Cash Flow Statement
In this lesson, we’re going to go through the last major financial statement, the cash flow statement for a company and then compare that once again to a personal cash flow statement that you may have to reflect your own financial situation. So we said in the previous videos that the purpose of the income statement for a company is to show their revenue, their top line sales, or as a person, your top line salary and commissions and bonus for example at the top, and then go all the way down, list all the different expenses they have whether cash or non-cash, and then at the bottom to list net income right here or after tax income for an individual.
The purpose of a balance sheet is to list the company’s resources, its assets, whether they’re cash, inventory, long term investments, PP&E, goodwill and so on, and then how they acquired those assets, their liabilities and shareholders’ equity.
So short term debt, long term debt, accounts payable, differed revenue and so on, retained earnings on the shareholders’ equity side and then on your personal balance sheet it might include similar assets, cash, investments, your house and your car. On the liabilities side you might have your credit card, your mortgage, for example.
So based on that description you might wonder well why do we actually need another financial statement because it seems like if we’re showing the company’s revenue all the way down to their profitability all the way at the bottom and then we also have an idea of what their resources look like, their assets and liabilities, why is it that we actually need another statement here? So, the reason why we need the cash flow statement, the reason why we’re going to spend a lot of time on this is very simple: it’s that on the income statement we have a lot of non-cash expenses and non-cash revenue. But the point of any business, as I write right here, is to generate cash for the owner investors.
Now this may not be true if you’re a “Web 2.0” company, and you’re riding solely on hype but for real businesses, they exist because they’re generating cash, they’re creating cash flow for the owners and for the investors. If we don’t have the cash flow statement, there is absolutely no way to tell whether or not our business is actually putting cash in our bank account. So going back to the income statement right here examples of non-cash expenses, depreciation and stock-based compensation are probably the two most common that you’ll see on the income statement. Now in this case these expenses actually reduce our operating income so they give us the impression and they reduce our net income at the end as well, so they give us the impression that we’re actually not earning as much as we are, so non-cash expenses make our net income artificially low.
And on the revenue side, if you’re wondering what I mean by non-cash revenue, well remember this line item right here, accounts receivable, for example. Accounts receivable, if you recall from the previous lessons on the balance sheet, this means we’ve recorded something as revenue when we’ve sold a product or delivered a service to a customer, but the customer has not actually paid us in cash yet.
So under revenue right here on the income statement we are recording both what we’ve received in cash and anything that is currently in accounts receivable as well. So the point of a cash flow statement is to take out all these non-cash effects that we have simply for accounting purposes and to figure out, when all is said and done, how much in cold hard cash is our business actually making after you’ve taken out all these different non-cash expenses, after you’ve accounted for the fact that certain types of revenue are not actually received in cash, such as accounts receivable. And then the other big purpose of the cash flow statement is that we may have cash expenses that do not show up on the income statement. Perfect example right here, capital expenditures or buying a house, buying a car on your own personal cash flow statement, neither of these is going to show up on the income statement.
Why not? Well remember our rule back in the beginning. To show up on the income statement it has to correspond to the current period only, and it has to be tax deductible. Now when your house or car expense is allocated over time (or “loses value,” more colloquially) that does show up on the income statement because that’s tax deductible and because it’s only for the period that you’re looking at. But actually buying it in the first place, the capital expenditures for those, that is not tax deductible, and it’s going to last for a very long time. It’s a major expense and it’s not like the tooth fairy is going to appear magically out of the forest and suddenly give you all this stuff for free, you have to spend some of your cash to get it.
So when you’re going and buying a lot of property or a lot of cars, or anything else like that, that’s going to cost you cash. It’s going to reduce your cash flow and how much you have in the bank but it’s not reflected on the income statement. And for many types of companies, especially anything that is more hard asset-intensive like manufacturing, energy companies, for example, industrial companies, the capital expenditures here, what they spend to acquire their plants, property and equipment right here can be very, very high. So it’s extremely important to look at this on the cash flow statement.
