Business Advice

What is a cash flow statement, how is it used, and how does it benefit my business?

By November 8, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes

Image credit: Mikhail Nilov via Pexels

A cash flow statement is a financial statement that gives a detailed account of how your business manages its cash inflows and outflows over a specific period of time.

Cash flow statements can be a critical part of your financial reporting and is typically prepared on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. The primary purpose of a cash flow statement is to track and analyze the sources and uses of cash within a business, allowing you to understand how money moves in and out of your company.

A typical cash flow statement is divided into three main sections:

  • Operating Activities: This section shows the cash generated or used in the core operations of the business, such as revenue from sales and expenses like salaries, rent, and utilities.
  • Investing Activities: This section reflects cash flows related to investments in assets, such as the purchase or sale of property, equipment, or investments in other companies.
  • Financing Activities: This section outlines cash flows from financing activities, including borrowing, repaying loans, issuing or buying back shares, and paying dividends to shareholders.

Benefits of a cash flow statement

  1. Liquidity Management: It helps you monitor your company’s cash position, ensuring that you have enough cash to cover day-to-day operations and expenses.
  2. Financial Planning: It assists in creating budgets and forecasts by providing insights into future cash needs and sources of funds.
  3. Performance Evaluation: It enables you to assess the financial health of your business by comparing your operating cash flows to your net income. A positive cash flow from operations is generally a good sign.
  4. Investor and Lender Confidence: Investors and lenders often scrutinize your cash flow statement to evaluate your ability to meet financial obligations and repay debt. A positive cash flow demonstrates financial stability.
  5. Strategic Decision-Making: It helps in making informed decisions about expanding, investing in new opportunities, or managing costs based on your available cash.
  6. Tax Planning: By tracking cash flows, you can manage your tax obligations more effectively, as it provides insights into when you will have taxable income and when you might incur tax-deductible expenses.
  7. Identifying Cash Flow Issues: A cash flow statement can reveal any potential cash flow problems in advance, allowing you to take corrective actions, like renegotiating payment terms with suppliers or adjusting your pricing strategy.

In summary, a cash flow statement is a crucial financial tool that allows you to understand how money moves within your business, plan for the future, and make informed decisions to ensure the financial well-being and growth of your company. It is essential for maintaining financial stability, attracting investors, and ensuring the long-term success of your business.

Jun Yan

Jun Yan

Jun Yan is the co-founder and director at Ravit Insights. Prior to this, he was a commercial banker at NAB.

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