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  • Writer's pictureBrian R. Schobel, CPA

Cash Flow vs. Profit: The Basics for Business Owners

Let's talk about two key terms in business finance: cash flow and profit. They might sound similar, but they're actually quite different.

Cash Flow:

  • What Is It? This is all about the money coming in and going out of your business.

  • Why It Matters: Positive cash flow means you have more money coming in than going out, which is great for paying bills and growing your business. Negative cash flow means the opposite – more money going out than coming in.


  • What Is It? Profit is what you have left after you pay all your expenses. It's your revenue minus your costs.

  • Types of Profit:

  • Gross Profit: Your sales minus the cost of making your product or service.

  • Net Profit: What’s left after all expenses (like rent, salaries, and taxes) are paid.

Why It Matters:

  • Profit shows if your business model works and if you're making more money than you spend.

Understanding the Difference:

  • A business can have good cash flow and still not be profitable (if your incoming cash is just loans or temporary).

  • Similarly, you can be profitable but have bad cash flow if, for instance, your customers are slow to pay.

Why Both Are Important:

  • Cash Flow: Keeps your business running day-to-day.

  • Profit: Shows the long-term viability of your business.


Both cash flow and profit are crucial to understand. They tell you different things about your business’s health and are essential for making smart financial decisions.

Need Expert Guidance?

Navigating the complexities of cash flow and profit can be challenging. At BRS CPA, we’re committed to helping you understand and manage these essential financial components. Our team of experts is ready to provide personalized advice and solutions tailored to your business needs. Reach out to BRS CPA today for financial clarity and growth!

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