What is Cash Flow Per Share?

Cash flow per share represents the portion of a company's cash flow allocated to each share of common stock.

How Do You Calculate Cash Flow Per Share?

Cash flow per share can be calculated by dividing cash flow earned in a given reporting period (usually quarterly or annually) by the total number of shares outstanding during the same term. Because the number of shares outstanding can fluctuate, a weighted average is typically used.

The formula for cash flow per share is:

Cash Flow Per Share = (Cash Flow - Preferred Dividends) / Shares Outstanding

Let's assume that during the fourth quarter, Company XYZ reported cash flow of $4 million and distributed preferred dividends of $500,000. During the same time frame, the company had a total of 10 million shares outstanding. We calculate the company's quarterly cash flow per share as follows:

($4,000,000 - $500,000) / 10,000,000 = $0.35

Why Does Cash Flow per Share Matter?

Earnings per share (EPS) is a carefully scrutinized metric that is often used as a barometer to gauge a company's profitability per unit of shareholder ownership, but cash flow per share is even more important in some regards. Because of the nature of accounting rules, earnings can be easily manipulated, but cash flow is much harder to manipulate.

As such, even though EPS is a key driver of share prices, many analysts look to cash flow per share as a 'check' on the reasonableness of a company's valuation and stock price.

Ask an Expert about Cash Flow Per Share

All of our content is verified for accuracy by Paul Tracy and our team of certified financial experts. We pride ourselves on quality, research, and transparency, and we value your feedback. Below you'll find answers to some of the most common reader questions about Cash Flow Per Share.

Be the first to ask a question

If you have a question about Cash Flow Per Share, then please ask Paul.

Ask a question
Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy

Paul has been a respected figure in the financial markets for more than two decades. Prior to starting InvestingAnswers, Paul founded and managed one of the most influential investment research firms in America, with more than 3 million monthly readers.

Verified Content You Can Trust
verified   Certified Expertsverified   5,000+ Research Pagesverified   5+ Million Users