And then of course another reason you need it is because the company may be issuing stock, it might be repurchasing stock, it might be issuing dividends. And we touched on these briefly when we went over the shareholders’ equity line items right here. So those items may also change the cash position of the company. And then, of course, they could be raising or paying off debt, the revolver or long term debt, for example. That’s also going to affect their cash position but none of these show up on the income statement because they’re not tax deductible and because they correspond to, in some cases, items like debt that are going to last for many years.
And then of course on your personal income statement, your finances might appear to be okay, but if you’re borrowing a whole lot of debt to finance all your purchases then they’re actually not okay. And the only way to assess whether or not you’re taking on massive amounts of debt to do this is to look at the cash flow from financing section and see how much in debt you’re actually borrowing or paying off in a given period.
So that’s why we need the cash flow statement, why it’s so important and what some of the key items on here are. It’s also important to note that as I write over here, the cash flow statement shows what happens over a period of time just like the income statement. Normally in finance we are not concerned with looking at historical cash flow statements and trying to reconcile them. Normally we look at the most recent one and then we project based on that. So, for example, if we got to Apple’s filings, which I’ll pull up right now, we go into cash flow statement on the last page here in their financial statement. You might be tempted to go back in and to look at their historical cash flow statements and try to create your own version and link everything together based on those. That is a really bad idea and it’s a horrible use of time. You don’t want to do it because the statements are never going to match up precisely based on what the company has here.
What you instead want to do is take the most recent column and then use that, and then create the next three years or five years in your model based on what they have there. So that’s generally how you use the cash flow statement in investment banking, private equity, anything else where you’re creating financial models.
Just looking through Apple’s cash flow statement briefly to see the overall structure here, at the very top of the cash flow statement, they actually have their cash from the balance sheet. Normally, you don’t do that, so I’m going to ignore that and more to the next item which is net income. This is normally the first thing that you see on the cash flow statement, and it comes in directly from the income statement. These other items, these are all non-cash expense and they’re coming in directly from the income statement with a few exceptions which we’ll get to later on. But the basic idea here is that these expenses have cost us in terms of our net income but they’re not true cash expenses. So on the cash flow statement, we have to adjust by adding these back to reflect the fact that they’ve saved us something in terms of taxes but they’re not real expenses.
So we’re adding them back here to get the tax advantage of these but to also reflect the fact that, other than taxes, they haven’t changed our actual cash.
Changes in operating assets and liabilities. This is another example. These are all examples of current assets and currently liabilities that we have to pay for using cash but which do not show up in the income statement. The reason these do not show up on the income statement is because again, these are not tax deductible expenses. We’re paying for the core business operations of our company. We’re paying for inventory, for example, that’s going to be used in our business operations, and it is not counted as an expense that is tax deductible on the income statement so it shows up here instead and we have to adjust for it and show exactly how much we’re paying or, for example, how much we’re actually receiving in cash from these operating assets and liabilities.
Then at the end we have the cash generated by operating activities, so basically we’re adding up net income, the non-cash expenses and then all the changes in current assets and current liabilities. We’ll get to that.
Under investing activities, the investing activities section in contrast to the cash flow from operations section, the investing activities section right here corresponds to the long-term asset section of the balance sheet. So if you look at the items here, we have purchases and proceeds from investments, we have payments for acquisition of property, plants and equipment, otherwise known as capital expenditures, we have payments for the acquisition of intangible assets. What are all of these? These all correspond to long-term assets on the balance sheet. So really the cash flow from investing section of the cash flow statement is specifically for the purpose of figuring out what the long-term assets are going to look like in the future. Now this doesn’t hold up 100% when you actually get into company’s financial statements. There are exceptions. But if you’re just learning this for the first time or reviewing it, that’s how I would think of these two sections.
