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# Direct vs Indirect Cash Flow Methods

Updated on April 30, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited bySusmita Pathak
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Direct and indirect are the two different methods used for the preparation of the cash flow statement of the companies, with the main difference relating to the cash flows from the operating activities. In contrast, in the case of the direct cash flow method, changes in the cash receipts and the cash payments are reported in cash flows from the operating activities section. In contrast, in the case of the indirect cash flow method, changes in assets and liabilities accounts are adjusted in the net income to arrive at cash flows from the operating activities.

## Direct vs. Indirect Cash Flow Differences

The cash flow statement contains three activities, namely operating, investing, and financing. Usually, the investing and financing sections are calculated similarly.

But when it comes to calculating , two methods of calculation are majorly used – indirect method and direct method.

For eg:
Source: Direct vs Indirect Cash Flow Methods (wallstreetmojo.com)

• The indirect method of cash flow uses net income as the base. It makes the necessary adjustments, i.e., adding and subtracting the variables to convert the total net income to cash from operations.
• The direct method of cash flow in includes the cash being received from the customers and the cash paid to the suppliers, employees, and others. The cash can also be paid for income tax, interest, and other variables.
• The direct cash flow method starts with cash transactions such as cash received and cash paid while ignoring the non-cash transactions.
• Indirect cash flow method, on the other hand, the calculation starts from the net income, and then we go along adjusting the rest.

### Direct and Indirect Cash Flow Methods Infographics

Here are the top 7 difference between Direct and Indirect Cash Flow Methods

For eg:
Source: Direct vs Indirect Cash Flow Methods (wallstreetmojo.com)

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### Direct Cash Flow vs. Indirect Cash Flow Method  Key Differences

Here are the key differences between direct vs. indirect cash flow methods–

• One of the key differences between direct cash flow vs. indirect cash flow method is the type of transactions used to produce a cash flow statement. The indirect method uses net income as the base and converts the income into the cash flow through adjustments. The direct method only takes the cash transactions into account and produces the cash flow from operations.
• The cash flow indirect method makes sure to automatically convert the net income in terms of cash flow. The cash flow direct method, on the other hand, records the cash transactions separately and then produces the cash flow statement.
• The cash flow indirect method needs preparation as the adjustments that are made require time. The preparation time for the cash flow direct method isn’t much since it only uses cash transactions.
• The accuracy of the cash flow indirect method is a little less as it uses adjustments. The cash flow direct method is more accurate as adjustments are not used here.

So, what are the differences between direct and indirect cash flow methods? First, let’s look at the head-to-head differences between the direct and indirect cash flow methods.

Here are the basic differences between direct vs. indirect cash flow methods

### Direct vs. Indirect Cash Flow Method – Conclusion

The direct vs. indirect cash flow method is useful at different points, and it can be used depending on the situation and the requirement. The indirect method is the most popular among companies. But it takes a lot of time to prepare (before recording), and it’s not very accurate as many adjustments are used.

On the other hand, the direct method doesn’t need any preparation time other than segregating the cash transactions from the non-cash transactions. And it’s more accurate than the indirect method.

This article has guided the top differences between direct and indirect cash flow methods. Here, we discuss key differences between direct vs. indirect cash flow methods with infographics and a comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles –