Why is Cash Flow Management Important for Businesses?

Cash flow management - Complete Controller

Financial statements and audited reports are preferred to gauge the financial health of the business. The statement comprises an audited report stating whether figures and record-keeping are qualified or unqualified. The balance sheet’s main components are current assets, current liabilities, non-current assets, fixed assets, non-current liabilities, long-term liabilities, and equity (which primarily comprises of capital, retained earnings, and long term reserves.) The second statement is a profit and loss statement, also called an income statement. This statement depicts the revenue and loss position for a specific period. There are various headings under this statement, such as sales, cost of goods sold, depreciation, financial expense, and many other particulars. It gauges the operational efficacy, net profitability, and also the earning per share. The third and perhaps the most important statement is the cash flow statement. This statement is divided into three significant components, cash flow from operating activities, cash flow from investing activities, and cash flow from financing activities. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

To manage the firm’s cash flow statement effectively, the finance managers adopt their own unique and preferred methodologies for better management. At first, the entire net profit is picked up from the income statement, and non-cash items (such as depreciation and amortization) are added back into the opening figure of the cash flow statement. To simplify the cash flow statement (for management’s ease), finance managers view it from a different tangent. They categorize it mainly into two main domains, which are “Needs and Sources.” Sources are the managed funds that the company generates through its operations and working capital acquired outside the firm. Needs are requirements that are funded through external sources.

The statement is divided into two categories, short-term and long-term. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Figures extracted into operating sources are then filtered through operating needs to arrive at a net cash flow position from working capital activities. This figure entails how much cash the firm generated from its primary operations and it foretells the position of working capital requirements or not. If the value is negative, it implies that the inflows are less than the firm’s outflows, and the company requires additional funds to meet its working capital requirements. Upon seeing the picture of the figure, the business is in a strong position to make an educated decision to secure any additional financing requirement or not. Naturally, the business will not take any decision to affect its liquidity and gearing ratio. This will also help the business in analyzing that there is no mismatch in the balance sheet. If such an incident does occur, the business can go into balance sheet restructuring and improve its financial position in the eyes of the shareholder and investor. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Non-Operating sources and non-operating needs to tell if the company is facing any stress on its cash flow due to capital expenditure and unnecessary dividend payout. If the pressure is not controlled, the impact can flow into operating sources and needs, which may negatively affect the operations of the business and increase the company’s leverage position.

In essence, cash flow management represents true financial health as opposed to the income statement (where depreciation and amortization are expensed out). The non-cash items are added back into the cash flow statement to get precise net cash flow. Furthermore, all those liabilities and expenses, which are provisioned but not paid out are also added back (such current portion of long-term debt or financial lease). The business’s primary plan is to make a profit and generate revenue. Even if the income statement reveals a healthy profit for the company, due to specific accounting methodologies and deferment entries), it is the management of cash flow which will depict the actual policies that business complies.

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