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What Is Cash Inflow vs. Outflow?

Cash flow, like cash inflow vs. outflow, describes how a business’ money flows in and out from financing, operating and investment activities. Cash inflow represents incoming funds, while cash outflow represents outgoing funds. Companies create value when inflow is greater than outflow. 

Cash inflow vs. outflow, explained

Cash flow describes when and where money enters and leaves a company. 

Cash inflow includes money sourced from sales, investments, royalties, licensing agreements and interest received. Cash outflow comprises expenses like wages, rent, inventory purchasing and debts. 

Positive inflows usually indicate that a company’s performance is increasing. Higher inflow lets businesses pay debts, invest in growth and return money to shareholders. Negative inflows may point to a struggling business, or one aggressively scaling up. Says: Cash flow, revenue and profit are different metrics. Cash flow represents net funds flowing in and out, while revenue is money earned from sales. Profit measures the difference between a company’s revenue and expenses. 

Three types of cash flow

Cash flow is generally divided into three categories, which together make up net cash flow:

  • Cash flow from financing describes the money that comes from debt and equity issuances and dividend payments. Financing outflows include money spent repaying debt principals. 
  • Cash flow from operations describes money involved with daily operating activities. Inflow avenues include sales and paid services, while outflows include operating costs like salaries, rent and the cost of production. 
  • Cash flow from investments describes money spent or generated on investment-related activities, such as buying or selling securities

Cash flow statements

A company’s cash flow statement (CFS) is a financial document that reports when, where, and how much money flows through a company. Public companies typically release CFSs quarterly or annually as part of their SEC-mandated filing requirements. 

As an investor, analyzing a company’s CFS offers insights into a firm’s liquidity, flexibility and overall performance. 

For example, cash flow from financing can indicate a company’s financial strength and ability to grow. Operating cash flows show how well a firm maintains or expands operations. And net cash flows may reveal a company’s overall footing. 

A company’s CFS also suggests easily it can obtain financing, which is important for accessing loans to fund new growth initiatives. 

That said, bear in mind that “normal” and “healthy” varies by category. For example, many companies have greater investing outflow than inflow. 

What cash inflow vs. outflow means for you

Generally, positive cash flow indicates that a company can readily invest in growth and pay shareholders without taking on excessive debt. Greater financial flexibility allows firms to adapt more easily to changing market conditions. 

By contrast, negative cash flow suggests that a company spends more than it makes, which can be good or bad. For many scaling companies, high outflows are normal during the expansion years. 

Fortunately, with, you don’t have to worry about the nuances of cash inflow vs. outflow. With just a few minutes and $50, our AI can start doing the hard work for you. 

Disclosures is the trade name of Quantalytics Holdings, LLC., LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quantalytics Holdings, LLC ("Quantalytics"). Quantalytics offers automated financial advice tools through Quantalytics Investment Advisors, LLC ("QAI"), an SEC-registered investment advisor. QIA’s investment advisory services are ONLY available only to residents of the United States. Disclosures concerning QIA’s investment advisory services are available on its Form ADV filed with the SEC. The content in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a comprehensive description of's investment advisory services.

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