The cash flow statement shows how a company generated and spent cash throughout a given timeframe. An important truth that is frequently neglected by inexperienced business owners is that profit does not equal cash. Every business owner and manager needs to have a clear idea of the cash flows their company produces and how this impacts near and long-term performance.
We can distinguish between direct and indirect cash flow statements. A direct cash flow statement is based on data about the actual inflows and outflows the company had during a given period. This type of cash flow statement can be prepared by company insiders only. On the other hand, the indirect method uses the P&L and the Balance sheet items to obtain cash flows and give an idea how the money was generated and spent during the period under consideration.
Some other related topics you might be interested to explore are Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, and 3-Statement Model.
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Cash Flow is among the topics included in the Corporate Finance module of the CFA Level 1 Curriculum.