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Why does the Statement of Cash Flow Report state Accrual Basis?

Answer ID: 1278

The Statement of Cash Flows is not actually a cash-basis report. It is intended for an accrual-basis company to get a sense of how it's doing on a cash basis, either for management purposes or to support accrual financials for loans and financial matters. It isn't meaningful to a cash-basis company it is already running reports on a cash basis, and not using A/R and A/P.

The Statement of Cash Flows is similar to a P&L Statement in that it records a company's performance over a specified period of time. However, the P&L also takes into account some non-cash accounting items, such as depreciation. The cash-flow statement strips away all of that, and tells you how much actual money the company has generated.

The Statement of Cash Flows shows how well the company has performed in managing inflows and outflows of cash. It provides a picture of the company's ability to pay bills and creditors, and to finance growth.

When a company produces financial statements, they typically provide a Balance Sheet, P&L and Statement of Cash Flows.  The Statement of Cash Flows provides a sense of how an accrual based company is doing on a "cash basis." This is especially important since a company can manipulate its accounting on an accrual basis (e.g., not writing off debt they know is bad), but there is little it can do to manipulate their cash situation.

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