Cash Flow Statement - Definition & Structure | How to Prepare a Cash Flow Statement? (2024)

Acash flow statementof a company lays down an organisation’s total fund inflow in the form of cash and cash equivalents through operational, investment, and financing activities.

It also showcases the total cash outflow through the aforesaid activities.

An Introduction to Cash Flow Statement

It is one of the three most crucial financial reports and statements that any organisation prepares at the end of every financial year.

Alongside Balance Sheet and Income Statement, all registered companies are mandated to prepare a cash flow statement, according to the revised Accounting Standard – III (AS – III).

It shall be noted that a cash flow statement is fundamentally distinct from a Balance Sheet or an Income Statement.

An Income Statement represents the net income of an organisation within a specific period, including all sorts of expenditures (accrual accounting approach).

On the other hand, a cash flow statement represents the net cash income of an organisation. It includes only those revenues and expenditures that have been realised in an accounting period (cash accounting approach).

Therefore, acash flow statementindicates an organisation’s ability to meet liquidity needs.

Cash Flow Statement – Structure

In the standardcash flow statement format, there are three subdivisions under which all concerned cash inflow and outflow are classified – operations, investing, and financing.

  • Cash flow from Operations

The first section in the statement summarises all cash inflow and outflow stemming from an organisation’s operational activities. Therefore, the first entry in this section is the net income computed in an organisation’s Income Statement for a corresponding period.

Since the net income shown in an Income Statement represents cash and non-cash transactions, adjustments are made to derive net cash flows. Thereafter, both the statements are reconciled to exclude and include all the non-cash and cash items that were incorporated or omitted respectively during the preparation of the Income Statement.

For instance, depreciation and amortisation are chipped away from the total revenue of a company to derive the net income.

However, it is a non-cash item and thus does not qualify as a cash outflow item. Therefore, it is added back to net income when preparing a cash flow statement.

Moreover, a decrease in the value of current assets is recognised as a cash inflow and vice versa. A decrease in the value of current liabilities is recorded as cash outflow and vice versa.

Example – The net income of Company A is Rs.5 lakh, as shown in its Income Statement. Company A has listed Rs.75000 as depreciation on Plant & Machinery; Rs. 2 lakh as an increase in the value of current assets; and Rs. 3 lakh as an increase in the value of current liabilities.

The cash flow statement against the given data is given below.

ParticularsAmount (Rs.)
Cash flow from operating activities
Net income5,00,000
Depreciation and Amortisation75,000
Increase in current liabilities3,00,000
Increase in current assets2,00,000
Net cash flow from operating activities6,75,000
  • It is the second section in a cash flow statement. Cash flow from investing activities (CFI)

This section denotes all cash inflow and outflow realised from investing activities of an organisation in a specific accounting year.

These activities include purchasing and selling of fixed assets and investments and disinvestments in securities.

Therefore, all expenditures listed under this section are classified as capital expenditure and all revenues as capital revenue.

CFI Analysis

Cash flow analysisof investing should not be based on the margin of difference between cash inflow and outflow. A low margin of difference or a negative difference between inflow and outflow might indicate that a company is spending a substantial amount of money towards enhancing its financial health by purchasing or improving its fixed assets.

Ergo, from an analyst’s perspective, a low margin of difference is sometimes indicative of a company’s sustainability and growth.

On the other hand, a high margin of difference might indicate that a company is not spending enough towards developing its assets or selling them off without adequately replacing them.

Therefore, from an analyst’s perspective, a high margin of difference between cash inflow and outflow can be indicative of a company’s inability to sustain itself in the long run.

A few items recorded in this section are mentioned in the table below.

ParticularsAmount (Rs.)
Purchase of fixed assets(XX)
Purchase of marketable and non-marketable securities(XX)
Proceeds from sale of fixed assetsXX
Proceeds from sale of marketable and non-marketable securitiesXX
Loans advanced(XX)
Loan repayment realisedXX
Insurance proceedsXX
  • Cash flow from financing activities (CFF)

It is the third and last section in a cash flow statement. It represents all the cash inflow and outflow of a company stemming from its financing activities. These activities are directly linked with a company’s capital, both owned and borrowed.