One thing that’s important to note in this section, as you can see right here on Apple’s statements, is if they’re purchasing something, meaning that their corresponding asset is going to go up, so purchases of long term investments for example. This has a negative sign. Why does it have a negative sign even if the asset is increasing as a result of the purchase? It has a negative sign because purchasing assets like this takes up cash. If they purchase properties–so let’s say they buy a new iPhone production factory. Well again, they’re not going magically get this factory out of nowhere. They’re going to have to use some of their own cash to acquire it. On the cash flow statement, anything with a negative sign indicates that your cash is going down as a result of that. So any purchases here are going to have a negative sign because they require cash and they’re going to reduce Apple’s cash balance. Likewise, when investments mature or they sell the investments that’s going to have a positive sign because they’re getting cash from those.
When they sell their investments, it’s going to directly add to their cash balance just like how on your own personal balance sheet, for example, let’s say that you’ve been investing in the stock market so you’ve been buying investments but then you’ve also been selling investments. Well when you sell an investment it’s going to go straight into the cash in your checking account.
Moving down, under financing activities, their section here is not great. They don’t have enough items, so I’ve significantly modified it in our own model. But a couple of the common ones here are proceeds from issuance of common stock. We have some activity related to stock-based compensation, and then equity awards, similar concept to stock based compensation, but basically anything that is related to long-term liabilities and then shareholders’ equity. So the financing section of the cash flow statement right here, financing activities, this corresponds to anything in the long term liabilities and the shareholders’ equity categories right here. And again, the analogy is not 100% perfect.
Later on you’ll see that there are exceptions to this as we go through it, but that is how I would think about it for now, especially if you’re new or you’re reviewing this material after not having seen it in a long time. So that’s the general outline of how the cash flow statement is set up and what it corresponds to on the income statement and balance sheet.
Just to recap, the cash flow from operations section right here, so the top part corresponds to the income statement, Apple’s income statement over here. The bottom part, changes in operating assets and liabilities, this one corresponds to our current assets over here and then also our currently liabilities down here. Investing activities, right here, this one corresponds to our long-term assets on the balance sheet and shows how those change, and then financing activities right here, this one corresponds to our long-term liabilities and then also our shareholders’ equity on the balance sheet.
So that’s the basic sketch for how this works. Now that you know the idea, we’re going to go through an example from a personal cash flow statement right here and then we’re going to go through some of the rules for where you actually get these items from and the general principles that you use when creating a cash flow statement.
So as I said before, you always start with net income at the top, straight from in the income statement because this is what you’re going to be adjusting and then after that you add back all your non-cash expenses. So in this case, the depreciation, whether it’s of PP&E for a company or of a house for you personally. We don’t have stock-based compensation as an individual, so I’ve left that out, and then deferred income taxes. This is one exception. You can see down here I’ve created some simple rules for how we actually project this. Deferred income taxes, you generally need a special tax schedule to project this properly. We’re going to skip over that for now and just hard code it and leave it as a simple number on the cash flow statement.
But just be aware that that is one exception to this general rule, the overall format for projecting the cash flow statement is that we have a general rule, which I’ve written on the left side and then we have one or two exception usually, which I have listed on the right side over here. So deferred income taxes is one exception and again, in the real world this corresponds to cases where you are paying less than the expected taxes and so in the future you’re going to have to do a catch up payment on your taxes, pay those back taxes and pay extra to the government. These are counted as a non-cash expense because what happens here is that on the income statement, these are included in the income tax provision here, but these are not a cash expense because you’re not actually paying those. This is just what the government thinks should pay, but if you’re actually paying less than that then it shows up on the cash flow statement right here and you reflect it by adding it back and saying that actually, you have that cash. Based on the income statement, you thought that you had paid those taxes based on what the government expects.
But actually on the cash flow statement you still have that cash because you haven’t actually paid it yet, you’ll have to pay it in the future.
