Cash Definition

Cash is a physical currency and coins, as well as funds held in bank accounts, that a company uses to conduct transactions, make payments, and cover expenses.

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The most common cash definition is calling cash “the physical form of money.” While the term “cash” typically refers to bills or coins, it can also mean bank accounts, checks, or other money that is easily converted to physical cash. 

A cash definition often used in business refers to anything that a company can easily liquidate as cash. For instance, a company’s cash account includes all currency, coins, bank deposits, checking accounts, and savings accounts a company owns.

What is cash?

The business definition of cash is what we’re most concerned with here today. You’re probably familiar with the idea that cash means currency and coins. But as an entrepreneur, wrapping your mind around the idea that the cash definition also includes bank accounts and deposits can take some getting used to.

From an accounting perspective, cash refers to the company’s current assets. Additionally, cash means any assets that can be turned into cash within one year. Likewise, a business’s cash flow (also known as a cash flow statement) shows the company’s net amount of cash. A cash flow statement is a snapshot of a company’s cash position after adding and subtracting incoming and outgoing cash and assets.

Understanding Cash

Cash is a simple, widely-accepted, and reliable form of payment. Where credit card companies require additional systems, fees, and internet connections in order to process customer transactions, cash handling simply requires a bit of arithmetic and a locked drawer. However, fewer people carry cash these days. This is partly due to the convenience of modern banking systems and the inconvenience of obtaining and carrying currency or bills. 

That said, while it seems like paper money may have been around forever, this isn’t true. Paper currency dates back only to around the 18th century, and it has no inherent value like a gold coin might have. Instead, the value of paper bills is set by people’s faith in the government or bank supporting the currency. However, this ability of a government to determine the price of its currency can affect inflation and consumer prices.

If prices become inflated, there can be a mismatch between the price of goods and the value of cash. Examples of cash’s value becoming unlinked with price is in economies where it costs $100,000 to buy a carton of eggs. This happens because inflation is so high that currency has become virtually worthless.

Cash: Summary

  • Cash can refer to physical legal tender that can be used to exchange for goods and services or to settle debts.
  • Cash can also mean anything that a company can easily liquidate.
  • A cash flow statement is a snapshot of a company’s cash position after adding and subtracting incoming and outgoing cash and assets.
  • Cash has been used for as long as people have traded for goods and services. However, paper bills have only been around since about the 18th century.

How We Can Help Your Small Business

Ready to use your cash to finally start that business you’ve been dreaming about? We can help get your business up and running. Our Corporate and LLC Formation services can help you set up your company. What’s more, our complete suite of business services, from Worry-Free Compliance Service to ZenBusiness Money, can help your company stay on track. And once you’re up and running, our Accounting Basics for Your Small Business can help you gain the confidence you need to keep track of your money in your business bank accounts.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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