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Cash Flow

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Cash flow is a company's net inflow or outflow of cash. A cash flow statement (formally known as the statement of cash flows) shows a company's cash flow from its operating, financing, and investing activities during an accounting period, and it is now required under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. More informally, cash flow often means cash flow from operations, which is computed as net income plus noncash charges, especially depreciation. Indeed, a quick definition of cash flow is net income plus depreciation. Analysts often emphasize cash flow, as opposed to net income, because cash is the most liquid and tangible asset, while net income necessarily includes charges and credits that do not affect the company's bank account. Many analysts refine the concept of cash flow to mean "free cash flow," the amount of cash available to the company after funding capital projects. In its simplest definition, free cash flow is net income plus depreciation less capital expenditures.

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