The Statement of Cash Flows
This section exposes you to one of the four major financial statements, the "Statement of Cash Flows". It explains how to create and interpret the statement and discusses the three major activities that produce cash for a firm – operating, investing, and financing.
Having positive and large cash flow is a good sign for any business, though does not by itself mean the business will be successful.
Explain the importance of the Cash Flow Statement
List the components of the Cash Flow Statement.
- The three types of cash flow are cash from from operations, investing, and financing.
- Having positive cash flows is important because it means that the company has at least some liquidity and may be solvent.
- A positive cash flow does not guarantee that the company can pay all of its bills, just as a negative cash flow does not mean that it will miss its payments.
- When preparing the statement of cash flows, analysts must focus on changes in account balances on the balance sheet.
- Cash flows from operating activities are essential to helping analysts assess the company's ability to meet ongoing funding requirements, contribute to long-term projects and pay a dividend.
- Analysis of cash flow from investing activities focuses on ratios when assessing a company's ability to meet future expansion requirements.
- The free cash flow is useful when analysts want to see how much cash can be extracted from a company without causing issues to its day to day operations.
- free cash flow
net income plus depreciation and amortization, less changes in working capital, less capital expenditure
- cash flow
The sum of cash revenues and expenditures over a period of time.
What is a Cash Flow Statement?
In financial accounting, a cash flow statement (also known as statement of cash flows or funds flow statement) is a financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents. The cash flow statement, as the name suggests, provides a picture of how much cash is flowing in and out of the business during the fiscal year.
The cash flow is widely believed to be the most important of the three financial statements because it is useful in determining whether a company will be able to pay its bills and make the necessary investments. A company may look really great based on the balance sheet and income statement, but if it doesn't have enough cash to pay its suppliers, creditors, and employees, it will go out of business. A positive cash flow means that more cash is coming into the company than going out, and a negative cash flow means the opposite.
Relationship to Other Financial Statements
When preparing the cash flow statement, one must analyze the balance sheet and income statement for the coinciding period. If the accrual basis of accounting is being utilized, accounts must be examined for their cash components. Analysts must focus on changes in account balances on the balance sheet. General rules for this process are as follows.
- Transactions that result in an increase in assets will always result in a decrease in cash flow.
- Transactions that result in a decrease in assets will always result in an increase in cash flow.
- Transactions that result in an increase in liabilities will always result in an increase in cash flow.
- Transactions that result in a decrease in liabilities will always result in a decrease in cash flow
An analyst looking at the cash flow statement will first care about whether the company has a net positive cash flow. Having a positive cash flow is important because it means that the company has at least some liquidity and may be solvent.
Regardless of whether the net cash flow is positive or negative, an analyst will want to know where the cash is coming from or going to . The three types of cash flows (operating, investing, and financing) will all be broken down into their various components and then summed. The company may have a positive cash flow from operations, but a negative cash flow from investing and financing. This sheds important insight into how the company is making or losing money.
|Company A||Company B|
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Cash flow tom operations||+20M||+21M||+22M||+10M||+11M||+12m|
|Cash flow tom financing||+5PA||+5M||+5M||+5M||+5M||+5M|
|Cash flow tom investment||-15M||-15M||-15M||0M||0M||0M|
|Net cash flow||+10M||+1IM||+I2M||+15M||+16M||+17M|
Cash Flow Comparison: Company B has a higher yearly cash flow. However, Company A is actually earning more cash by its core activities and has already spent 45 million dollars in long-term investments, of which revenues will show up after three years.
The analyst will continue breaking down the cash flow statement in this manner, diving deeper and deeper into the specific factors that affect the cash flow. For example, cash flows from operating activities provide feedback on a company's ability to generate income from internal sources. Thus, these cash flows are essential to helping analysts assess the company's ability to meet ongoing funding requirements, contribute to long-term projects and pay a dividend.
Analysis of cash flow from investing activities focuses on ratios when assessing a company's ability to meet future expansion requirements. One such ratio is that for capital acquisitions:
Capital Acquisitions Ratio = cash flow from operating activities / cash paid for property, plant and equipment
This sphere of cash flows also can be used to assess how much cash is available after meeting direct shareholder obligations and capital expenditures necessary to maintain existing capacity.
Free Cash Flows
Free cash flow is a way of looking at a business's cash flow to see what is available for distribution among all the securities holders of a corporate entity. This may be useful when analysts want to see how much cash can be extracted from a company without causing issues to its day to day operations.
The free cash flow can be calculated in a number of different ways depending on audience and what accounting information is available. A common definition is to take the earnings before interest and taxes, add any depreciation and amortization, then subtract any changes in working capital and capital expenditure.
The free cash flow takes into account the consumption of capital goods and the increases required in working capital. For example in a growing company with a 30 day collection period for receivables, a 30 day payment period for purchases, and a weekly payroll, it will require more and more working capital to finance its operations because of the time lag for receivables even though the total profits has increased.
Free cash flow measures the ease with which businesses can grow and pay dividends to shareholders. Even profitable businesses may have negative cash flows. Their requirement for increased financing will result in increased financing cost reducing future income.