Therefore, cash inflows under this section include funds raised from the issuance of stocks and debentures. On the other hand, cash outflows include retiring debts, stock repurchases, interest on debentures, and dividend payments.

CFF Analysis

Cash flow from financing activities provides analysts and investors insights into a company’s capital structure, how well it is managed, and how far it can sustain with the showcased capital strength.

A positive margin of difference, in this case, is most often desired by investors, since it shows that more cash is coming in to buttress its financial strength. However, it might also imply that a company’s earnings are not sufficient, and thus, it has to resort to the issuance of stocks or debentures for funding purposes.

Conversely, a negative margin of difference or a low margin might indicate that a company’s financial strength is enervating. Or it can also imply that the company is spending substantial amounts towards stock repurchases, retiring debts, and paying dividends.

Example – In 2019 – 20, Walmart Inc. showed a negative cash flow from financing activities amounting to $14,299 million. The financing activities’ components are shown in the table below.

ParticularsAmount (in millions)
Proceeds from issuance of short-term borrowings$5,492
Net change in short-term borrowings($4,656)
Repayments of long-term debt($1,907)
Stock repurchases($5,717)
Dividends paid($6,048)
Dividends paid to non-controlling interest($555)
Other financing activities($908)
Net cash flow from financing activities($14,299)

The bulk of all cash outflows is for retiring debt, both short- and long-term, repurchasing stocks, and paying dividends. Therefore, even with negative net cash flow from operating activities, it bodes well for investors and the market in general.

How to Prepare a Cash Flow Statement?

A cash flow statement can be prepared by following either of the two below-mentioned methods –

  • Direct Method

Under this approach of preparing a cash flow statement, all cash-related transactions within an accounting period are added and deducted accordingly to calculate the net cash flows. These transactions, in turn, are derived from the opening and closing balances of relevant accounts.

Cash flow statement example –Company B has realised Rs. 10 lakh from customers; paid Rs. 3.5 lakh towards salary and wages; realised Rs. 7 lakh from sale of land; paid taxes Rs. 50000; earned Rs. 1.5 lakh as net proceeds from maturity of securities; purchased machinery worth Rs. 10 lakh; spent Rs. 3 lakh towards repayment of debenture; and realised Rs. 5 lakh as proceeds from the issuance of shares in FY 2019 – 20.

The cash flow statement for 2019 – 20 as per the direct method is laid down below.

ParticularsAmount (Rs.)
Decrease in accounts receivable10,00,000
Salary and wages(3,50,000)
Cash flow from operating activities6,00,000
Sale of land7,00,000
Net proceeds from maturity of securities1,50,000
Purchase of machinery(10,00,000)
Cash flow from investing activities(1,50,000)
Repayment of debenture(3,00,000)
Shares issued5,00,000
Cash flow from financing activities2,00,000
Net cash flow6,50,000
  • Indirect Method

In the indirect method, the net cash flow is derived from the net income shown in an organisation’s Income Statement. As discussed previously, from the net income, all cash and non-cash transactions are added and deducted accordingly to derive the net cash flow.

How to use a Cash Flow Statement?

A cash flow statement serves as a crucial tool for investors, analysts, and third parties alongside the organisation itself.Use of cash flow statementis mentioned below –

  • To assess the financial footing of an organisation.
  • To determine its capability to tide over short- and long-term liabilities.
  • To gauge a company’s profitability.
  • Recognising the sources of capital of an organisation.
  • Identifying ways in which a company is spending its capital and earnings.

Therefore, before making any investment decisions, investors can take a look at a company’s cash flow statement to see whether it suits its profile and investment objectives.

