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Profits and cash are often found to be used interchangeably, although they denote different components within a business.
Profit denotes the financial gain, or amount of money a business has left over, after all expenses incurred in operations have been paid. If a business earns amount x in revenue for a project and also spends all of it towards expenses incurred in executing that project, there is zero financial gain.
In contrast, cash is a term used to denote money that is liquid, or available for immediate use. Any financial gain left over after paying up all expenses, and which can translate into money available for immediate use can be termed cash.
Profit is a term that lends itself easily to misunderstandings. Having made a profit may not necessarily indicate a ready reserve of cash. Profits may still remain locked in terms of unpaid invoices, payment dues not yet cleared by customers or money owed to the business but not yet paid. As a result, a successful sale or completion of a project may show up in the business books as profit, but if the customer has not paid for the past three months, the profit does not translate into cash or financial gain, even as expenses on the account continue, in case it is an ongoing project.
The Critical Points Of Difference
Probably the single biggest differentiator in this case would be: Cash is an ingredient essential to business formation. Profit comes in after this; cash is used to first set up the business operations, lease or buy premises, hire people, and pursue project executions to earn revenue. If the revenue earned covers the operational expenses and yet leaves the business with some cash, then a profit has been made.
Here are some points to illustrate the difference between these two terms better:
Confusion Between Profit And Cash
When talking in terms of business, the terms ‘profit’ and ‘cash’ are often used interchangeably. The implication probably being that profits translate into cash, eventually. But this should not be taken to mean that cash components are the more important of the two. If cash is a short-term necessity, profit is a long-term goal for business sustainability.
By definition, if there is no profit being made over a period of time, the cash will eventually dwindle. Without an inflow of cash, investments into the business dwindle as well, and the business may finally collapse. Conversely, pursuing profit alone may not be able to catapult a business onto a higher place on the growth curve. When a business pursues profit, cash is required in equal measures to sustain it in the form of more investment of say, premises, equipment and infrastructure, skilled staff, etc.
Ensuring A Balance
Consistent profits are the first step to business growth as cash reserves grow and there is more money to invest back into the business.
There are several ways to ensure a balance is achieved between profit and cash:
At Analytix, we help our clients from diverse industries explore different ways of streamlining operations so that profitability increases and cash flow is managed better. If you would like to learn more about creating stronger cash flow, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 781.503.9002.
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