Financial Terms
Flow-through method

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Definition of Flow-through method

Flow-through Method Image 1

Flow-through method

The practice of reporting to shareholders using straight-line depreciation and
accelerated depreciation for tax purposes and "flowing through" the lower income taxes actually paid to the
financial statement prepared for shareholders.

Related Terms:

Adjusted Cash Flow Provided by Continuing Operations

Cash flow provided by operating
activities adjusted to provide a more recurring, sustainable measure. Adjustments to reported cash
provided by operating activities are made to remove such nonrecurring cash items as: the operating
component of discontinued operations, income taxes on items classified as investing or financing activities, income tax benefits from nonqualified employee stock options, the cash effects of purchases and sales of trading securities for nonfinancial firms, capitalized expenditures, and other nonrecurring cash inflows and outflows.

Agency pass-throughs

Mortgage pass-through securities whose principal and interest payments are
guaranteed by government agencies, such as the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae"), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac") and Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae").

algebraic method

a process of service department cost allocation
that considers all interrelationships of the departments
and reflects these relationships in simultaneous

Allowance method

A method of adjusting accounts receivable to the amount that is expected to be collected based on company experience.

Average-Cost Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that assigns the average
cost of beginning inventory and inventory purchases during a period to cost of goods sold and
ending inventory.

Benefit Ratio Method

The proportion of unemployment benefits paid to a company’s
former employees during the measurement period, divided by the total
payroll during the period. This calculation is used by states to determine the unemployment
contribution rate to charge employers.

Benefit Wage Ratio Method

The proportion of total taxable wages for laid off
employees during the measurement period divided by the total payroll during
the period. This calculation is used by states to determine the unemployment
contribution rate to charge employers.

Flow-through Method Image 2

Bootstrapping, bootstrap method

An arithmetic method for backing an
implied zero curve out of the par yield curve.

Capital Flows

Purchase by foreigners of our assets (capital inflows) or our purchase of foreign assets (capital outflows).

Capitalization method

A method of constructing a replicating portfolio in which the manager purchases a
number of the largest-capitalized names in the index stock in proportion to their capitalization.

Cash flow

In investments, it represents earnings before depreciation , amortization and non-cash charges.
Sometimes called cash earnings. Cash flow from operations (called funds from operations ) by real estate and
other investment trusts is important because it indicates the ability to pay dividends.

cash flow

An obvious but at the same time elusive term that refers to cash
inflows and outflows during a period. But the specific sources and uses
of cash flows are not clear in this general term. The statement of cash
flows, which is one of the three primary financial statements of a business,
classifies cash flows into three types: those from operating activities
(sales and expenses, or profit-making operations), those from
investing activities, and those from financing activities. Sometimes the
term cash flow is used as shorthand for cash flow from profit (i.e., cash
flow from operating activities).

cash flow

the receipt or disbursement of cash; when related
to capital budgeting, cash flows arise from the purchase,
operation, and disposition of a capital asset

Cash flow

Cash received and paid over time.

Cash Flow

In investments, NET INCOME plus DEPRECIATION and other noncash charges. In this sense, it is synonymous with CASH EARNINGS. Investors focus on cash flow from operations because of their concern with a firm's ability to pay dividends.

Cash flow after interest and taxes

Net income plus depreciation.

Cash-flow break-even point

The point below which the firm will need either to obtain additional financing
or to liquidate some of its assets to meet its fixed costs.

Cash flow coverage ratio

The number of times that financial obligations (for interest, principal payments,
preferred stock dividends, and rental payments) are covered by earnings before interest, taxes, rental
payments, and depreciation.

Cash Flow Forecast

An estimate of the timing and amount of a company's inflows and outflows of money measured over a specific period of time typically monthly for one to two years then annually for an additional one to three years.

cash flow from operating activities, or cash flow from profit

This equals the cash inflow from sales during the period minus the cash
outflow for expenses during the period. Keep in mind that to measure
net income, generally accepted accounting principles require the use of
accrual-basis accounting. Starting with the amount of accrual-basis net
income, adjustments are made for changes in accounts receivable,
inventories, prepaid expenses, and operating liabilities—and depreciation
expense is added back (as well as any other noncash outlay
expense)—to arrive at cash flow from profit, which is formally labeled
cash flow from operating activities in the externally reported statement
of cash flows.

Cash flow from operations

A firm's net cash inflow resulting directly from its regular operations
(disregarding extraordinary items such as the sale of fixed assets or transaction costs associated with issuing
securities), calculated as the sum of net income plus non-cash expenses that were deducted in calculating net

Cash flow matching

Also called dedicating a portfolio, this is an alternative to multiperiod immunization in
which the manager matches the maturity of each element in the liability stream, working backward from the
last liability to assure all required cash flows.

Cash flow per common share

Cash flow from operations minus preferred stock dividends, divided by the
number of common shares outstanding.

Cash Flow Provided by Operating Activities

With some exceptions, the cash effects of transactions
that enter into the determination of net income, such as cash receipts from sales of goods
and services and cash payments to suppliers and employees for acquisitions of inventory and

Cash Flow Provided or Used from Financing Activities

Cash receipts and payments involving
liability and stockholders' equity items, including obtaining cash from creditors and repaying
the amounts borrowed and obtaining capital from owners and providing them with a return on,
and a return of, their investments.

Cash Flow Provided or Used from Investing Activities

Cash receipts and payments involving
long-term assets, including making and collecting loans and acquiring and disposing of
investments and productive long-lived assets.


A statement that shows where a company’s cash came from and where it went for a period of time, such as a year.

Cash Flow statement

A financial report that shows the movement in cash for a business during an accounting period.

Cash flow time-line

Line depicting the operating activities and cash flows for a firm over a particular period.

Cash Flow–to–Income Ratio (CFI)

Adjusted cash flow provided by continuing operations
divided by adjusted income from continuing operations.


A section on the cash-flow statement that shows how much cash a company raised by selling stocks or bonds this year and how much was paid out for cash dividends and other finance-related obligations.


A section on the cashflow statement that shows how much cash came in and went out because of various investing activities like purchasing machinery.


A section on the cash-flow Stockholders’ equity statement that shows how much cash came into a company and how much went out during the normal course of business.

Circular Flow

Income payments to factors of production are spent to buy output. The receipts from these sales are used to pay factors of production, creating a circular flow of income.

Completed-Contract Method

A contract accounting method that recognizes contract revenue
only when the contract is completed. All contract costs are accumulated and reported as expense
when the contract revenue is recognized.

Conventional pass-throughs

Also called private-label pass-throughs, any mortgage pass-through security not
guaranteed by government agencies. Compare agency pass-throughs.

Current rate method

Under this currency translation method, all foreign currency balance-sheet and income
statement items are translated at the current exchange rate.

Direct estimate method

A method of cash budgeting based on detailed estimates of cash receipts and cash
disbursements category by category.

Direct method

A method of preparing the operating section of the Statement of Cash flows that uses the company’s actual cash inflows and cash outflows.

direct method

a service department cost allocation approach
that assigns service department costs directly to revenueproducing
areas with only one set of intermediate cost
pools or allocations

Direct-Method Format

A format for the operating section of the cash-flow statement that reports actual cash receipts and cash disbursements from operating activities.

Direct write-off method

A method of adjusting accounts receivable to the amount that is expected to be collected by eliminating the account balances of specific nonpaying customers.

Discounted cash flow

A technique that determines the present value of future cash
flows by applying a rate to each periodic cash flow that is derived from the cost of
capital. Multiplying this discount by each future cash flow results in an amount that
is the present value of all the future cash flows.

Discounted Cash Flow

Techniques for establishing the relative worth of a future investment by discounting (at a required rate of return) the expected net cash flows from the project.

Discounted cash flow (DCF)

Future cash flows multiplied by discount factors to obtain present values.

Discounted cash flow (DCF)

A method of investment appraisal that discounts future cash flows to present value using a discount rate, which is the risk-adjusted cost of capital.

discounted cash flow (DCF)

Refers to a capital investment analysis technique
that discounts, or scales down, the future cash returns from an
investment based on the cost-of-capital rate for the business. In essence,
each future return is downsized to take into account the cost of capital
from the start of the investment until the future point in time when the
return is received. Present value (PV) is the amount resulting from discounting
the future returns. Present value is subtracted from the entry
cost of the investment to determine net present value (NPV). The net
present value is positive if the present value is more than the entry cost,
which signals that the investment would earn more than the cost-ofcapital
rate. If the entry cost is more than the present value, the net
present value is negative, which means that the investment would earn
less than the business’s cost-of-capital rate.

Discretionary cash flow

Cash flow that is available after the funding of all positive NPV capital investment
projects; it is available for paying cash dividends, repurchasing common stock, retiring debt, and so on.

dividend growth method

a method of computing the cost
of common stock equity that indicates the rate of return
that common shareholders expect to earn in the form of
dividends on a company’s common stock

Equity Method

Accounting method for an equity security in cases where the investor has sufficient
voting interest to have significant influence over the operating and financial policies of an

Equivalent annual cash flow

Annuity with the same net present value as the company's proposed investment.

Expected future cash flows

Projected future cash flows associated with an asset of decision.

FIFO method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that computes an average cost per equivalent
unit of production for the current period; keeps beginning
inventory units and costs separate from current period production
and costs

First in, first-out costing method (FIFO)

A process costing methodology that assigns the earliest
cost of production and materials to those units being sold, while the latest costs
of production and materials are assigned to those units still retained in inventory.

First-In, First-Out (FIFO) Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that
assigns the earliest inventory acquisition costs to cost of goods sold. The most recent inventory
acquisition costs are assumed to remain in ending inventory.

Flow-through basis

An account for the investment credit to show all income statement benefits of the credit
in the year of acquisition, rather than spreading them over the life of the asset acquired.

Flower bond

Government bonds that are acceptable at par in payment of federal estate taxes when owned by
the decedent at the time of death.

free cash flow

Generally speaking, this term refers to cash flow from
profit (cash flow from operating activities, to use the more formal term).
The underlying idea is that a business is free to do what it wants with its
cash flow from profit. However, a business usually has many ongoing
commitments and demands on this cash flow, so it may not actually be
free to decide what do with this source of cash. Warning: This term is
not officially defined anywhere and different persons use the term to
mean different things. Pay particular attention to how an author or
speaker is using the term.

Free Cash Flow

The funds available for distribution to the capital providers of the
company after investments inside the company have been made

Free cash flows

Cash not required for operations or for reinvestment. Often defined as earnings before
interest (often obtained from operating income line on the income statement) less capital expenditures less the
change in working capital.

Full-Cost Method

A method of accounting for petroleum exploration and development expenditures
that permits capitalization of all such expenditures, including those leading to productive
as well as nonproductive wells.

Fully modified pass-throughs

Agency pass-throughs that guarantee the timely payment of both interest and
principal. Related: modified pass-throughs
Functional currency As defined by FASB No. 52, an affiliate's functional currency is the currency of the
primary economic environment in which the affiliate generates and expends cash.

high-low method

a technique used to determine the fixed
and variable portions of a mixed cost; it uses only the highest
and lowest levels of activity within the relevant range

Incremental cash flows

Difference between the firm's cash flows with and without a project.

Indirect method

A method of preparing the operating section of the Statement of Cash flows that does not use the company’s actual cash inflows and cash outflows, but instead arrives at the net cash flow by taking net income and adjusting it for noncash expenses and the changes from last year in the current assets and current liabilities.

Indirect-Method Format

A format for the operating section of the cash-flow statement that
presents the derivation of cash flow provided by operating activities. The format starts with net
income and adjusts for all nonoperating items and all noncash expenses and changes in working capital accounts.

judgmental method (of risk adjustment)

an informal method of adjusting for risk that allows the decision maker
to use logic and reason to decide whether a project provides
an acceptable rate of return

Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that assigns the most recent inventory acquisition costs to cost of goods sold. The earliest inventory
acquisition costs are assumed to remain in ending inventory.

Log-linear least-squares method

A statistical technique for fitting a curve to a set of data points. One of the
variables is transformed by taking its logarithm, and then a straight line is fitted to the transformed set of data

method of least squares

see least squares regression analysis

method of neglect

a method of treating spoiled units in the
equivalent units schedule as if those units did not occur;
it is used for continuous normal spoilage

modified FIFO method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that uses FIFO to compute a cost per
equivalent unit but, in transferring units from a department,
the costs of the beginning inventory units and the
units started and completed are combined and averaged

Modified pass-throughs

Agency pass-throughs that guarantee (1) timely interest payments and (2) principal
payments as collected, but no later than a specified time after they are due. Related: fully modified passthroughs

Monetary / non-monetary method

Under this translation method, monetary items (e.g. cash, accounts
payable and receivable, and long-term debt) are translated at the current rate while non-monetary items (e.g.
inventory, fixed assets, and long-term investments) are translated at historical rates.

Mortgage pass-through security

Also called a passthrough, a security created when one or more mortgage
holders form a collection (pool) of mortgages sells shares or participation certificates in the pool. The cash
flow from the collateral pool is "passed through" to the security holder as monthly payments of principal,
interest, and prepayments. This is the predominant type of MBS traded in the secondary market.

Moving average inventory method

An inventory costing methodology that calls for the re-calculation of the average cost of all parts in stock after every purchase.
Therefore, the moving average is the cost of all units subsequent to the latest purchase,
divided by their total cost.

negative cash flow

The cash flow from the operating activities of a business
can be negative, which means that its cash balance decreased from
its sales and expense activities during the period. When a business is
operating at a loss instead of making a profit, its cash outflows for
expenses very likely may be more than its cash inflow from sales. Even
when a business makes a profit for the period, its cash inflow from sales
could be considerably less than the sales revenue recorded for the
period, thus causing a negative cash flow for the period. Caution: This
term also is used for certain types of investments in which the net cash
flow from all sources and uses is negative. For example, investors in
rental real estate properties often use the term to mean that the cash
inflow from rental income is less than all cash outflows during the
period, including payments on the mortgage loan on the property.

net present value method

a process that uses the discounted
cash flows of a project to determine whether the
rate of return on that project is equal to, higher than, or
lower than the desired rate of return

Net Present Value (NPV) Method

A method of ranking investment proposals. NPV is equal to the present value of the future returns, discounted at the marginal cost of capital, minus the present value of the cost of the investment.

Nominal cash flow

A cash flow expressed in nominal terms if the actual dollars to be received or paid out are given.

Normalizing method

The practice of making a charge in the income account equivalent to the tax savings
realized through the use of different depreciation methods for shareholder and income tax purposes, thus
washing out the benefits of the tax savings reported as final net income to shareholders.

NPV (net present value of cash flows)

Same as PV, but usually includes a subtraction for an initial cash outlay.

Operating cash flow

Earnings before depreciation minus taxes. It measures the cash generated from
operations, not counting capital spending or working capital requirements.

operating cash flow

See cash flow from operating activities.

Operating Cash Flow

Income available after the payment of taxes, plus the value of the
non-cash expenses

operations flow document

a document listing all operations
necessary to produce one unit of product (or perform
a specific service) and the corresponding time allowed
for each operation

Pass-through coupon rate

The interest rate paid on a securitized pool of assets, which is less than the rate
paid on the underlying loans by an amount equal to the servicing and guaranteeing fees.

Pass-through rate

The net interest rate passed through to investors after deducting servicing, management,
and guarantee fees from the gross mortgage coupon.

Pass-through securities

A pool of fixed-income securities backed by a package of assets (i.e. mortgages)
where the holder receives the principal and interest payments. Related: mortgage pass-through security

Payable through drafts

A method of making payment that is used to maintain control over payments made
on behalf of the firm by personnel in noncentral locations. The payer's bank delivers the payable through draft
to the payer, which must approve it and return it to the bank before payment can be received.

Payback method

A capital budgeting analysis method that calculates the amount of
time it will take to recoup the investment in a capital asset, with no regard for the
time cost of money.

Percentage-of-Completion Method

A contract accounting method that recognizes contract
revenue and contract expenses as progress toward completion is made.

Price-specie-flow mechanism

Adjustment mechanism under the classical gold standard whereby
disturbances in the price level in one country would be wholly or partly offset by a countervailing flow of
specie (gold coins) that would act to equalize prices across countries and automatically bring international
payments back in balance.

Private-label pass-throughs

Related: Conventional pass-throughs.

Process flow production

A production configuration in which products are continually
manufactured with minimal pauses or queuing.

Production-flow commitment

An agreement by the loan purchaser to allow the monthly loan quota to be
delivered in batches.

Purchase method

Accounting for an acquisition using market value for the consolidation of the two entities'
net assets on the balance sheet. Generally, depreciation/amortization will increase for this method compared
with pooling and will result in lower net income.

Purchase method

An accounting method used to combine the financial statements of
companies. This involves recording the acquired assets at fair market value, and the
excess of the purchase price over this value as goodwill, which will be amortized
over time.

PV (present value of cash flows)

the value in today’s dollars of cash flows that occur in different time periods.
present value factor equal to the formula 1/(1 - r)n, where n is the number of years from the valuation date to the cash flow and r is the discount rate.
For business valuation, n should usually be midyear, i.e., n = 0.5, 1.5, . . .







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