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Cash flow

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Cash flow, in simple terms, involves the movement of money into or out of a business, project, or financial product. This can be real, i.e., physical money, or virtual, such as digital transactions. It’s essentially an exchange of a certain amount of currency within a specific time frame and account. The predictability of cash flow can often be uncertain, requiring forecasting to manage effectively. It’s a crucial component of business financials, helping to determine a company’s value, interest rates, and liquidity. Through cash flow analysis, one can identify potential liquidity issues, measure profits, evaluate risks, and understand the overall financial health of a business or investment. Comprehending cash flow is essential for both operational and financial planning.

Cash flow (Wikipedia)

Cash flow, in general, refers to payments made into or out of a business, project, or financial product. It can also refer more specifically to a real or virtual movement of money.

  • Cash flow, in its narrow sense, is a payment (in a currency), especially from one central bank account to another. The term 'cash flow' is mostly used to describe payments that are expected to happen in the future, are thus uncertain, and therefore need to be forecast with cash flows.
  • A cash flow CF is determined by its time t, nominal amount N, currency CCY, and account A; symbolically, CF = CF(t, N, CCY, A).

Cash flows are narrowly interconnected with the concepts of value, interest rate, and liquidity. A cash flow that shall happen on a future day tN can be transformed into a cash flow of the same value in t0. This transformation process is known as discounting, and it takes into account the time value of money by adjusting the nominal amount of the cash flow based on the prevailing interest rates at the time.

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