How to Prepare and Interpret a Cash Flow Statement

How to Prepare and Interpret a Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement, or statement of cash flow, is one of the three most important financial statements, along with the balance sheet and income statement. Its role is to show how the amount of cash on the balance sheet has changed from the beginning of the period to the end

The cash flow statement, or statement of cash flow, is one of the three most important financial statements, along with the balance sheet and income statement. Its role is to show how the amount of cash on the balance sheet has changed from the beginning of the period to the end. In other words, it shows the amount of cash and cash equivalents that go into and out of the business during a specified period of time.

The Three Cash Flow Statement Sections

The cash flow statement is divided into three categories: cash from operating activities, cash from investing activities, and cash from financing activities.

Cash flows from operating activities represent the cash inflows and outflows related to the revenues and expenses that are reported on the income statement. This is cash generated from the company’s goods or services. For example, cash received from customers or dividends and interest on investments, and cash paid for the purchase of services and goods for resale, salaries and wages, income taxes, or interest on liabilities.

Cash flows from investing activities reflects the cash inflows and outflows that relate to the acquisition and disposition of long-term assets as well as investments in other companies’ securities. This means cash received from the sale or disposal of property, plant, and equipment, or the sale or maturity of investments in securities payday loans in Dyer. It also includes cash paid for purchases of property, plant, and equipment, or purchases of investments in securities.

Cash flows from financing activities illustrate the inflows and outflows of cash to finance the company from creditors and owners. Inflows are cash received from borrowing on notes, mortgages, and bonds from creditors, or issuing stock to owners. Outflows are cash paid for repayment of principal to creditors, repurchasing stock from owners, or dividends to owners.

The total increase (or decrease) in cash for the reporting period is equal to the sum of the cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities.

How to Prepare a Cash Flow Statement

In order to prepare a cash flow statement, you will need to reference two balance sheets, a complete income statement, and know some additional information.

This first step is to use the two balance sheets to calculate the change in each account by subtracting the beginning balance from the ending balance. Then, each change, whether it be positive or negative, has to be classified as associated with operating, investing, or financing activities.

Operating activities include changes in assets, liabilities, retained earnings, accounts receivable, inventories, prepaid expenses, accounts payable, and accrued expenses. Investing activities involve changes in short-term investments, and property, plant, and equipment. Financing activities encompass changes in long-term debt, common stock, additional paid-in capital, and retained earnings (for decreases resulting from dividends declared and paid).

Cash Flows from Operating Activities

There are two methods for presenting the cash from operating activities: direct and indirect. The direct method exclusively reports cash components as inflows and outflows while the indirect method adjusts the net income to compute cash flows from operations. This means that the indirect method begins with the net income from the income statement and then removes all of the non-cash items. Although the indirect method is more common, both methods arrive at the same number. Below is an example of how to adjust net income using the indirect method.

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