Free Cash Flow: Seeing Through the Accounting Fog Machine to Find Great Stocks (Wiley Finance)
This book shows how to use Free Cash Flow to increase investor return. The author explains the differences between Free Cash Flow and GAAP earnings and lays out the disadvantages of GAAP EPS and the advantages of Free Cash Flow. After taking the reader step-by-step through the author's Free Cash Flow version of the GAAP income statement, the book illustrates with simple formulas how each of the four deployments of Free Cash Flow can enhance or diminish shareholder return. The book applies the conceptual building blocks of Free Cash Flow and investor return to an actual company: McDonald's. The reader is taken line-by-line through the author's investor return spreadsheet model: (1) three years of McDonald's historical financial statements are modeled; (2) a one-year projection of McDonald's Free Cash Flow and investor return is modeled. Five companies are compared to McDonald's and each other using both Free Cash Flow and GAAP metrics.
Easy to understand cash flow analysis.
By Ratatosk - May 15, 2009
This book is about cash flow analysis with emphasis on how much excess cash is generated by a company, also known as the Free Cash Flow, and which may deviate significantly from the reported Net Income hence revealing that a company is either more or less profitable than its Net Income suggests. For the most part the book is well written and easy to read.
The book was written by a former banker who focused on whether a company generated enough cash to repay its debt. I like that angle and combined with the book's simple language it is the best book for analysing cash flows that I am aware of. The book could however be improved in a few places which is why I haven't given it 5 stars. In particular I would have liked a deeper explanation and discussion of why the author has chosen that particular definition of Free Cash Flow as opposed to other definitions, e.g. why working capital changes are included since these may also be of a non-recurring nature. I would also have liked... read more
Cash is king
By graham - September 20, 2009
Bruce Berkowitz sums it up best on the cover, follow the cash and you can value the business. I found the book excellent in leading you through the balance and income statements and most importantly deciphering just how much cash is being generated. The free cash flow talked about in the book seems to approximate Buffet's "owners earning" but it helps in dealing with the tricky aspect of adjusting those earnings to deal with the full business cycle. The book references excel sample sheets throughout and details the methodology behind them in a clear and concise manner, this is not to say it is easy, sometimes you really have to think, but the answers are there. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and have made several very successful investments using it as part of my toolset to value a business. Highly recommended
Oversimplification creates problems
By R. Reece - August 21, 2009
The author's definition of operating cash flow (from which he derives a profit margin that is important in his selection process) has a major flaw. In excluding all working capital changes from operating cash flow, his model misevaluates companies that are forced to make large accruals for deferred revenue. Any company that recognizes revenue ratably (over the term of a contract) falls in this category. Changes in deferred revenue accruals flow back into cash flow in the working capital line. This is one of the most important adjustments one must make to understand the earnings of companies with ratable revenue recognition.
The simplistic analysis of capital expenditures also causes many problems that lead one to cast out too many good stocks. Take for example WMS, a maker of slot machines. By the author's method, free cash flow is down 24% year over year. Why is the stock up about 40% over that span? A large chunk of WMS's capex is the cost of machines that are... read more