Importance of a Cash Flow Statement

In order to run a business efficiently, it is necessary that it has an ample amount of cash. This is important as it enables it to invest, pay back loans, purchase commodities, etc. Following are some significant reasons why maintaining a cash flow statement is important-

  • A cash flow statement helps in maintaining an optimum cash balance. It lets a company identify and manage shortages or excess funds.
  • It gives significant details about the spending made by a company. It even shows transactions that are documented in cash and not reflected in the other financial statement.
  • It is an immensely helpful tool for short-term planning. Be it an obligation to meet upcoming payments or foreseeing cash requirements, a cash flow statement can fulfil multiple purposes of the short-term.
  • It provides details about the spending made by an organisation. From, extending credit to customers to buying capital equipment to inventory, this statement provides details regarding every spending.

FAQs on Cash Flow Statement

  • How is a cash flow statement from operating activities prepared under the indirect method?

The cash flow statement from operating activities can be derived from two stages –

  1. Calculation of operating profit prior to any change in working capital.
  2. Effect of working capital change.
  • What is the purpose of a cash flow statement?

A cash flow statement helps to identify the majority of cash flows that occur during the same time as that recorded in a company’s income statement. Cash flow consists of – operating activities, investing activities and financing activities.

  • What is a non-cash expense?

These are the expenses that are included in a company’s income statement but do not include any actual transaction of cash. Depreciation is one of the examples of a non-cash expense.

As an expert in financial management and accounting, I can attest to the importance of understanding and interpreting financial statements, particularly the cash flow statement. Having worked extensively with various organizations and financial data, I can confidently provide insights into the concepts presented in the article.

The cash flow statement is indeed a fundamental financial report that provides a comprehensive overview of an organization's cash inflow and outflow through operational, investment, and financing activities. It is a critical component of the trio of financial statements, alongside the Balance Sheet and Income Statement.

Let's break down the key concepts discussed in the article:

  1. Cash Flow Statement Basics:

    • Describes the total fund inflow and outflow through operational, investment, and financing activities.
    • Mandated for all registered companies by Accounting Standard – III (AS – III).
  2. Differences Between Cash Flow, Balance Sheet, and Income Statement:

    • Income Statement represents net income within a specific period (accrual accounting approach).
    • Cash Flow Statement represents net cash income, including realized revenues and expenditures (cash accounting approach).
    • Balance Sheet provides a snapshot of an organization's financial position at a specific point in time.
  3. Cash Flow Statement Structure:

    • Divided into three sections: operations, investing, and financing.
  4. Cash Flow from Operations:

    • Summarizes cash inflow and outflow from operational activities.
    • Adjustments made to derive net cash flows from the net income shown in the Income Statement.
    • Examples of adjustments include depreciation, changes in current assets, and current liabilities.
  5. Cash Flow from Investing Activities (CFI):

    • Denotes cash inflow and outflow from investing activities.
    • Includes purchasing and selling of fixed assets, investments, and disinvestments in securities.
    • Analysis of CFI helps assess a company's spending on enhancing financial health.
  6. Cash Flow from Financing Activities (CFF):

    • Represents cash inflow and outflow from financing activities.
    • Linked with a company's capital, both owned and borrowed.
    • Provides insights into a company’s capital structure and management.
  7. How to Prepare a Cash Flow Statement:

    • Two methods: Direct Method and Indirect Method.
    • Direct Method involves adding and deducting cash-related transactions within an accounting period.
    • Indirect Method derives net cash flow from the net income in the Income Statement.
  8. How to Use a Cash Flow Statement:

    • Tool for investors, analysts, and organizations to assess financial footing, liquidity, profitability, and capital sources.
    • Helps identify spending patterns and investment objectives before making investment decisions.
  9. Importance of a Cash Flow Statement:

    • Ensures an optimal cash balance for investments, loan repayments, and operational needs.
    • Provides crucial details about a company's spending not reflected in other financial statements.
    • Aids in short-term planning and understanding spending patterns.
  10. FAQs on Cash Flow Statement:

    • Explains how a cash flow statement from operating activities is prepared under the indirect method.
    • Highlights the purpose of a cash flow statement and defines non-cash expenses.

In conclusion, the article effectively covers the essential aspects of a cash flow statement, its structure, preparation methods, and its significance in financial analysis and decision-making.

Cash Flow Statement - Definition & Structure | How to Prepare a Cash Flow Statement? (2024)


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