Business Cash Flow: Overview, Examples & Types of Cash Flows

Accounting
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Fincent Team

Businesses function on working capital and a steady cash flow. The latter accounts for the mobility of funds into and from the enterprise at any given point. It also denotes the financial health of the company in general. As per Fundera's research, small businesses account for 99.7% of all US businesses.

Although small businesses struggle with maintaining a steady stream of revenue at all times, they're the ones with the most financial flexibility. Cash flow translates into expenses carried out by a firm in a stipulated time frame. A document commonly known as the cash flow statement details payments and receipts during that period.

How Is Cash Flow Important to a Business?

Cash flow or its corresponding statement isn't merely a document referring to the expenses but an indicator of the activities controlling the financial parameters of the inflow and outflow of money. When the expenses increase at an unprecedented rate, that's when you need to reconsider your financial standing and focus on your business' stability.

With the cash flow statement, you have an overview of the activities and their respective types to track your business' financial health. Let's dive into the different types of cash flow.

Types of Cash Flow for a Business

Primarily, there are three different types of cash flow. These are listed below.

Operating Cash Flow

As the name suggests, the operating cash flow is an outcome of all operating costs incurred by the company. Various activities frequently occur in the company under the basket of terms called operations. The very nature of the workflow being repetitive and frequent makes it a part of the daily expenses chart.

So, when you're observing from the income vs expense perspective, you know where you stand and can determine your business' financial position. Since you know the basics, let's show you how to calculate your business' cash flow.

Your business' cash flow the sum of the total income of the company, any modifications to the capital investments, and expenses that aren't in the form of cash. You can know the working capital source by looking at the assets and liabilities of the company.

Investing Cash Flow

Investments can turn into securities or liabilities depending on how you treat your financial decisions and interact with the market. When you make purchases in the market, you might want to retain them as assets. Take stock of the situation and monetize these assets to calculate risks and make smart decisions.

Investing cash flow is the money used by companies for such investments and their proceeds. Calculating the final number is pretty simple. All you need to know is your assets and liabilities, and the way you do so is by subtracting the sum of money lost through liabilities and the sum of money earned through assets.

You also factor in the point of loans taken by the company during the specified period.

Financing Cash Flow

Cash flow or mobility of funds is essential to keep your business' wheels turning. Financing cash flow depicts the movement of money between the investors, creditors, company, and owners. This form of cash flow is particularly beneficial for a company's growth since it talks about the financial stability and robust planning it requires.

There are always two significant aspects of a business - ownership rights and investments or line of credit. Considering these factors, you know how robust a framework is by knowing who's making the most money, whether it's the investors or the company itself.

Hierarchy and financial structure are always crucial to know more about this type of cash flow and its impact. Calculating financing cash flow is learning about your financial portfolio and knowing the percentage of investments set apart for equities and debt-related funds.

Every financial security you invest in should have a corresponding record and details about its allocation.

Methods to Calculate Cash Flow in a Business

There are two ways to calculate the cash flow for your business. They're relatively simple to understand and straightforward to apply.

Direct Method of Calculation

This method of calculating your business' cash flow provides information regarding the sources of payments and expenses rather than only talking about the receipts and transfers. The additional sources of information help the investors and creditors know about the company's financial performance in line with the investments and income generated.

This method employs the cash flow to supplement the operational activities like paying the rent on space/lease agreement, compensating employees, paying the intermediaries, and so on.

Another benefit of this form of cash flow calculation is the impact of accruals void depending on the income statement and the related disclosures.

Indirect Method of Calculation

This form of calculation gives you a clear picture of your business' finances but doesn't let you or anyone else know about the source. All you get from it is the total number of changes or modifications made to your company's income statement.

The changes made to the existing documents talk about the reported adjustments to help operate the business and its workflow. Here, you can quickly point out the difference between the income and the cash spent on the operations.

This method can swiftly make future estimates through an in-depth analysis of the finance charts and income statements. You will always know the impact of the assessment and subsequent changes by adjusting the accounting's cash flow and accruals.

Also learn about Owner's equity, definition and how to calculate owner's equity formula

What Is Negative and Positive Cash Flow?

When you pitch two contrasting factors of a cash flow together, you're bound to understand the underlying differences a lot better. For instance, if your cash flow statement document reflects a negative value, it means you have faced losses far more than gains for that accounting period.

A significant point to consider in such a situation is to see the bigger picture. Superficially, your business might seem like it's in trouble, but you will know that you can get out of the negative state of cash flow through foresight when you delve in deeper.

You must have a large number of expenses in that duration to validate and secure your position for the future. Sometimes, as a business, you need to make decisions with future projections and enhance your present for a brighter future.

Once you attain a positive number at the bottom of the cash flow statement, you have a positive cash flow. Another thing to remember is that a positive cash flow isn't always a good thing, and you never know when you will fall into trouble.

For instance, you could have secured a massive loan from a financial institution or investor to keep your business afloat. Hence, a positive number doesn't always mean a positive state of affairs. Sometimes it can indicate borrowed time and a situation that can turn the tables for your business.

Wrapping Up

Your business' cash flow contains a vast expanse of information regarding its financial health. Running a small business can have its challenges. However, you can always refer to the guide above and seek professional help from the experts at Fincent, who take care of all your bookkeeping needs while you can focus on making your business more profitable.

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