Changes in operating assets and liabilities, we’re going to get into the exact rule for this later on but for now, just keep in mind that generally if an asset goes up here, such as IOUs from friends or the insurance policy, that’s going to drain your cash flow. Why is that true? Well if you buy an insurance policy, for example, it costs you cash to actually get it, and so that’s why your cash goes down there. Same for inventory for a company, same for pre-paid expenses, for example, IOUs from friends and accounts receivable. Why is it that cash would go down there if these go up? Well what’s happening here is that you’ve sold something and so your revenue goes up, your revenue goes up and so all the way at the bottom of the income statement net income is up, but actually the customer has not paid you in cash yet. So you haven’t actually received that in cash but if you just looked at the net income, it would seem like you actually got in in cash.
So accounts receivable is sort of an adjusting line item here, and we want to reflect the fact that we’ve not actually received the cash. That’s why this shows up as a negative to our cash flow.
And then the other items here work the same way. On the liabilities side it’s the opposite, so here if a liability goes up our cash flow goes up. For deferred revenue, it’s pretty straightforward because for deferred revenue we’re collecting that cash up front if you remember from our balance sheet lessons, we’re collecting that cash up front, and we’re delivering the service later on, but we get the cash in the beginning so our cash goes up.
Accrued expenses, cash would go up here if accrued expenses go up because we haven’t actually paid those out yet. We’ve reflected them on the income statement but we haven’t paid them out in cash yet. Accounts payable, cash goes up because it’s the opposite of the accounts receivable situation. We owe a company money but we haven’t paid them yet, so it’s saving us in our cash flow and it’s boosting our cash flow effectively.
For investing activities, all these are pretty straightforward, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this. I’ve found that this part of the cash flow statement is probably the easiest to understand but again the rule basically is that if we purchase something then we drain our cash flow, it goes down. If we profit from the sale or maturity of investments then our cash flow goes up because it goes straight to our checking account. If we buy a house or a car or we spend money on a factory, that takes up cash, so our cash goes down. If we purchase other types of assets, if we invest in retirement plans, I’m actually going to change this to a negative sign. That’s correct now. If we make other types of investments here, that’s going to require cash and so all those are going to have negative signs and therefore reduce our cash flow.
For the financing activities, so if we issue stock, investors buy it and they give us cash for buying the stock, so our cash flow goes up. If we repurchase stock, we’re spending our own cash to get our own stock back from the open market so our cash flow goes down.
If we issue dividends to investors, so when investors buy our stock, in addition to the stock price going up over time, they may also receive cash payments from the company. Those cash payments from the company are called dividends. When we pay out these cash payments to investors, it’s going to reduce our cash balance, so again, it’s going to reduce our cash flow and it has a negative sign on the cash flow statement.
When we issue or pay off debt–if we issue debt, as is the case for the long term debt here, if we issue debt then it’s going to boost our cash flow. Why is it going to boost our cash flow? Well if you think about what happens here, if the long term debt goes up by say 5, is that on the other side of the balance sheet, the cash balance will also go up by 5 to reflect the fact that when we take out that debt we’re getting cash directly in our checking account from the debt that we’ve taken out. So any issuance of debt will boost our cash. Whenever we pay off debt, it’s going to reduce our cash and cash flow.
And then the impact of changes in FX rates this could go either way, it really depends on what the overall movement in exchange rates is. So that’s a quick overview of what each item here is and some analogies to the real world.
One other important point to make is that I mentioned in cash flow from operations where all these items are coming from, for investing and financing activities, as you can see over here, these are almost always projected or estimated directly on the cash flow statement, so you should not be pulling these in from the balance sheet or income statement. These are directly estimated on the cash flow statement. You might base it on other items. You might make it a percentage of other items, but you’re going to effectively always list these numbers on the cash flow statement, and then worry about linking them to the corresponding items, long-term assets, long-term liabilities, shareholders’ equity, later on.
