budget is part of a business plan. You want to know exactly how much to spend on each large item you purchase and when you will have the cash to do it. Your cash flow projection coupled with your forecast will give you the proper timing for making purchases. The items you have budgeted for should also be part of the business plan.

2. Bill your clients regularly. Many business owners are so busy selling to new clients that they forget to invoice the clients they have already worked with. Put the task of billing your clients on your calendar and then stick to that schedule.

3. Get a retainer for your services before you begin the work. If you are going to be working with a client over a period of time, you will want to request some money up front before you begin to deliver the service.

4. Give a discount for early payment. You will be able to collect the money more quickly if you offer a discount for prompt payment.

5. Accept a credit card for payment. Although you have to pay the credit card company for this service, having the convenience of a credit card allows the client to pay immediately. Collection is now the problem of the credit card company.

6. Use your own credit card to finance purchases but do it cautiously. If the interest rate is low and you can pay the credit card company back relatively quickly, credit cards are often a good way to even out your cash flow.

7. Establish a line of credit with a bank. This is relatively easy to do so long as you have good credit and it gives you a cushion of cash when things are tight. Sometimes the bank will offer a really good rate to encourage you to become their customer for other banking services.

8. Put the cash that you have on hand in an interest bearing account. No reason to have cash sitting in an account that doesn't accrue much interest. As cash grows consider money market accounts, CDs and savings accounts.

9. Pay your outstanding bills judiciously. Notice which vendors are willing to wait for payment and which will charge you interest if you are late. Schedule payment to maximize the cash in your account.

10. Consider getting an expert to watch your cash flow. Have someone (financial advisor, accountant, bookkeeper) available to run financial reports each month so you know exactly where you stand in your business.

Alvah Parker is a Business and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker's Value Program enables her clients to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. Her clients are managers, business owners, sole practioners, attorneys and people in transition. Alvah is found on the web at"> She may also be reached at 781-598-0388.


Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including reaction to the Commons voting to try to take control of the Brexit process

Steve Brine, who resigned as a health minister last night to vote for the Letwin amendment, told the Today programme this morning that he thought the prospect of the Commons taking control of the Brexit process could persuade some Tory Brexiters to back Theresa May’s deal. He explained:

Maybe what last night will do is focus some minds ... Those on my side who don’t like the deal, maybe they will realise that the House of Commons is prepared to act. And, anything from here, as far as they are concerned, gets softer in terms of Brexit.

On the Today programme this morning Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Commons Brexit committee and a supporter of the Letwin amendment passed last night, said that he thought the indicative votes debate tomorrow would have to be followed by another next Monday. He explained:

The first time round it will just be ‘here are the propositions’ and you vote for as many as you would like. And then we will see the results from Wednesday night.

The motion that we will move tomorrow suggests that we go through a similar process next Monday.

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Ashby and Steve Dickson say they had been drinking scotch for three or four hours when recorded by undercover al-Jazeera reporter

Senior One Nation figures James Ashby and Steve Dickson claim they had been “on the sauce” drinking scotch for “three or four hours” when discussing seeking a $20m donation from the National Rifle Association to the far-right Australian party.

Ashby and Dickson faced the media on Tuesday after an al-Jazeera investigation revealed the two men had sought millions in donations from the NRA during a trip to the US last year, in a bid to seize the balance of power and weaken Australia’s gun laws.

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In the second city of Maracaibo, the crippling blackout sparked a terrifying rampage that police seemed unable to control

Some liken the damage wrought on Venezuela’s second city to a natural disaster. Others suspect Satanic intervention.

El demonio,” says Betty Méndez, a local shopkeeper, by way of explanation for the wave of looting and unrest that convulsed Maracaibo earlier this month.

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Drab studio backdrops are out and slick new graphics are in as KCTV goes hi-tech

While the substance may be predictable, North Korea’s state-run broadcaster is undergoing a style makeover, as it attempts to project a more modern image befitting a country whose leader has held nuclear talks – and on equal terms – with the US president.

Changes in the way Korean Central Television (KCTV) is covering the news were in evidence last Thursday, when its main evening news bulletin had a decidedly more contemporary look.

