ACCOUNTING STATEMENTS, TAXES,
AND CASH FLOW
Answers to Concepts Review and Critical Thinking Questions
True. Every asset can be converted to cash at some price. However, when we are referring to a liquid
asset, the added assumption that the asset can be converted cash at or near market value is important.
The recognition and matching principles in financial accounting call for revenues, and the costs
associated with producing those revenues, to be “booked” when the revenue process is essentially
complete, not necessarily when the cash is collected or bills are paid. Note that this way is not
necessarily correct; it’s the way accountants have chosen to do it.
The bottom line number shows the change in the cash balance on the balance sheet. As such, it is not
a useful number for analyzing a company.
The major difference is the treatment of interest expense. The accounting statement of cash flows
treats interest as an operating cash flow, while the financial cash flows treat interest as a financing
cash flow. The logic of the accounting statement of cash flows is that since interest appears on the
income statement, which shows the operations for the period, it is an operating cash flow. In reality,
interest is a financing expense, which results from the company’s choice of debt and equity. We will
have more to say about this in a later chapter. When comparing the two cash flow statements, the
financial statement of cash flows is a more appropriate measure of the company’s performance
because of its treatment of interest.
Market values can never be negative. Imagine a share of stock selling for –$20. This would mean
that if you placed an order for 100 shares, you would get the stock along with a check for $2,000.
How many shares do you want to buy? More generally, because of corporate and individual
bankruptcy laws, net worth for a person or a corporation cannot be negative, implying that liabilities
cannot exceed assets in market value.
For a successful company that is rapidly expanding, for example, capital outlays will be large,
possibly leading to negative cash flow from assets. In general, what matters is whether the money is
spent wisely, not whether cash flow from assets is positive or negative.
It’s probably not a good sign for an established company to have negative cash flow from assets, but
it would be fairly ordinary for a start-up, so it depends.