The Kaplan Group is pleased to announce that Billy Barber has won our 6th annual $1,000 Scholarship! Billy is in his junior year at the University of Georgia. He is studying finance with a minor in health policy and management. Billy’s winning essay is reprinted below and was in response to the following prompt:
In 600 words, please tell us about a past business you have worked for and which financial statement you think is the most important to their business and why.
THE CASH FLOW STATEMENT
During the last two years at the University of Georgia, I have been able to intern for a private equity fund and an investment bank as well as being involved in many student clubs on campus. Throughout this time, I’ve kept a part-time job working sales and reception at a local gym to help pay for school and living expenses. I’ve been able to learn various sales skills and was the top salesperson for my team after being on the job for six months. I have enjoyed learning the business model of a regional and upscale gym in the Georgian suburbs during my time working. Looking back at my time from the gym and applying my newfound knowledge in financial statement analysis learned through my coursework and internships, I believe that the cash flow statement is the most important to the business’ success. This is because it shows the real cash changes on a business and because of its increased applicability compared to the other statements.
The cash flow statement shows the real cash used or gained over a specific period of time and includes cash flow from operations, financing, and investing. For a gym, these may include revenue from membership and personal training sales, investments into new equipment, taking out new debt to finance investments or to pay bills, and much more. There are many ways the cash flow statement is useful for a small business. The cash flow statement is important to determine liquidity and budgeting. The cash returns can show the gym owners the funds that are able to be used for activities such as making new investments or paying down principal on debt. The net cash also shows what can be used to give back to investors in the form of dividends. If you are able to see this statement over a long period of time, you can tell the health of a business.
The cashflow statement is much more applicable than either the balance sheet or income statement. For our specific business, the gym would have to take out large up-front costs to buy equipment that will depreciate over time. This increased depreciation expense will in turn decrease the net income on the income statement and make your profits look lower than they really are. The cash flow statement takes out this noncash expense and is therefore more indicative of the profit being made. Along these lines, the income statement does not include items such as long-term investments or raising debt which are very important to see the health of a business. The cash flow statement takes both of these into account and allows you to generate many key metrics that are useful for a business. In regard to the balance sheet, it cannot show the specific reasons for why the cash changed and therefore is not as useful for this business.
All three statements are imperative for looking into a business financially. However, if I had to choose one statement to look at for a local gym, it would be the cash flow statement because it shows how well a company generates cash and for a small business, that is incredibly important.
Our first scholarship was awarded in 2014. Our goal has been to expose students to the opportunities in the credit industry and promote personal financial discipline. This is just one facet of our efforts to provide free resources and education for credit professionals, business people, and those interested in learning more about finance and negotiations.
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