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Editorial board says Vatican tried to discredit them after they denounced abuse of nuns

The founder and all-female editorial board of the Vatican’s women’s magazine have quit after what they say was a Vatican campaign to discredit them and put them “under the direct control of men” that only increased after they denounced the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy.

The editorial committee of Women Church World, a monthly glossy published alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, made the announcement in the planned 1 April editorial and in an open letter to Pope Francis that was provided on Tuesday to the Associated Press.

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House committee chairs call on attorney general William Barr to send them full Mueller report by 2 April

As Donald Trump declared victory following the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Democrats showed no signs of backing down from the numerous legal questions encircling the president and his associates.

The completion of the highly anticipated Mueller report prompted an intense debate in Washington over how to proceed as Democrats said a summary of its findings by the attorney general, William Barr, “raises as many questions as it answers”, even though it probably laid the issue of collusion with Russia firmly to rest.

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Exclusive: chair of Elders group also says fossil fuel firms have lost their social licence

The denial of climate change is not just ignorant, but “malign and evil”, according to Mary Robinson, because it denies the human rights of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

The former UN high commissioner for human rights and special envoy for climate change also says fossil fuel companies have lost their social licence to explore for more coal, oil and gas and must switch to become part of the transition to clean energy.

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Avenatti charged with attempting to extort millions from Nike, and also charged with wire and bank fraud in separate case

Michael Avenatti, the high-profile Californian lawyer who represented the pornographic film star Stormy Daniels, has been charged with trying to extort more than $20m from the sports company Nike.

Avenatti, a prominent critic of Donald Trump, threatened to release damaging information about Nike unless it paid him off, according to a criminal complaint filed by federal authorities in New York.

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Scientists say research will help predict how glaciers’ melting will affect oceans

Australian researchers have discovered huge underwater lakes beneath the largest glacier in east Antarctica.

The lakes were detected by scientists setting off small explosives 2m below the surface of the Totten glacier and listening to the reflected sound.

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It could take up to four months to finish cleaning up the spill from the MV Trader

Ocean currents have carried oil leaking from a shipwreck on the Solomon Islands away from a nearby world heritage site as authorities continue a clean-up operation that is expected to take months.

Cleaning up after the bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader, which ran aground on a coral reef in early February and released 80 tonnes of oil, is expected to take up to four months.

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Space agency blames shortage of outerwear after first-of-its-kind mission falls through

Nasa’s plans for an all-female spacewalk have fallen through – at least in part because the agency doesn’t have enough spacesuits that fit the astronauts.

Early this month, Nasa announced that Christina Koch and Anne McClain would take part in the first-of-its kind mission on 29 March, walking outside the international space station (ISS) to install new batteries. In the past, missions have been all-male or male-female.

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The flamingo population of India’s largest city has tripled. Is it thanks to sewage boosting the blue-green algae they feed on?

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A chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” breaks out as we spot the visions in pink we came to see – hundreds of flamingos listlessly bobbing in the murky green water – followed by the furious clicking of cameras.

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A recent protest by street vendors was met with a violent crackdown – but was their eviction necessary to ‘order’ the city’s public space?

An unsettling quiet has fallen over a stretch of the usually noisy Feria de San Telmo Sunday market. Artisans should be lining these cobbled streets selling intricate macrame jewellery and Argentinian leather purses to crowds of tourists from all over the world. Deafening percussion bands, accompanied by dancers, and street vendors selling empanadas and arepas should be making their way up the road.

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Government invades modern-day gold-rush town in Amazon in its biggest ever raid on illegal gold mining

Located along a jungle highway in the Amazon around 60 miles from the nearest city, La Pampa was a place you entered at your own risk. At night it was a riot of neon lights and pulsating cumbía music from “prostibar” brothels, frequented by roaming groups of men flush with cash. Neither authorities nor outsiders – and particularly not journalists – were welcome.

This modern-day gold-rush town, home to about 25,000 people, was both a hub for organised crime and people trafficking and a gateway into a treeless, lunar landscape pocked with toxic pools created by illegal gold mining, stretching far into one of the Amazon’s most treasured reserves.

