The cash flow statement is one of the easier ones to read. It is also the statement that counts the most because cash flows are important and because it is hard to fool around with the cash flow statement. Cash Flow is not like earnings where earnings (EPS) are rather a fake number. The value of the EPS is that it allows people to compare different stocks on the same basis.
The value of the Cash Flow Statements is it is not a vulnerable to manipulation as other statements can be. (Also please note that accounting is more art than science.) When determining cash flow per share, analysts often will exclude changes in working capital in calculating Cash Flow from operations, no matter what the company does in their annual reports.
If we do not exclude working capital form the Cash Flow from operations, the cash flow we are looking at may not properly reflect how a company is doing. Note that changes in working capital are changes in current assets and current liabilities.
You can generally find financial statements at a company's site. (I always include a company's website when I review a stock.) I need information from the cash flow statements for my spreadsheets in order for me to analyze a stock. Also Google Financial and Globe and Mail Investing both analyze and give a breakdown of financial statements for many companies.
For a good explanation of the cash flow statement items look at information on Investors Friend. There is also an Investopedia article that talks about why Cash Flow is better than Net Income as a metric of a company's financial health .
This blog is meant for educational purposes only, and is not to provide investment advice. Before making any investment decision, you should always do your own research or consult an investment professional. See my site for an index to these blog entries and for stocks followed. Follow me on Twitter.