MASTERCLASS Investment – What is Cash Flow?

MASTERCLASS Investment – What is Cash Flow?

MASTERCLASS Investment – What is Cash Flow?


In our Masterclass we look at what is cash flow and the Cashflow Statement and why it is as important as the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet.

What it is:

Cash flow looks at the ACTUAL CASH and is essential to the solvency of a business. It is a record of what has happened in the past, like inflow such as the sale of a particular product, what was spent and on what in three key areas – Operations, Investing or Financing.  It shows what a business  took in and spent. It can also be projected into the future to predict what is coming and where cash will be short. Cash flow is crucial to managing business survival. Having adequate cash on hand will ensure that suppliers/creditors, employees and others are paid on time. When a business or person does not have enough cash to support its operations, it is said to be insolvent, and a possible candidate for bankruptcy if the insolvency continues, depending on the circumstances.
The Cash Flow statement of a business’s cash flows can be used to gauge financial performance. Companies with ample cash on hand are able to invest the cash back into the business in order to generate more cash and profit.

Cash inflows usually arise from one of three activities – Operations, Investing and Financing, (as well as a result of donations or gifts in the case of personal finance.

Cash outflows are for expenses or investments in assets (both business and personal finance) in the same three activities.

Examples of cash transactions are sales paid into the bank, expenses paid from the bank or purchasing inventory, loans of actual money into the bank, loan instalment payments, prepayment of interest or insurance premiums. NON-cash transactions that will NOT be on the Cash Flow Statement are increase in asset value, depreciation, invoicing with payment terms 30 days, placing an order for stock to pay in 45 days.
The statement is calculated by adding noncash charges (such as depreciation) to net income after taxes. Cash flow can be reported for a specific project, or for the business as a whole. Cash flow is an indication of a company’s financial strength.

The areas of the statement are –

1. Operating activities Reports the received and paid parts from the income statement   (no invoices outstanding to be paid or to pay)
2. Investing activities Reports the cash-paid purchase and sale of long-term investments   and property, plant and equipment
3. Financing activities Reports loans taken and re-payments on loans, as well as the   issuance and repurchase of the company’s own bonds and stock and the payment   of dividends
4. Supplemental information Reports the cash of significant items and reports the amount of   income taxes paid and interest paid. Although these are sometimes included in   the Operating area above.

What it Means:

Because the Income Statement or Profit & Loss Statement reports under the accrual basis of accounting, the sales/revenues reported may not have been collected yet. Similarly, the expenses reported on the income statement might not have been paid yet. We can review the Balance Sheet changes to see what occurred (debtor or accounts payable increase or decrease, etc), but the cash flow statement already has included all that information.

To use the Cash Flow statement, the cash from Operating activities is compared to the company’s net income on the Profit & Loss. If the cash from operating activities is consistently greater than the net-profit income, we say the company’s net income or earnings are of a “high quality”. If the cash from operating activities is less than net income, a red flag is raised and we need to look at why the reported net income is not turning into cash.


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This entry was posted in 2 Past Newsletter Topics, Investing - Stock Fundamentals, Masterclass Investment, SMSF Investing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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