Understanding Profit and Cash Flow Statements


Profit is the difference between the costs and revenue generated by a business. Profit can be distributed to shareholders, reinvested back into the business, or used for research and development. Profit is typically expressed as a positive number. A negative number is known as a loss, and indicates that a company spent more than it can recoup.

Profitability is an important metric to use to measure the effectiveness of a business. It is the financial gain a company realizes from sales. For example, if a child makes a cup of lemonade for $1 and sells it for $2, he will make a profit of $1.75. But if a child makes a cup of lemonade for only a quarter and sells it for two dollars, she will have to increase the sale price of the lemonade to make it profitable.

Profit can also be measured in terms of a company’s gross profit. This is the money left over after all operating expenses are taken out. Businesses with low gross profit should work on reducing costs and increasing sales. On the other hand, a business with a high net profit should analyze the costs associated with running its operations. Understanding the difference between fixed and variable costs is critical when analyzing a business’s finances.

Profit is a fundamental measure of a business’ performance. Profits are viewed as a metric of success, which means that the profit exceeds expenses. The profit can be reinvested in the business for further growth, or it can be distributed to shareholders. Profitability is important to a business, but it is important to remember that many start-ups do not achieve profits on day one.

Profit and cash flow statements summarize the impact of revenue, expenses, and cash flow on the business. The profit column shows the amount of money remaining after subtracting the expenses from revenues. The cash flow column shows the net cash flow to and from the business. Profit is an essential metric in making important business decisions. Once you understand how to read profit and cash flow statements, you’ll be more confident in making informed decisions.