Cash-Flow Reporting Practices for Customer-Related Notes Receivable
Mulford, Charles W.
Ely, Michael L.
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A sale made on open account boosts net income but does not provide operating cash flow until the related amount due from the customer has been collected. Accordingly, in computing operating cash flow, subtractions must be made from net income for increases in accounts receivable. While there is general agreement on the reporting treatment for changes in accounts receivable in the computation of operating cash flow, reporting practices differ when customers are offered more formal repayment arrangements, for example, in the form of notes receivable. Some companies include such customer-related receivables in the computation of operating cash flow, while others report them in the investing section. Reporting such receivables as investing cash flow results in higher operating cash flow when the balance of such receivables is rising. As a result, the potential exists for a misimpression of a company’s operating performance. In this study we highlight cash-flow reporting practices for such customer-related receivables.