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Center for Audit Quality (CAQ)

Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement (CFS) measures how well a company generates cash to pay its debt obligations, fund its operating expenses, and fund investments. The cash flow statement complements the balance sheet and income statement.

What Does the Cash Flow Statement Tell You?

The CFS allows investors to understand how a company’s operations are running, where its money is coming from, and how money is being spent. The CFS also provides insight as to whether a company is on a solid financial footing.

There is no formula, per se, for calculating a cash flow statement, but instead, it contains three sections that report the cash flow for the various activities that a company has used its cash. Those three components of the CFS are listed below.

Operating Activities 

The operating activities on the CFS include any sources and uses of cash from running the business and selling its products or services. Cash from operations includes any changes made in cash, accounts receivable, depreciation, inventory, and accounts payable. These transactions also include wages, income tax payments, interest payments, rent, and cash receipts from the sale of a product or service.

Investing Activities

Investing activities include any sources and uses of cash from a company’s investments into the long-term future of the company. A purchase or sale of an asset, loans made to vendors or received from customers or any payments related to a merger or acquisition are included in this category.

Also, purchases of fixed assets such as property, plant, and equipment (PPE) are included in this section. In short, changes in equipment, assets, or investments relate to cash from investing.