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Start-up / Scale-up: Optimizing Short-Term Cash Flow for Sustainable Growth

July 14, 2023 - Mathieu Wemaere

With Karin Maquet, Arnaud Angé, and Diego De Bruyne


Welcome to our first webinar summary focused on optimizing short-term cash flow for start-ups and scale-ups. In this session, we will delve into strategies and expert advice to help you manage your cash flow effectively, ensuring sustainable growth for your business. Our panel of experts includes Karin Maquet, a consultant specializing in start-ups and scale-ups, Arnaud Angé, a senior sales manager at Belfius with expertise in SME financing, and Diego De Bruyne, the head of business development at Recovr, a leading company in debt recovery solutions.

Importance of Cash Flow Optimization

Karin Maquet, our expert in general business consulting, emphasizes the significance of optimizing cash flow for start-ups and scale-ups. She highlights that healthy cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, especially in the early stages or during periods of rapid growth. Proper cash flow management enables companies to meet their financial obligations, seize growth opportunities, and navigate potential challenges effectively.

If you are a start-up or scale-up in Belgium, here are some tips to optimize your short-term cash flow:

👉 When connecting with a customer, make sure you have all the information you need to be able to invoice correctly.

👉 Make sure the invoice template you use is compatible with your customers’ systems in order to facilitate the processing of it.

👉 Try to understand what’s the maximum invoice amount that your customer can approve on their own to avoid validation escalation that can slow down payment process.

👉 One of the first discussion to have with your customer is to define how often you issue invoices and payment terms

👉 As soon as an invoice is due, send a payment reminder with all the necessary information, follow-up you reminder over the phone to be sure there is no payment issues.

By applying these tips, you can increase the speed of collection of trade receivables in order to optimize your short-term cash flow.

These tips are coming from from Karin Maquet’s speech during our first webinar on short-term cash flow optimization for Belgian start-ups and scale-ups.

Banking Expertise for Cash Flow Management

Arnaud Angé, our banking expert from Belfius, brings valuable insights on transaction banking and SME financing. He shares practical tips and strategies to help start-ups and scale-ups improve their cash flow. Arnaud emphasizes the importance of establishing strong relationships with financial institutions, leveraging banking products and services, and exploring financing options tailored to the specific needs of growing businesses. He talked about 3 options provided by banks: Cash credit, Straight Loan and Factoring.

Here’s what you need to know about them:

🏦 The cash credit

This facility allows you to have an overdraft on your account, enabling you to temporarily go negative up to a negotiated maximum limit with your banker. The credit line depends on the relationship you have with your banker, your financial health and the guarantees you can provide. Interest is calculated on the daily debited amount and accrues until you return to a positive balance.

Cash Credit offers great flexibility but can be relatively more expensive.

💸 The Straight Loan

This is a fixed cash advance negotiated with your banker, which you can utilize within a specified period, at maturity of the straight loan it must be repaid or renewed.

Generally, Straight Loans are less expensive than a cash credit due to lower interest rates. However, this option is less flexible as interest is calculated based on the fixed amount advanced, regardless of whether you utilize the entire sum. Straight Loan also requires guarantees.

🧾 Factoring

Factoring involves selling your outstanding invoices to a third party (factor) who advances a portion of the invoice amount and then collects payment from your customers.

Factoring can help you improve your cash flow by reducing the time it takes to be paid by your customers.

This solution is more aligned with your needs as it depends on the invoiced volume to your customers. However, it can be comparatively more expensive than other solutions due to the additional costs associated with related services, and typically involves an integration process.

Efficient Debt Recovery Techniques

Diego De Bruyne, the expert in invoicing process and debt recovery solutions, sheds light on the crucial aspect of recouping outstanding payments. He highlights how unrecovered debts can significantly impact a company’s cash flow and overall financial health. Diego provides guidance on implementing effective debt collection strategies, leveraging technology solutions, and streamlining the recovery process to minimize cash flow disruptions and maintain a healthy financial position.

Did you know that many Belgian companies tend to overlook the importance of invoice follow-up and collection? Unfortunately, it’s common for businesses to invest in a proper invoicing process only when they face payment difficulties or encounter unpaid invoices. However, neglecting this crucial aspect can have dire consequences, such as bankruptcy.

In fact, a staggering 33% of bankruptcies among SMEs in Belgium can be directly attributed to poor invoice management. This statistic highlights the urgent need for businesses to prioritize efficient and proactive invoicing practices.

👉 A good invoicing process until collection is crucial, especially in these uncertain economic times.

👉 In 2021, late payments were the norm for more than half of the invoices in Belgium.

👉 The digitization of the invoicing process is rapidly becoming the new standard. Are you aware that electronic invoicing has been made mandatory for all public contracts in Belgium since May 1st?

Other best practices to optimize cash flow:

👉 By streamlining your invoicing process, you can minimize late payments and avoid expensive recovery procedures.

👉 Use tools like Recovr, which track invoices and legal steps if needed.

👉 Set up a good invoice tracking process from the beginning, to avoid unpaid invoices.

👉 Use banking products such as credit insurance to protect the business from unpaid invoices.

💡 In summary, invoicing is good, getting paid is even better!


Optimizing short-term cash flow is a critical factor in driving sustainable growth for start-ups and scale-ups. By following the advice shared by our panel of experts, businesses can enhance their cash flow management practices, forge strong relationships with financial institutions, and implement efficient debt recovery techniques. Remember, a robust cash flow management strategy is essential for building a solid foundation and ensuring long-term success in today’s competitive business landscape.

Watch the full webinar (in French) here: