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Corporate finance deals with the strategic financial issues associated with achieving this goal, such as how the corporation should raise and manage its capital, what investments the firm should make, what portion of profits should be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends, and whether it makes sense to merge with or acquire another firm.
Balance Sheet Approach to Valuation If the role of management is to increase the shareholder value, then managers can make better decisions if they can predict the impact of those decisions on the firm's value.
By observing the difference in the firm's equity value at different points in time, one can better evaluate the effectiveness of financial decisions.
A rudimentary way of valuing the equity of a company is simply to take its balance sheet and subtract liabilities from assets to arrive at the equity value. However, this book value has little resemblance to the real value of the company. First, the assets are recorded at historical costs, which may be much greater than or much less their present market values.
Second, assets such as patents, trademarks, loyal customers, and talented managers do not appear on the balance sheet but may have a significant impact on the firm's ability to generate future profits. So while the balance sheet method is simple, it is not accurate; there are better ways of accomplishing the task of valuation.
Profits Another way to value the firm is to consider the future flow of cash. Since cash today is worth more than the same amount of cash tomorrow, a valuation model based on cash flow can discount the value of cash received in future years, thus providing a more accurate picture of the true impact of financial decisions.
Decisions about finances affect operations and vice versa; a company's finances and operations are interrelated. The firm's working capital flows in a cycle, beginning with cash that may be converted into equipment and raw materials.
Additional cash is used to convert the raw materials into inventory, which then is converted into accounts receivable and eventually back to cash, completing the cycle.
The goal is to have more cash at the end of the cycle than at the beginning. The change in cash is different from accounting profits.
A company can report consistent profits but still become insolvent. For example, if the firm extends customers increasingly longer periods of time to settle their accounts, even though the reported earnings do not change, the cash flow will decrease. As another example, take the case of a firm that produces more product than it sells, a situation that results in the accumulation of inventory.
In such a situation, the inventory will appear as an asset on the balance sheet, but does not result in profit or loss. Even though the inventory was not sold, cash nonetheless was consumed in producing it.
Note also the distinction between cash and equity. Shareholders' equity is the sum of common stock at par value, additional paid-in capital, and retained earnings.
Some people have been known to picture retained earnings as money sitting in a shoe box or bank account. But shareholders' equity is on the opposite side of the balance sheet from cash.
In fact, retained earnings represent shareholders' claims on the assets of the firm, and do not represent cash that can be used if the cash balance gets too low. In this regard, one can say that retained earnings represent cash that already has been spent. Shareholder equity changes due to three things: Changes in cash are reported by the cash flow statement, which organizes the sources and uses of cash into three categories: Cash Cycle The duration of the cash cycle is the time between the date the inventory or raw materials is paid for and the date the cash is collected from the sale of the inventory.
A company's cash cycle is important because it affects the need for financing. The cash cycle is calculated as: Sales increase while the cash cycle remains fixed in duration.
Increased sales increase the value of assets in the cycle. Sales remain flat but the cash cycle increases in duration.Learn when companies announce their quarterly, annual earnings.
See the latest EPS estimates. Listen to the conference call and remind yourself by adding it to your calendar. Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for State and Federal Elections; Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).
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For nearly 20 years, since the emergence of PCs, Lotus , and Microsoft Excel in the 's, spreadsheet models have been the dominant vehicles for finance professionals in the business world to implement their financial knowledge.
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