Another important point to make here is that in changes in operating assets and liabilities, normally we link it to current assets and current liabilities, but the exception is that we do not include cash and debt in these numbers.
For cash, the reason is that at the bottom of the cash flow statement, we’re trying to get to what our ending cash is so we don’t want to list it twice here. We only want to list it once at the end. And then debt is not listed because it’s not considered an operating asset or liability. It’s considered something altogether separate, just a financing method for the company and so that’s why debt is not listed here.
So now I’ll go through and just add up everything so you can see what our personal cash flow statement here might look like. So for total changes in operating assets and liabilities I’m going to use “= SUM” and Shift + Ctrl + Up arrow key to get this whole area. For cash flow from operations we’re going to take this and then we’re going to do a summation. I’m going to press Ctrl and the up arrow key to jump up and then Shift + Ctrl + Up arrow key to get all these at the top. It’s a very common mistake to forget the top items here and to only include changes in operating assets and liabilities, also known as working capital.
So just be certain that you include both here. It’s a very common mistake in models. Then for cash flow from investing I’m going to enter = and then Shift + Ctrl twice to go up to the top there. You have that. And then for financing activities I’m going to enter = SUM and then Shift, use the arrow key to go up and get that whole area.
So if you recall from our balance sheet, which I don’t have up right now but you can go back to that if you want to look at it again, our beginning cash and cash equivalents here were 20. To figure out our increase or decrease in cash, we’re going to take our cash flow from financing. And then I’m actually going to just use the mouse here because it’s easier to show you this way. We’re going to add in our cash flow from investing and then our cash flow from operations. So our cash here is actually going down here by $5 and our ending cash and cash equivalents here after this period are going to be $15 rather than $20.
And this is really important because remember, our after-tax income is $15. So on paper it looks like we’re really profitable or at least we’re saving some amount of money. But in actuality what’s really happening here is that our cash is going down by $5. Why is it going down by $5? Well, because we’ve spent a lot on these investing activities, buying houses, cars, making long-term investments, and this is exactly why we need to look at the cash flow statement.
If you do not look at the cash flow statement, you’re going to get a very deceptive idea of what’s going on with the company and whether or not they’re actually generating cash. This is one reason why people often say that the cash flow statement is the most important statement because it shows you, at the end of the day, after you’ve taken out all these different fancy charges and removed all this accounting trickery, are you actually making cash or losing cash? And this is why this statement is so important and why it’s a critical component that we always need to look at in addition to the income statement and balance sheets of the company.
So now I’m going to go through the cash flow statement for Apple, or at least our version of their statement, and just show you briefly how to link in these items. We’re also going to do an exercise midway through this so you can get some practice linking these yourself. So for net income, I’m going to enter the “=” sign and then use the arrow keys to go all the way over to net income on their income statement and link that in directly. This is how you always set up the cash flow statement.
Then we need to add back non-cash charges. Where do we find these non-cash charges? Well we go back to the income statement once again and I’m going to link depreciation right there and then also link to stock-based compensation right below that. Deferred income taxes come from a special schedule, so for now I’ve just left his as a hard-coded number.
For changes in operating assets and liabilities, remember when an asset goes up our cash flow goes down, when a liability goes up, our cash flow goes up. So for accounts receivable, in the current period, we have $15, in the old period we have $10.
So in this case our cash flow is going to go down because the asset has gone up. So $10 minus $15 here gives us ($5). On the liabilities side, let’s look at accounts payable. Accounts payable here, it’s gone up, so we have $25 minus $20 right here. And remember the intuition for this that it costs cash to buy this inventory for example so it represents a use of cash if it goes up. If one of these assets goes down it means we’ve sold it or we’ve received the cash for it, so the cash flow on the statement is going to go up.
So for your exercise now, what I want you to do is pause the video and then fill in the rest of the schedule for changes in operating assets and liabilities. Remember, an asset, these first four, if the asset on balance sheet goes up, the cash flow is negative. On the liabilities side, if these go up then the cash flow is positive. So pause the video right now, give it a shot yourself. When you’re done you can unpause it and then we’ll walk through this together.
