Auditing: What it is & Why It’s Done

Financial Accounting Overview

Statement of Cash Flow

Per the SEC, a statement of cash flow features three sections that detail sources and utilization of the business’ operating, financing and investing cash flows. It paints a picture of inflows and outflows of the business’s cash levels. At the end of the day, it helps anyone interested in the company’s financials, especially potential and current investors, see the latest status and trends of cash flow.

One way to calculate cash flow, according to the SEC, is to look at a company’s free cash flow (FCF). This is calculated as follows:

Free Cash Flow = Operating Cash Flow – Capital Expenditures

Free Cash Flow = $50 million – $20 million = $30 million

This information is helpful because free cash flow can help determine a company’s financial health, how well (or not) the business model is performing, and its overall likelihood of success moving forward. Additionally, understanding the difference in accounting methods is another helpful piece of financial accounting analysis.

Accrual Method vs. Cash Method

Accrual Method

When it comes to the accrual method, according to the Congressional Research Service, when a business is paid for services or products to be rendered in the future, the payment is permitted to be recognized as revenue only when the product or service has been rendered. When it comes to accounting for expenses that are presumably deductible, under the accrual method, the expense can be recorded when it’s experienced by the business, not when payment has been made to the utility, raw material supplier, etc.

Cash Method

If a consultant gets payment immediately but isn’t expected to do said job until the following month, this approach requires revenue to be recognized when the cash has been received. Similarly, when expenses are paid is when expenses are recorded.

Considerations

For any businesses that handles inventory or sells to customers on credit, accrual accounting is required by the Internal Revenue Service. Similarly, for companies with average gross receipt of revenues greater than $25 million for the past 36 months, the IRS mandates accrual accounting. For companies with average gross receipt of revenues of less than $25 million, depending on the exact circumstances of the company’s business nature, cash or accrual may be used.

Financial accounting provides investors, business owners and those providing businesses with legal and accountability a way to monitor performance and compliance.

Sources

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p538#en_US_202112_publink1000270704

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-22-09.pdf

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p538.pdf

https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R43811.pdf

https://www.sec.gov/oiea/reports-and-publications/investor-publications/beginners-guide-financial-statements

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/104169/000119312508177102/dex992.htm

How Cost Accounting Helps Businesses Measure Performance

How Businesses Can Mitigate Inflation & Maintain Pricing Power

Measuring the Margins

How to Calculate the Cash Conversion Cycle

The Cash Conversion Cycle, also known as the Net Operating Cycle, answers the question, “How many days does it take a company to pay for and generate cash from the sales of its inventory?” However, before an analysis like this can take place, it’s important to consider the company’s primary line of business.

If the company sells software, it’s more challenging to measure performance if it generates revenue primarily on intellectual property – by developing computer code and licensing its use to clients. For online marketplaces, especially those that make the majority of their profits from third-party sellers that manage product sourcing, listing their inventory and shipping products on their own won’t measure the online marketplace’s own inventory. Since these types of businesses don’t act like a manufacturer that produces and sells products to other businesses or the general public, this type of analysis will be less helpful.

To start with the formula for the Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC), it’s calculated as follows:

CCC = Days of Sales Outstanding (DSO) + Days of Inventory Outstanding (DIO) – Days of Payables Outstanding (DPO)

Days of Sales Outstanding, Defined

DSO is the average number of days it takes a company to collect payment once a sale has completed. The beginning and ending Accounts Receivable figures from a fiscal year are added together and divided by 2. Then revenue from the income statement for the entire fiscal year must be divided by 365 days to get a daily average.

DSO = Beginning Accounts Receivable + Ending Accounts Receivable / 2 = Revenue / 365 days

The fewer the days, the better; however, it can’t be so fast that such tight payment terms push customers away.

Days of Inventory Outstanding, Defined

DIO is the average number of days a business keeps its inventory before it’s purchased.

The beginning and ending inventories of a fiscal year are added together and divided by 2 to find an average. The resulting figure is then divided by the daily average of the cost of goods sold over a fiscal year, which is often 365 days.

DIO = Beginning Inventory + Ending Inventory / 2 = Cost of Goods Sold / 365 days

The lower the number, the faster inventory is sold. While there’s nothing wrong with moving it fast, there is the danger that orders might not be able to be fulfilled.

Defining the Operating Cycle

As the CFA Institute explains, putting DIO and DSO together constitutes the Operating Cycle. This is defined as the period of days that it takes a business to transform basic materials and/or goods into stock and obtain money from the completed transaction. When this number is small, it means product is moving and customers have no issue making prompt payments.

Days of Payable Outstanding, Defined

Days of Payable Outstanding determines the number of days a business takes to fulfill its debts to suppliers.

DPO = Beginning Accounts Payable + Ending Accounts Payable / 2 = Cost of Goods Sold / 365 days

Considerations for DPO include finding a balance between how long a business can take to pay their suppliers, but also not missing out on pre-payment discounts or being penalized with late fees, financing charges, etc.

Going Beyond the Results

When analyzing the Cash Conversion Cycle for the right type of company, it can provide great insight into a company’s efficiency in collecting billings; how long inventory is up for sale; and the time it takes to become current with its own suppliers. Depending on the results of the CCC analysis, performing financial analyses can provide insight into not only how the company is performing financially, but why the company is performing financially.

Sources

https://blogs.cfainstitute.org/insideinvesting/2013/05/21/a-look-at-the-cash-conversion-cycle/

Combating Employee Hesitancy to Return to the Office

Pulse survey

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236183/thinking-flexibly-flexible-work-arrangements.aspx

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa

Considerations When Selling a Business

The Challenge of Accounting for Goodwill

http://archives.cpajournal.com/old/14152806.htm

https://www.sba.gov/blog/7-tax-strategies-consider-when-selling-business

How Businesses Can Stay Current with the Digital Economy

BroadbandNow Estimates Availability for all 50 States; Confirms that More than 42 Million Americans Do Not Have Access to Broadband

https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R44565.pdf

https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/overcoming-remote-work-challenges/

What’s the Future for Measuring Employee Performance?