16 Feb 2024

10 Best Cash Flow Metrics to Track for Business Health

Subhasis Sahoo (Founding Member - Marketing)

Cash is the lifeblood of any business. Understanding how efficiently you generate and utilize cash is crucial for making informed financial decisions, ensuring operational stability, and supporting growth. Operating cash flow metrics provide valuable insights into this critical aspect of your business.

This blog dives into 10 key metrics you should be tracking and explains how they can help you assess your financial health and identify areas for improvement.

1. Operating Cash Flow:

The starting point, OCF measures the net cash generated by your core business operations. It reflects your ability to convert sales into cash after accounting for operating expenses like cost of goods sold, administrative costs, and depreciation. A positive OCF indicates your business is generating enough cash to cover its expenses and reinvest in growth.

2. Days Sales Outstanding (DSO):

This metric reflects the average time it takes for your customers to pay their invoices. A high DSO indicates slow collections and potential cash flow issues. Strategies like offering early payment discounts or tightening credit policies can help reduce DSO.

3. Days Payable Outstanding (DPO):

This metric measures the average time you take to pay your suppliers. Stretching DPO can improve your short-term cash flow, but it can also damage relationships with suppliers and potentially impact future purchases. Balancing DPO with maintaining good supplier relations is crucial.

4. Accounts Receivable Turnover (ART):

This metric shows how many times you collect on your accounts receivable (customer invoices) within a given period. A higher ART indicates faster collection and improved cash flow efficiency. Strategies like invoicing promptly and offering electronic payments can increase ART.

5. Accounts Payable Turnover (APT):

This metric measures how efficiently you utilize your accounts payable (supplier invoices) to finance your operations. A higher APT indicates you’re taking full advantage of supplier credit terms, potentially improving cash flow. However, exceeding your credit terms can damage supplier relationships and incur late fees.

6. Current Ratio:

This metric compares your current assets (convertible to cash within a year) to your current liabilities (due within a year). A ratio above 1 indicates sufficient liquidity to meet short-term obligations. However, a very high ratio might suggest inefficient use of cash.

7. Free Cash Flow (FCF):

This metric reflects the cash remaining after accounting for all operating and investing expenses. It represents the cash available for dividends, debt repayment, or further investments. A positive FCF indicates your business is generating enough cash to sustain itself and grow.

8. Cash Flow Coverage Ratio (CFCR):

This metric measures your ability to cover your operating expenses with operating cash flow. A ratio above 1 indicates sufficient OCF to meet operating needs. This is crucial for assessing your ability to service debt obligations.

9. Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC):

This metric measures the time it takes to convert one dollar of inventory and receivables into cash from sales. A shorter CCC indicates more efficient cash flow management. Analyzing and optimizing the CCC can unlock significant cash flow improvements.

10. Operating Cash Flow Margin:

This metric expresses your OCF as a percentage of your revenue. A higher margin indicates better conversion of sales into cash. Comparing this metric across industries and over time can provide valuable insights into your cash generation efficiency.

Beyond the Metrics:

While these metrics are valuable, it’s important to consider them in context. Industry benchmarks, historical trends, and your business model should be factored into your analysis. Regularly tracking these metrics and analyzing them alongside other financial data will provide a holistic view of your financial health and cash flow management effectiveness.


  • Benchmarking: Compare your metrics against industry standards and your own historical performance to identify areas for improvement.
  • Trend analysis: Analyzing trends over time can reveal underlying issues or positive developments.
  • Holistic view: Don’t rely solely on individual metrics. Consider them in conjunction with other financial data for a complete picture.
  • Continuous monitoring: Regularly track these metrics to identify potential issues early and take corrective action.

By effectively utilizing these key OCF metrics, you gain a deeper understanding of your financial health, make informed decisions, and optimize your cash flow for sustainable growth and success.

Track these metrics now and Improve your cash flow today! Book a demo now.