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Fascinating interactive graphic shows changes in the globe’s 10 most populous cities from 1500 to 2018

This compelling interactive “bar chart race” shows the top 10 most populous cities in the world from 1500 to 2018.

“In the early 1500s most people lived in the east, either the east of Europe and north Africa or the east of the world itself in India and China,” says John Burn-Murdoch, who created the interactive for the Financial Times.

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As the civil war enters its fifth year, activists talk about their work to hold Yemen together

Yemen is marking a grim anniversary this week: it has been four years since a western-backed military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in its civil war, a move which has led to the deaths of at least 60,000 people and caused the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

As the conflict enters its fifth year, diplomats are struggling to rescue a three-month-old ceasefire which has been threatened by heavy fighting in the cities of Hodeidah and Taiz between rebel Houthis and forces loyal to Yemen’s government. At the start of the rainy season, the UN has warned of a sharp spike in cholera cases.

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Man held under Mental Health Act for damage at five mosques, which are not linked to latest attack

The Birmingham mosque attacks are not being treated as acts of far-right extremism or terrorism, police have said.

There have been at least six attacks on Birmingham mosques in recent weeks.

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Amid the despair and the trauma in the region, Islamic State will create a fresh narrative and spread further afield

United States-backed fighters retook the final enclave of the Islamic State “caliphate” on Saturday in Baghuz, eastern Syria. With thick beards and wearing kaftans, Isis militants continued to emerge from underground tunnels over the weekend, surrendering to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Unlike Donald Trump, who has already announced the downfall or imminent destruction of Islamic State many times, the SDF spokesman carefully described the “100% territorial defeat of Isis”. Certainly, this turn of events will force a step change for Isis, but it is one that it is prepared for.

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Curators at Paris exhibition tracked down names of models used by likes of Manet, Picasso and Cézanne

French art masterpieces have been renamed after their long-overlooked black subjects in a ground-breaking new Paris show on the representation of people of colour in art.

Edouard Manet’s Olympia, the scandalous painting of a naked reclining prostitute that marks the birth of modern art, has been renamed Laure after the woman who posed as her black maid.

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The fourth annual Bombay Beach Biennale took place last weekend on the shores of the Salton Sea in California. Artists and performers donated their time and talent to this volunteer-led event that transformed the town into a fully immersive artistic experience for 72 hours.

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Penny Sharpe, who has taken over from Michael Daley, says gun laws ‘must not be watered down’

The interim leader of the New South Wales Labor party has said she would support a ban on donations from the firearms lobby following revelations One Nation sought millions of dollars in donations from the US gun group the National Rifle Association.

On Tuesday, Penny Sharpe, who took over after the former leader Michael Daley stood aside, told Guardian Australia she would support an extension of existing bans on developers and the liquor and gaming industries to include gun groups.

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Stark differences revealed in five-year survival rates between rich and low- and middle-income countries

Figures reveal a striking disparity in five-year cancer survival rates for children in developing nations compared with those from rich countries.

More than 80% of children diagnosed with the disease in high-income states will live for more than five years, yet fewer than 30% of young people with cancer in low- and middle-income nations have the same chance of survival, research has shown.

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Inadequate sewage systems have led to contaminated water, with 18 million people lacking access to basic sanitation

Yemen is seeing a sharp spike in the number of suspected cholera cases this year, as well as increased displacement, the UN said.

Nearly 110,000 cases have been reported, with 190 deaths in the country, which has been at war for four years this month. Almost a third of the 108,889 cases, reported between 1 January and 17 March, were children under five.

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Report into police response in England and Wales found failure to handle cases sensitively hinders prosecution of traffickers

Categoric police failings are hindering the prosecution of human traffickers and barring victims of modern slavery from the support they are legally entitled to, according to a new super-complaint to the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

The super-complaint – the first on modern slavery – has been submitted by London-based charity Hestia. It outlines how some police officers are not reporting cases of modern slavery to the Home Office and that a failure to sensitively handle cases of modern slavery is discouraging victims across England and Wales from supporting criminal investigations against their exploiters. The super-complaint system allows organisations to raise concerns on behalf of the public and confront fundamental issues.

