1. Cash Flow Indicator Ratios: Introduction
  2. Cash Flow Indicator Ratios: Operating Cash Flow/Sales Ratio
  3. Cash Flow Indicator Ratios: Free Cash Flow/Operating Cash Flow Ratio
  4. Cash Flow Indicator Ratios: Cash Flow Coverage Ratios
  5. Cash Flow Indicator Ratios: Dividend Payout Ratio

By Richard Loth (Contact | Biography)

This ratio, which is expressed as a percentage, compares a company's operating cash flow to its net sales or revenues, which gives investors an idea of the company's ability to turn sales into cash.

It would be worrisome to see a company's sales grow without a parallel growth in operating cash flow. Positive and negative changes in a company's terms of sale and/or the collection experience of its accounts receivable will show up in this indicator.

Formula:


Components:

As of December 31, 2005, with amounts expressed in millions, Zimmer Holdings had net cash provided by operating activities of $878.2 (cash flow statement), and net sales of $3,286.1 (income statement). By dividing, the equation gives us an operating cash flow/sales ratio of 26.7%, or approximately 27 cents of operating cash flow in every sales dollar.

Variations:
None

Commentary:
The statement of cash flows has three distinct sections, each of which relates to an aspect of a company's cash flow activities - operations, investing and financing. In this ratio, we use the figure for operating cash flow, which is also variously described in financial reporting as simply "cash flow", "cash flow provided by operations", "cash flow from operating activities" and "net cash provided (used) by operating activities".

In the operating section of the cash flow statement, the net income figure is adjusted for non-cash charges and increases/decreases in the working capital items in a company's current assets and liabilities. This reconciliation results in an operating cash flow figure, the foremost source of a company's cash generation (which is internally generated by its operating activities).

The greater the amount of operating cash flow, the better. There is no standard guideline for the operating cash flow/sales ratio, but obviously, the ability to generate consistent and/or improving percentage comparisons are positive investment qualities. In the case of Zimmer Holdings, the past three years reflect a healthy consistency in this ratio of 26.0%, 28.9% and 26.7% for FY 2003, 2004 and 2005, respectively.


Cash Flow Indicator Ratios: Free Cash Flow/Operating Cash Flow Ratio
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Analyze Cash Flow The Easy Way

    Find out how to analyze the way a company spends its money to determine whether there will be any money left for investors.
  2. Investing

    The Essentials Of Corporate Cash Flow

    Tune out the accounting noise and see whether a company is generating the stuff it needs to sustain itself.
  3. Investing

    Cash Flow From Investing

    Cash flow analysis is a critical process for both companies and investors. Find out what you need to know about it.
  4. Investing

    Fundamental Case Study: Is Amazon's Cash Flow Actually Solid? (AMZN)

    Review Amazon's cash flow situation, including its free cash flow yield, operating cash flow from organic growth and cash flow from debt financing.
  5. Investing

    Free Cash Flow Yield: The Best Fundamental Indicator

    Cash in the bank is what every company strives to achieve. Find out how to determine how much a company is generating and keeping.
  6. Investing

    Analyze Cash Flow The Easy Way

    Cash flow statements reveal how a company spends its money and where that money comes from.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. When are Beneficiaries of a Will Notified?

    Learn when the beneficiaries of a will must be notified, and understand how this requirement varies depending on whether ...
  2. Why Does Larry Page Pay Himself a $1 Salary?

    Google co-founder Larry Page continues to take an annual salary of only $1 as chief executive officer.
  3. What is Common Stock and Preferred Stock?

    Learn about the differences between common and preferred shares. Explore situations where preferred shares have more favorable ...
  4. Can CareCredit be Used for Family Members?

    Learn more about the available options that CareCredit offers to pay for out-of-pocket medical procedures with little to ...
Trading Center