Information about cash inflows and outflows is important, however:
Dividends and Debt Payments are made with cash, not profit, and
Investors and creditors may be interested in the firm’s sources of cash (will they be recurring or are they one-time events, like the sale of assets) and where the firm is investing its cash inflows (into areas for which the company has some management expertise, as outflows to the company’s investors or creditors, etc.)
Over the life of the firm, profit equals net cash flow. In any one period, as we have seen, however, the two will not be equal because of accrual accounting. Analysts have learned that the difference between reported earnings and cash flows may provide clues about the “quality of earnings” (i.e., whether the firm is managing its earnings)
The statement of cash flows is divided into three sections:
Net cash from Operations - cash inflows and outflows relating to the firm’s normal business activities (i.e., cash operating profit and new cash flows from current assets and current liabilities)
Net cash from Investing activities - purchases and sales of long-term assets and marketable securities
Net cash from Financing activities - changes in long-term debt and equity, and the payment of dividends
Notice that the statement of cash flows combines both the income statement and the balance sheet. The sum of the three sections, therefore, yields the net change in cash for the period.
There is always a built in check on the accuracy of the statement. Net cash flow plus the beginning balance in cash (last year’s ending balance) will always equal the ending balance in cash this year.
The first section of the statement, net cash from operations, begins with net income and adjusts reported profit for depreciation and gains and losses on sales of assets. Next, cash generated from changes in current assets and current liabilities is added. The sum of all of these items is the net cash flows from operating activities, as follows: Net Income + Depreciation - Gains (+Losses) on asset sales Changes in Current Assets and Liabilities ———————————————————— = Net Cash Flows from Operating Activities
The adjustment to net income for depreciation and gains (losses) on the sale of assets may, at first, be difficult to understand. Let’s consider first the issue of depreciation. The cash relating to the purchase of fixed assets flows out of the firm on the date the assets are purchased. Depreciation expense is merely the allocation of this cost over the useful life of the asset to match its expense with the revenues it produces. There is no cash relating to depreciation expense and, as a result, we do not want to consider it in the preparation of the statement of cash flows. Since depreciation expense was deducted in the computation of net profit, we add it back in order to zero it out.
Sales - wage expense - depreciation expense - tax expense net income + depreciation expense changes in current assets and current liabilities = net cash flow from operating activities This can be more easily seen by the use of an example. If we expand net income, the beginning of the statement of cash flows would look like this: Since depreciation expense is deducted in computing net income It must be added back in order to zero it out in the statement of cash flows
The next section is the net cash flow from investing activities. In this section, we are concerned with changes in the long-term portion of the asset section of the balance sheet: property, plant and equipment, and other long-term investments. As with previous changes in balance sheet accounts, increases in these assets are recorded as cash outflows and decreases are recorded as cash inflows.
The last section deals with net cash flows from financing activities. These include changes in long-term debt, sales and repurchases of stock, and dividends. Increases in liabilities and equity are recorded as cash inflows and decreases as cash outflows. Dividends are also reflected as a cash outflow.
So, we have included the income statement through net income and the associated adjustments for non-cash expenses or gains and losses. And we have included all of the balance sheet accounts: Current assets Current Liabilities Long-term Assets Long-Term Liabilities Stockholder’s Equity Used for net cash flow from financing activities Used for net cash flow from operations Used for net cash flow from investing activities
But, what about accumulated depreciation and retained earnings? We can ignore accumulated depreciation because we are ignoring depreciation expense (it is non-cash). And we have already considered retained earnings by our inclusion of net income and dividends. So, all of the components of the balance sheet have been accounted for.
