The Top Down Approach

Perhaps the most obvious way to calculate OCF is:

This is the top-down approach, the second variation on the basic OCF definition. Here, we start at the top of the income statement with sales and work our way down to net cash flow by subtracting costs, taxes, and other expenses. Along the way, we simply leave out any strictly noncash items such as depreciation.

For the shark attractant project, the operating cash flow can be readily calculated using the top-down approach. With sales of $200,000, total costs (fixed plus variable) of $137,000, and a tax bill of $11,220, the OCF is:

This is just as we had before.

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