Okay, good. So here’s what we do. For inventory let’s look at this one. We take our previous number, it’s going up here so clearly it’s going to be a negative, and we subtract our current number. Prepaid expenses, I’m just using the arrow keys in Excel to move over. We take our previous one, and then we subtract our current one right here. Other current assets, same idea. Previous minus current for everything on the asset side. No change there. For accrued expenses, let’s scroll down. I’m actually going to use the mouse here to scroll down. Accrued expenses, it’s higher in the current period so we’re going to subtract the previous period and then same for deferred revenue. We’re going to take our new number and then subtract, move down using the arrow keys, we’ll subtract our old number right there.
So this indicates how much we have spent or possibly gained in terms of cash, based on all these balance sheet items. Let’s add these all up with all equals.
And then the cash flow from operations will be the changes plus SUM – I’m going to use Ctrl+Arrow key to move up and then Shift + Ctrl + Up arrow key to get all these – plus the sum of net income and the non-cash charges. Moving down, cash flow from investing, this is very easy because these are all projected directly on the cash flow statement so there is no math here, no formulas, really other than to simply add up everything with all equals. And then financing activities, same idea, we’re going to press “Alt =” to add up all these up and we get $5 from cash flow from financing.
So now to figure out what our ending cash and cash equivalents here look like – first, I need to get the beginning cash and cash equivalents. This is what you always see on the cash flow statement, usually at the end they list the beginning, the increase or decrease in cash and then the ending cash at the bottom. So the beginning cash I’m going to get from our balance sheet from the previous column right here, the $10. And I’m linking to that. You could use the arrow keys to go over to that.
I actually just used the mouse here because it’s easier to show you how to do this using the mouse at least in this video. In real life you can use the arrow keys to move over so you can avoid using the mouse. For the increase or decrease in cash, we’re going to take the impact of the changes in FX rates, which appear outside the three main sections: financing, investing and operating activities, but it is a separate item onto itself and it’s something that you still need to take into account because it does affect your cash balance. We take that, we add in cash flow from financing, we add cash flow from investing and then cash flow from operations. So we have an increase or decrease in cash of $30 here so our cash is going up by $30. We take this, we add our beginning cash and cash equivalents, and we get $40 for our ending cash and cash equivalents balance right here.
So that takes us to the end of our cash flow statement on both the personal level, our personal cash flow statement, and then what Apple’s own cash flow statement, or at least our version, our modified version of Apple’s cash flow statement here looks like.
So just to recap, we need the cash flow statement because there are a lot of non-cash expenses and non-cash revenue on the income statement. We have no idea whether or not the business is actually generating cash without looking at the cash flow statement. It shows what happens over a period of time and normally in models, we’re only concerned with the future cash flow statements. We never really try to reconcile it with historical numbers. So I would strongly advise against going back into Apple’s filings and trying to reconcile here based on what we just learned. It’s going to be very, very messy, and it’s not a very productive learning exercise, so don’t worry about it. I’m just bringing this up to show you that in the real world it does get more complex and you can run into some problems that you don’t necessarily see in the teaching version of the models that we’re using here.
When you’re building it, operating activities comes from the income statement and balance sheet. Changes in operating assets and liabilities, otherwise known as working capital, comes from current assets and current liabilities except for cash and debt, of course. And then the other sections on here, investing and financing activities, these are projected and estimated directly on the cash flow statement.
These are not linked to anything else. These are simple numbers that you project and list on the cash flow statement itself.
So that’s a quick overview of the cash flow statement, what it means, why we need it and how we actually use it in finance and investment banking. Coming up in the next and final video in the sequence of accounting fundamentals we are going to look at how to link together the three statements. We’re going to look at how to finish filling out this balance sheet for Apple and how to link it properly to the cash flow statement.