Cash Flow from Operations

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Operating Cash Flow shows the difference between reported income and actual cash flows of the company. If a firm does not have enough cash or cash equivalents to cover its current liabilities, then both investors and management should be concerned about company having enough liquid resources to meet current and long term debt obligations.

Operating Cash Flow 
 = 
EBITDA 
-  
Taxes 

Operating Cash Flow reveals the quality of a company's reported earnings and is calculated by deducting company's income taxes from earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation (EBITDA). In other words, Operating Cash Flow refers to the amount of cash a firm generates from the sales or products or from rendering services. Operating Cash Flow typically excludes costs associated with long-term investments or investment in marketable securities and is usually used by investor or analyst to check on the quality of a company earnings.

Cash Flow from Operations In A Nutshell

If you are taking a look at the company, you can look as cash flow as the blood of the business because with out cash, the company would be unable to operate. This area of the company is fairly black and white because the health of this area is either good or poor.

Operating cash flow is EBITDA minus taxes, and this helps you to determine the quality of the company. When looking at a company for a potential investment, you want to know that their cash flow from operations is at a respectable level. This is what will help the business continue to operate and flow.

Closer Look at Cash Flow from Operations

However, there could be reasons for why cash flows from operations are poor, and you need to figure out why. If there is something in their quarterly report that states operations are going through a reorganization or they are adjusting certain things and it is a off deal, then just take it with a grain of salt and watch. If it is poor because of slowing sales and the quality is lacking, that could be an indication of a greater underlying problem.

Cash flow in general should be healthy because again, it is the life blood of the company and allows it operate. You may also see a constriction of overall cash flow if the company is purchasing new equipment or building new buildings, and that is alright because it should increase cash flow later. That would be something you look at as an investment.

Lastly, compare it against other companies and see if you can generate percentages and compare apples to apples. You want to see what others are doing in the same industry and if the company you are invested in is doing the same. If there are differences, take the time to figure out why because it may be company specific and non threatening to the company’s health.

Cash flow is important and should not be skipped in your research. Use it with other points in the company and construct a picture that will give you an idea of how the company is going to perform going forward. Consult with investing communities and investing professionals as they can help to point you in the right direction.