There are many moving parts when it comes to a business plan’s finances.
Arguably one of the most important moving parts is your cash flow since it helps you understand how money moves into and out of your business.
A cash flow statement is essential as it dictates how a business or nonprofit goes about its daily operations.
Businesses can bring cash through:
- Returns on investments
- Cash from stock
Nonprofits can bring cash through:
The difference between cash inflow and outflow
- Cash inflow: Money coming into your account from sales or donations
- Cash outflow: Money leaving your account to pay bills or loans
How to calculate cash flow
Calculating a cash flow is fairly simple. You take the cash that is received and subtract the cash that goes out. What is left over is your net cash flow.
Cash In – Cash Out = Net Cash Flow
However, things can get complicated when you have multiple cash transactions going on at once as they can be hard to track within different account names and classifications.
A cash flows statement is a great tool to track your cash flow, and it goes along with an income statement and balance sheet. Together, these three statements give you the best insight about your financial health.
Accrual Accounting and Cash Flows
Accrual accounting occurs when companies record revenues and expenses when the transaction occurs, not when cash is exchanged. This is where we see accounts receivable and payables.
Keeping track of when transactions occur and when the cash is exchanged can be really complicated and messy, which is why a cash flow statement is really useful.
Cash Flows Statement
There are three types of cash flows recorded on a cash flow statement:
- Operating activities
- Financing activities
- Investing activities
Operating Activities: These are the cash transactions that are made in order to go about daily operations in a business such as paying bills and revenue from sales.
Financing Activities: Financing activities are the transactions that take place when cash is exchanged between a company and its investors or source of finance, such as paying back loans and taking out loans.
Investing Activities: Cash inflow or outflow that comes from long-term asset investments are classified as investment activities. Examples include buying land, equipment or other investments.
What is Cash-flow
When looking at a cash flows statement, negative numbers will represent the outflow of cash, while positive numbers indicate inflows of cash. In order for a business to be in a good and stable position, they must have a positive cash flow. It is not uncommon to see a low cash flow.
Most businesses will have expected cash to come in, which is classified into accounts receivable. These represent the customers that have purchased something, yet the exchange of cash has not yet occurred.
For example, a company can record the revenue from sales or services, but the customers may have a certain time period to pay that, like a bill.
The full value of the accounts receivable section does not go on the cash flow statement, but rather only what has been paid.
For example, if you have $2,000 in accounts receivable, and only $400 has been paid by customers, only the $400 would appear in the cash flow statement.
If cash flow is low, but you know there is money that could come in form accounts receivable, it is important to look at how fast or slow customers are paying and adjust the terms or the payment period for customers to get a better cash flow that works for your business.
A general understanding of balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements can give you a good insight on the financial shape of your business. Use the combined information on all these statements to make the best decisions to manage and grow your business.
Cash Flow Examples & Template
Yearly Cash Flow Template:
Items that are listed are examples of each type of activity and do not mean that they have to be on your yearly cash flow statement.
Month to Month Cash Flow Template:
Items that are listed are examples of each type of cash receipts and cash paid out and do not mean that they have to be on your month to month cash flow statement.
Join the CoLab INC community to learn more about how you can run an efficient business
About Raitchele Cornett
Raitchele (Hi-Chel-Ee) is from Curitba, Brazil, and grew up around entrepreneurs and business moguls.
Raitchele is a Boise State Alum and MBA Student with a passion for entrepreneurship.