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Varieties of Cash Flows

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Cash flows in and flows out. Cash flow is important and is a key indicator of a company’s health. As discussed in the previous article, cash flow is different from profitability. Cash flow measures the liquid assets on hand, while profitability relates more to the long-term expansion of the company.

Different types of income and expenses break into different categories of cash flow. We can break these down into (1) “operating cash flow,” (2) “investing cash flow,” (3) “financing cash flow,” and (4) “other cash flow.”

Differentiating types of cash flow helps businesses create a cash flow statement. These statements are important both for internal accounting and tax purposes. Each type of cash flow may require its own equation for records maintenance. These records are important for any company’s operations procedures, regardless of the company’s size.

  • Operating Cash Flow

“Operating cash flow” comes from a variety of sources. On the incoming side of the equation, “operating cash flow” might include the direct cash revenue from goods or services is one such source. Outgoing cash flow might be employees’ wages, purchase of supplies or equipment, utility bills, overhead, or payments on loans. Other types of operating cash flow, besides direct revenue, may include interest on loans and payments from lawsuits. The most common formula for “operating cash flow” is the following: Net Income + non-cash expenses + changes in working capital.

  • Investing Cash Flow

“Investing cash flow” may or may not be relevant depending on the size or operations of the business. Such cash flow may be incoming or outgoing.  Examples may include business acquisitions, insurance settlements, or loans originating from the business or business owner. Generally, the equation from “investing cash flow” is earnings from any investments minus any liabilities, such as loan payments or insurance liabilities.

  • Financing Cash Flow

“Financing cash flow” moves between owners, investors, and creditors. The owners themselves could move cash into the company from their own savings or other income sources. Aside from owners, investors or creditors may contribute to the financing of the company. Investors, for their part, could overlap with creditors, who could issue loans or other financial arrangements.

In consideration of the interests of investors and creditors, owners should consider the appropriateness of moving cash out of the company coffers, depending on circumstances. The most common formula for “financing cash flow” is the following:

Financing Activities Cash Flow = CED – (CD + RP). This formula could help a company issue a cash flow statement.

  • Other Cash Flow

Other types of cash flow might involve charitable contributions, earnings or costs for company events, or any variety of incentives for employees, assuming use for the company’s business purposes. Calculation methods may defer to the owner’s convenience and operations procedures.

  • Cash Flow Statements

The above four categories suggest methods of organization for cash-flow statements, for record-keeping purposes. Companies should issue a cash flow statement at least quarterly. The company’s management may use the above classifications at their discretion.  However, the statements themselves are necessary records for any company’s archives, both for outside requests and internal reference.

We hope that you have enjoyed this article and the prior one on profitability.   We work hard to bring our audience timely and important information.

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By Debbie Gregory.

In this series of articles, we will examine the financial options and program available to business owners to fund their business.

In the two previous articles, we have looked at self-funding and venture capital. Now, we will look at a fun option… crowdfunding!

Crowdfunding is where you get a lot of people to invest in your idea, rather than finding one person, venture capital firm or bank to come up with the funds you need. People who are interested in your idea or product usually buy in at various stages. Usually, the “early birds” who get in on the campaign at the very beginning get the best deals, and the closer you get to your goal, the higher the buy-in. Once you have received the funds, you can get going.

Most business owners use a platform such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Patreon.

Your first step will be to set a goal for how much money you’d like to raise and over what period of time. Friends, family, and strangers then pledge money as short term supporters who will receive something in return, a gift if you will, which is usually your product.

Crowdfunding is very low risk for the business owner. For the fee you pay to the platform company, you get to retain full control of your company, and you’re typically under no obligation to repay your crowdfunders.

Some of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns have raised millions of dollars, and include products such as the Pebble Time smartwatch (78,471 backers pledged $20,338,986), the Coolest Cooler (62,642 backers pledged $13,285,226) and the game Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 (19,264 backers pledged $12,393,139). Film and video projects included Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000 (48,270 backers pledged $5,764,229) and the Veronica Mars Movie project (91,585 backers pledged $5,702,153).

Because each crowdfunding platform is different, make sure you read the fine print and understand your full financial and legal obligations.

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Are you utilizing social media to help your business succeed? If you’re not, it’s a good bet that your competition is. Social media is one of the best marketing tools at your disposal. Social Media Marketing Made Simple is the second installment in the SBA’s webinar series for small businesses. The webinar, on June 24, 2014 at 2:00 EDT, will provide you with proven success tips that are easy, and that you can use right away. The SBA wants to help you build your own social marketing plan and get answers to your questions. At the conclusion of this one hour webinar, you will know:

  • How Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ -can help your business
  • How to win new customers and drive them to your business
  • Simple ideas to help you communicate with your potential, new and established customers

To register, please click here. There is no charge for the webinar.

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