Sunday Oseiweh Ogbeide (PhD), Olufunke Yemi Owolabi (PhD)


The concept of profit is often seen as the ultimate measure of success for a business. However, some argue that profit is merely an illusion and that cash is the ultimate reality in a business. This paper explores the idea that profit can be misleading and that cash flow is a more accurate measure of a company's financial health. Profit is defined as the difference between revenue and expenses over a specific period. However, this measure does not take into account the timing of cash inflows and outflows. A company may show a profit on its income statement, but if it has significant accounts receivable or inventory, it may not have enough cash to meet its current obligations. In contrast, cash flow is the movement of cash in and out of a business, and it reflects the actual cash available to a company at any given time. The paper argues that focusing solely on profit can lead to poor financial decision-making. For example, a company may pursue sales that generate a high profit margin but require significant upfront costs, resulting in negative cash flow. Conversely, a company may opt for lower-profit sales that generate immediate cash flow and are less risky. The paper also discusses how cash flow is critical in determining a company's ability to invest in growth opportunities, pay off debt, and distribute dividends to shareholders. A company with a positive cash flow has the financial flexibility to weather economic downturns, make strategic investments, and return value to its shareholders. In conclusion, profit is not a reliable indicator of a company's financial health, and cash flow is a more accurate measure of a company's ability to meet its financial obligations and pursue growth opportunities. While profit is essential, it should not be the sole focus of a company's financial strategy. Companies must prioritize cash flow management to ensure they have the resources to achieve long-term success.


Profit, Illusion, Cash, Cash flow, Shareholder Wealth, Financial Risk, Financial Success.

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