An organization relies on a steady influx of cash to maintain its operating procedures. Often, to meet its needs quickly, a company may take out a loan to cover certain significant expenses, such as buying real estate. The accurate and timely reporting of these transactions is key for stakeholders and executives to have the most current information as they run the business. In this article, we discuss what notes payable are, whether notes payable should appear on cash flow statements, where to record notes payable on cash flow statements and how notes payable impact cash flow statements.
What are notes payable?
Notes payable, also called promissory notes, are statements promising that one party will pay a set amount to the other party according to agreed-upon terms. These terms generally include:
In most cases, companies categorize short-term notes payable-loans that are paid off within a year-as current liabilities. If the loan is due after a year, businesses typically classify it as a long-term, or noncurrent, liability.
Notes payable are legal documents and are only official when all parties agree to the terms and sign the final loan agreement.
Should a statement of cash flows include notes payable?
Your organization’s statement of cash flows should include all notes payable. Your accounting team should keep financial documents organized and updated to relay the most accurate picture of your organization’s financial health, which is key for investors. This helps ensure your organizations’ stakeholders and other decision makers have the most reliable information as they budget and plan for the future. Without notes payable documented on cash flow statements, there may be an incomplete representation of your business.
Where do notes payable go on a cash flow statement?
Accountants report distinct elements of notes payable on different portions of a cash flow statement. Cash flow statements (CFS) provide a summary of the cash that a company brings in and spends in a given time period, also called cash inflow and cash outflow. Most companies are required to produce this statement. A typical cash flow statement has three sections:
The principal amount from a long-term loan, or note payable, usually appears in the financing activities section of the cash flow statement once the organization receives the money from the lender. The financing section of the cash flow statement may have a separate notes payable section to capture this information. In some cases, businesses may record short-term notes payable in the cash from operating activities section of the cash flow statement. In either case, the company records the money as cash coming into the business, or cash inflow.
When businesses make payments towards loan interest, that amount appears in the cash from operating activities section of cash flow statements.
How do notes payable impact cash flow?
Notes payable affect the financing activities and operating activities sections of cash flow statements. When using a cash flow statement, you can calculate total cash flow by subtracting total cash outflow from total cash inflow in each section.
How notes payable impact financing activities on cash flow statements
When a company receives a loan, it records the principal amount as a cash inflow on the financing activities section of its cash flow statement. This reflects that the business brought in this amount of money in the given time period, which increases the company’s cash flow.
A company records payments made towards the loan principal as cash outflow in the financing activities section of the cash flow statement, decreasing its total cash flow.
For example, consider a consulting firm that takes out a $150,000 loan in quarter one. During that same quarter, the company makes a $300 payment towards the loan principal. These figures will appear on the Edon payday loan no credit check cash flow statement as follows:
How notes payable impact operations activities on cash flow statements
When a company makes an interest payment, this transaction appears on the cash flow statement as a cash outflow in the operations activities section. These payments represent money going out of the business, which reduces a company’s overall cash flow.
Using the previous example, if the consulting firm made a payment of $150 towards the interest of the loan, the changes to the cash flow statement look like this:
How cash flow statements can impact businesses
An organization’s cash flow statement can provide valuable insights into the nature and viability of its cash dealings. In general, investors look for companies to have more cash coming in than going out. However, the figures alone may be misleading. For optimal financial viability, a business should earn most of its cash through its primary business activities, which is often selling products or services. If a business must take on multiple or high-value notes payable, this can signal a concern for its long-term success. Investors may worry that the company isn’t operating effectively enough to maintain its operational expenses.
Similarly, a large amount of cash outflow may initially appear troubling, but if companies are making large payments towards a loan, this can mean they are in a healthy financial position. That’s why it’s important to review an organization’s financial documents thoroughly and refer to experts in finance and accounting to analyze these materials and make thoughtful recommendations.