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As a funding appeal languishes, conflict, poverty and the worst drought for a decade have left millions facing desperate hunger

Shafiqa watches closely over her six-month-old niece. Lying on a bundle of fabric, Maryam’s legs jut out, thin and pale. When they arrived at hospital two weeks ago, she could hardly breathe. Her body was swollen with malnutrition, her lips and fingers were blue.

There are 24 children being treated at Mofleh paediatric hospital’s malnutrition ward, on the outskirts of Herat city, western Afghanistan. Mothers and aunts lean next to hospital beds, some rocking tiny babies back and forth.

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People rescued by boat are arriving at Beira in hope of first aid, shelter and reunion with their families

Standing in the fishing port in Beira, Mozambique, Jose Mala scans the faces of those evacuated by boat from Buzi , one of the towns hardest hit by Cyclone Idai, searching for anyone he knows.

He had hopeful news the day before. He met a neighbour at the port who told him his sister and two nephews had survived the cyclone that destroyed large parts of their home town.

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What’s revealed by the attorney general’s summary of the Trump-Russia investigation? And will the report be made public?

William Barr: Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.

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A professor at an elite US school says an influx of unskilled and entitled students is monopolizing faculty time: ‘They will eat you alive’

  • If you have an experience or story tip on this topic to share with the Guardian, contact

If you think corruption in elite US college admissions is bad, what happens once those students are in the classroom is even worse.

I know, because I teach at an elite American university – one of the oldest and best-known, which rejects about 90% of applicants each year for the small number of places it can offer to undergraduates.

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William Barr released a summary of the long-awaited report into allegations the Trump campaign colluded with Russia

The US Attorney general William Barr released a summary on Sunday of special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report into allegations that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Here are the main findings of the two-year investigation that the president regularly denounced as a witch hunt, before claiming vindication upon its completion:

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The militant wing of the French protests picked on a beloved institution. So I set up a crowdfunder to help

In 47 years of journalism, few things have shocked me as deeply as the sight of burning newspaper kiosks on the Champs-Élysées.

Journalists are supposed to be neutral observers – impassioned but dispassionate. Forget all that. This was personal. This was an attack on the print newspapers that had been my life’s blood from the day I joined the Bolton Evening News in 1972 until the Independent stopped printing in 2016. This was an attack on something endearingly Parisian, something as instantly recognisable as the Eiffel Tower or the burned-rubber smell of the Métro.

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Donald Trump has complained of a 'false narrative' promoted by people who have done 'evil ... treasonous things' after the completion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into allegations of collusion with Russia. US attorney general William Barr's summary, released on Sunday, said the report had not established that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. 'We can never let this happen to another president again,' the US president said, promising to 'look into' those people

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New footage has emerged from the Viking Sky rescue that took place on Saturday that shows passengers being airlifted to safety as huge waves toss the ship around. 

A camera mounted on a rescue worker's helmet captured the moment passengers were hoisted one by one from the cruise ship to a helicopter. The evacuations took place in extremely difficult conditions. Norwegian media reported gusts of up to 38 knots (43 mph) and waves over eight metres (26ft) in an area known for its rough, frigid waters. Twenty people were treated for injuries including broken bones, cuts and bruises, rescuers said.

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Chairman of the US house of representatives judiciary committee, Jerrold Nadler, tells a news conference on Sunday that his committee plans to call on attorney general William Barr to answer questions about Robert Mueller's Russia report.

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Donald Trump is claiming 'complete and total exoneration' following the release of a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into collusion with Russia. The president spoke before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington from Florida on Sunday afternoon. The Justice Department said that Mueller's investigation did not find evidence that Trump's campaign 'conspired or coordinated' with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice, but did not come to a definitive answer

Richard Wolffe: No collusion, plenty of corruption. Trump is not in the clear

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Video from a passenger on board the stranded Viking Sky off the Norwegian coast shows chairs and other furniture sliding dangerously across the floor. About 1,300 passengers were having to be rescued by helicopter after the ship lost power

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Official figures put the numbers at the people's vote Brexit march on Saturday at over 1 million. People from across the UK travelled to central London to demand a second vote on whether the UK should leave the EU

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