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Putting Cash into Categories

Course video 43 of 56

We have been spending our time developing the concepts of accrual accounting. We started with the big picture, learned how to use bookkeeping to construct accrual statements and then spent the last three modules deep diving into various accrual accounting topics that help to create a useful set of financial statements. Throughout that time we have focused on capturing economics, not just cash flow. Of course, many of you still want to know about cash (so do I - it is important). But I have put off the cash flow statement for two reasons. First, I wanted you to really give accrual accounting a chance. If we mix cash in from the beginning, most students seem to drift back to cash every time things get a little complicated. But we have demonstrated that often leads to misinformed choices. Second, the cash flow statement effectively requires you to "undo" accrual accounting. That means you have to know accrual accounting pretty well to do a cash flow statement. I am going to be honest (I have all along, after all). The cash flow statement is tough. It seems like it should be really straight forward. Parts of it are. But a few choices were made when the cash flow statement rules were set. The choices make sense (well, somewhat), but they also make cash flow statements hard. We will break it down into pieces to make it approachable, but it is my experience that people need to see this multiple times. Lucky for you, the videos can be watched as often as you want. In this module I will systematically walk you through how cash flow statements are constructed. We will start with a cash T account and build statements from there. Our goal is to build an understanding of what information you can take from a cash flow statement. We are going to spend an entire week just on the cash flow statement. At the end of that week, I will expect you can understand an overall statement, but I will not expect you to be able to build one from scratch. Finally, I want to point out that this module is an inflection point in the course. We started looking at the idea of financial statements and creating broad statements in modules one and two. In modules three through five we began to look at the financial statements one item at a time. With this module we are moving back to the overall statement level, which is the perspective we will also take next module (which will be our last).

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