What Is Cash Float?

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Cash float refers to the discrepancy between the cash balances reported in a business's accounting records and the amount of cash the business actually has available in its bank accounts. Properly managing cash float is crucial for companies to ensure smooth operations, maintain proper cash flow, and have access to readily available funds when needed.

Types of Cash Float

There are a few common situations that create cash float:

Check Processing Delays

One major source of cash float stems from delays in check processing. When a customer writes a check, the funds show as available in their accounting records. However, there is typically a lag of a few days before the checks are cashed and cleared from the payer's bank account. During this float period, the business may show more cash than it actually has on hand.

Retail Register Cash Floats

In retail and restaurant businesses, the term "cash float" can refer to the amount of physical cash kept in registers for making change for customers. This is not technically a discrepancy, as the cash is physically there, just allocated for change-making rather than general spending. The float represents the starting amount, not accounting for any cash received from sales.

Customer Money Transfer Delays

Enterprise businesses that handle money transfers on behalf of customers can also experience cash float. Money coming in from customers may sit in the company's intermediary accounts for a few days before being transferred to its final destination. During that brief period, the funds are shown as assets on the company's books before being sent out.

Factors Influencing Cash Float

The duration of cash float periods depends primarily on two variables: processing delays and transportation issues.

Check Processing Delays

Banks process batches of checks at scheduled times, leading to backlogs after weekends or holidays. More checks are also processed earlier in the week, especially on Tuesdays. In addition, the volume of checks increases dramatically in the peak December holiday season.

Transportation Issues

Winter weather can readily delay mail service and the physical transit of checks from one location to the next. This transportation float exacerbates other processing delays.

Managing Cash Float

While some cash float is inevitable, prudent financial management can mitigate risk:

Precise Cash Flow Tracking

Meticulously documenting every incoming and outgoing cash transaction, and when each change occurs, keeps accounting records accurate. Without proper tracking, discrepancies can lead to overdrafts or other cash flow issues.

Reconciliation Calculations

When reconciling accounting books, businesses should calculate the current cash float and factor it into projections. The formula is: Float = Total Bank Balances - Cash Balance in Books. This reveals upcoming liabilities.

Monitor Payables/Receivables

Watching Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable helps businesses identify which obligations are still outstanding or pending. This knowledge aids in preventing potential misalignments between accounting records and bank balances.

Impacts of Cash Float

When handled properly, routine cash float should not detrimentally impact operations:

Ensure Liquidity

While funds may technically be "in transit", analysis of historical ratios and durations can give insight into a business’ true accessible liquidity levels at any given point.

Prevent Cash Flow Issues

By keeping precise accounting records, tying out the balance sheet frequently, and tracking cash commitments, businesses can avoid unexpected shortages or gaps between outflows and inflows.

Enable Stability

Overall, managing standard cash float profiles and abnormalities allows companies to calibrate their financial planning, budgets, and growth strategies for stability.

Conclusion

In summary, cash float is an inevitable result of delays in the payments processing cycle. But skilled accounting practices can render its impacts minimal through reconciliation controls and analysis of past trends. With mature cash float management, enterprises can focus less on rectifying account balances, and more on sustaining operations. The business banking process always involves some float, but sound data tracking renders it a peripheral financial factor.


Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-depository insured institution. Likewise, Meow Technologies is not an investment adviser and none of the information presented herein should be relied upon as financial advice or a recommendation to make any financial decision nor should it be considered to be tax or legal advice. The information is the opinion of Meow Technologies for educational purposes and may not be suitable for all companies. Products, like the one described herein, are offered through Meow Technologies and are not advisory services which are only offered through Meow Advisory, LLC.** The FDICs deposit insurance coverage only protects against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank.**

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**Disclaimer: Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a depository, bank or credit union, and your account at Meow is not, itself, an FDIC-insured product.

Meow currently partners with three banking providers. Banking services are provided by Third Coast Bank SSB; Member FDIC, Grasshopper Bank, N.A; Member FDIC, and FirstBank, a Tennessee corporation; Member FDIC.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by Grasshopper Bank, N.A, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at Grasshopper Bank, N.A. which sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”)-insured banks, for up to the current standard maximum deposit insurance amount (“SMDIA”) of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per destination institution, for each ownership capacity or category, subject to applicable terms and conditions, including Grasshopper's ICS Deposit Placement Agreement. Grasshopper Bank, N.A. uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit https://www.intrafi.com/network-banks/ for a list of the banks and savings associations with which we/Grasshopper, N.A. have a business relationship for the placement of deposits at destination institutions, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by Grasshopper, N.A. or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $125 million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of Grasshopper Bank, N.A, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and restrictions and refer to the applicable rate sheets for additional information.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by Third Coast Bank SSB, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at Third Coast Bank SSB. If you also hold funds in a sweep program with Third Coast Bank SSB, Third Coast Bank SSB sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of FDIC-insured banks, for up to the current SMDIA of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per receiving bank, for each ownership capacity or category, including any other balances you may hold at that receiving bank directly or indirectly through other intermediaries, including broker-dealers. Third Coast Bank SSB uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit Third Coast Bank SSB for a list of the banks and savings associations with which we/Third Coast Bank SSB have a business relationship for the placement of deposits at receiving banks, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by Third Coast Bank or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $50 Million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of Third Coast Bank, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and conditions and refer to the applicable rate sheet for additional information.

By opening a Maximum Checking account through Meow and if you choose to receive banking services provided by FirstBank, a Tennessee corporation, you deposit your funds into a deposit account at FirstBank, which sweeps those funds into deposit accounts across a network of FDIC-insured banks, for up to the current SMDIA of $250,000 per eligible depositor, per destination institution, for each ownership capacity or category, subject to applicable terms and conditions, including FirstBank's ICS Deposit Placement Agreement. FirstBank uses a third-party vendor and agent to help administer this sweep process. Visit IntraFi for a list of the banks and savings associations with which FirstBank has a business relationship for the placement of deposits at destination institutions, and into which your deposits may be placed (subject to applicable terms with you, and any opt-outs by FirstBank or you). The current maximum deposit insurance amount for your funds is up to $125 million in FDIC insurance through the sweep network of FirstBank, subject to change at any time with notice from Meow and/or pursuant to applicable law. Terms and restrictions apply. Subject to applicable rate sheet. Interest rate on checking products quoted in Annual Percentage Yield (APY). Interest rates and yields are effective as per the date on the applicable rate sheet. See applicable terms and restrictions and refer to the applicable rate sheet for additional information.

***FDIC insurance coverage is only available to protect you against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank that holds your deposits (and does not protect you against the failure of Meow or other third party). Your account with Meow and all services provided to you are subject to the Meow Terms of Service (“Account Agreements”) and other applicable terms and no other representations or warranties, express or implied, are provided to you except as expressly set forth in those written Account Agreements. If you have any questions regarding your account, please contact team@meow.com.

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FirstBanks general policy is to allow you to withdraw funds deposited in your account on the first business day after the day we receive your deposit. Funds from electronic deposits will be available on the day we receive the deposit. In some cases, we may delay your ability to withdraw funds beyond the first business day. Then, the funds will generally be available by the SECOND business day after the day of deposit.