As its name suggests, a cash flow statement charts the flow of money into and out of your business. It’s all about gauging liquidity — or cash on hand — so that you can make smart decisions about paying bills and buying additional assets or inventory.
When viewed with your company’s income statement (a report of sales and expenses during a specific time period) and balance sheet (a summary of the net worth of your company on a given day), your cash flow statement gives you a complete view of your company’s financial profile. (Publicly traded companies are required to disclose all three statements to the SEC each quarter.)
Let’s break down a typical small-business cash flow statement and review each of its sections. Print or view this sample statement [PDF] to follow along.