Incremental cash flow


Small businesses need to generate cash constantly to pay operating costs and keep their doors open. So when you have a choice between multiple projects, how do you decide which one to take on? This is where incremental cash flow comes into play. It indicates how much money your business can make from certain projects. 

What is incremental cash flow?

An incremental cash flow refers to the additional cash flow that a company generates from a new project or initiative. This extra cash flow can be used to finance other projects, expand the business, or pay down debt.

A positive incremental cash flow indicates that your project will result in a larger cash inflow than cash outflow, which means you'll see an increase in your cash balance. In contrast, a negative incremental cash flow indicates that the project will result in a larger cash outflow than inflow, suggesting that you will see a decrease in your cash balance.

How to calculate incremental cash flow?

To calculate incremental cash flow, use the formula below:

Incremental cash flow = ​​(Revenue - Expenses) - Initial Cost

This formula can calculate the incremental cash flow from any new project or initiative. Just remember to include all relevant costs, including initial cost and initial cash outlay, and revenue streams when performing your calculations.

Why is incremental cash flow analysis important?

Incremental cash flow analysis is essential to businesses because it helps measure the financial impact of business decisions. By understanding the incremental cash flow of a proposed project, companies can make more informed decisions about whether or not to proceed with it.

Calculating the incremental cash flow of potential investments or projects can ultimately lead to better business decisions and long-term improvements in your net cash flow.

You can get that information in minutes by using AI forecasting software to predict your business's future cash flow.

Advantages of Incremental Cash Flow

As mentioned above, ICF allows you to identify the opportunities/business operations that will increase your cash balance.

Disadvantages of Incremental Cash Flow

There are also some limitations to using the incremental cash flow approach. One limitation is that it can be difficult to forecast future cash flows accurately.

Moreover, the incremental cash flow does not account for risk. This means that it does not consider the possibility of losses or unexpected expenses. There may be external factors that affect incremental cash flows but are not accounted for in your calculations.

You can counter these by using a forecasting tool to create an AI-assisted and automated cash flow forecast. 

What is the difference between incremental cash flow and free cash flow?

An incremental cash flow refers to the additional cash flow that a company generates from a new project or initiative. Free cash flow is the amount of money left over after expenses have been paid to cover income, dividends, and any other financial obligations. It's also used to measure a company's ability to pay back debt when it takes on new debt.

For example, if a company borrows $100 million and has $20 million in free cash flow at the end of the year, that $20 million would be used to pay off the debt and then have $80 million left over for investments.


Incremental cash flow calculation and analysis allow companies and business owners to decide whether or not to take on projects or make an initial investment with a positive incremental cash flow or reject those with a negative incremental cash flow.

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