Let’s look at a simple example to give you some practice. Consider the following comparative balance sheet and income statement:
Sales 185,500 Expenses: Cost of Goods sold 87,500 Salaries expense 56,000 Depreciation Expense 23,500 Loss on sale of fixed assets 5,000 Net income 13,500 Note: Fixed assets originally costing $35,000 with Accumulated Depreciation of $5,000 were sold for $25,000 Dividends declared and paid during the year were $10,000 Try to compute the statement of cash flows yourself before looking at the solution… 1998 1999 Change Assets Cash 25,500 4,400 21,100 Accounts Receivable 59,000 35,000 24,000 Inventories 30,000 50,000 20,000 Fixed Assets 165,000 180,000 15,000 Accumulated Depreciation (61,900) (80,400) 18,500 Fixed Assets (net) 103,100 99,600 3,500 Total Assets 217,600 189,000 28,600 Liabilities Accounts Payable 62,600 40,500 22,100 Bonds Payable (long-term) 50,000 40,000 10,000 Equity Common Stock 100,000 100,000 0 Retained Earnings 5,000 8,500 3,500 Total Liabilities and Equity 217,600 189,000 28,600
Net income 13500 Depreciation 23500 Loss on sale 5000 Accounts Receivable 24000 Inventory (20000) Accounts Payable (22100) Net cash from operations 23900 Sale of fixed assets 25000 Purchase of fixed assets (50000) Net cash flow – investing (25,000) Bonds (10000) Dividends (10000) Net cash flow – financing (20000) Net change in cash (21100) Beginning cash 25500 Ending cash 4400 Then we add back depreciation and the loss on sale of assets (we are only concerned with the cash proceeds, not the loss) Accounts receivable went down, so this generated cash. Inventories went up, so this used cash Accounts payable decreased, thus using cash This is the statement of cash flows We start with net income
Net income 13500 Depreciation 23500 Loss on sale 5000 Accounts Receivable 24000 Inventory (20000) Accounts Payable (22100) Net cash from operations 23900 Sale of fixed assets 25000 Purchase of fixed assets (50000) Net cash flow – investing (25,000) Bonds (10000) Dividends (10000) Net cash flow – financing (20000) Net change in cash (21100) Beginning cash 25500 Ending cash 4400 The sale of the fixed assets resulted in the following journal entry: Cash 25000 Accum dep 5000 Loss 5000 Assets 35000 And since fixed assets reported a net increase (at cost) of $15,000, after a reduction of $35,000, there must have been purchases of $50,000
Net income 13500 Depreciation 23500 Loss on sale 5000 Accounts Receivable 24000 Inventory (20000) Accounts Payable (22100) Net cash from operations 23900 Sale of fixed assets 25000 Purchase of fixed assets (50000) Net cash flow – investing (25,000) Bonds (10000) Dividends (10000) Net cash flow – financing (20000) Net change in cash (21100) Beginning cash 25500 Ending cash 4400 Finally, bonds decreased by $10,000 and we used $10,000 for the payment of dividends. The net change in cash, therefore, is a reduction of $21,100 (23,900 - 25,000 - 20,000) When we subtract this from the beginning balance of $25,500, we get the ending balance of $4,400 that appears on the balance sheet at year-end
Let’s take a look at the statement of cash flows from Toys R Us to get some practice interpreting the information it is telling us
During FY1999, even though the company lost $132 million, Toys R Us generated $964 million in cash from operations. Part of the difference is because the loss includes $255 million of depreciation expense on its store buildings, fixtures and equipment. Most of it, however, is due to restructuring charges of $546 million that reduced profits, but did not involve a cash outflow since they related to the write-off of assets and the accrual of employee severance expense
The company also spent $422 million on capital expenditures Finally, the company borrowed a net amount of $359 million and used the proceeds together with its operating cash flow to repurchase $723 million of common stock. Why? Perhaps the company felt its stock was undervalued since it was trading at about $15, down from $35 fifteen months earlier.
Components of Earnings From the operating section of the statement of cash flows we see the following relation: Net Income + Accruals = Net Cash Flows from Operating Activities Or, Net income = NCFO + Accruals. Net Income is comprised of two components: cash earnings and accruals
Short-term (c hanges in current assets and liabilities)
Remember this -
Short-term accruals generally reverse in the next accounting period.
Therefore, it is very difficult to shift income more than one period.
Companies can change income in the current period, but when the accruals reverse income will also reverse.
That is why analysts look to the relation between profit and cash flow to get clues whether the company is managing its earnings. When the relation between the two figures changes significantly, we need to know why the accruals are behaving the way they are.