How the Burn Rate Is a Key Factor in a Company’s Sustainability

how to calculate cash burn rate

Burn rate is a crucial metric that every startup needs to track diligently. ​​The term became ingrained in the business lexicon during the rise of startup culture, where many businesses undertake multiple investment rounds before achieving profitability. In between investment rounds, burn rate becomes a crucial metric as it dictates when additional funding stages need to take place in order to avoid insolvency. To figure out your cash runway (how long the company has until it runs out of cash), take the rest of the money left in the cash reserves and divide it by the burn rate.

how to calculate cash burn rate

Gross burn tells you the amount your company is spending on operating costs such as staff salaries, rent and equipment, per month. In this article, we’ll explain how to calculate gross and net burn rate the right way. We’ll also show you how to work out your cash runway, and I’ll take a look at how successful startup founders manage burn rate in the early years of their business.

Calculating Your Cash Burn Rate

The cash burn rate is the rate at which a company uses up its cash reserves or cash balance. Essentially, it’s a measure of negative cash flow, typically recorded as a monthly rate. For example, if you list your cash burn rate as $250,000 then you are stating that in a given month your business is spending $250,000. It can also be observed on a day-by-day or weekly basis if a crisis occurs and cash usage increases in order to keep your business afloat.

However, one factor that needs to be controlled is the variability in revenue. A fall in revenue with no change in costs can lead to a higher burn rate. The burn rate is used by startup companies and investors to track the amount of monthly cash that a company spends before it starts generating its own income. A company’s burn rate is also used as a measuring stick for what is termed its “runway”—the amount of time that the company has before it runs out of money. In terms of measuring your business’s financial health, cash burn rate is one of the most important metrics to consider. While this value is helpful for mature businesses managing established cash reserves, it is especially significant for startups with limited capital to cover overhead expenses.

Gross Burn Rate Calculation Example

Incase the burn rate is too high than the cash generation cycle of the company, it may create challenges for company to continue as going concern. On other hand, too low cash burn rate also indicates that company is not utilizing its funds to expand in business and stay in competition. Cash burn rate and cash runway is very critical for startup business to have an eye on its spending and devise strategy to achieve organization’s goals. Burn rate also indicate the management ability to utilize its available funds. Ben Brading is a chartered accountant and the founder of AquaSwitch. “Angel investors and Venture Capital funds are very comfortable with the idea of a big cash burn,” says Brading.

The negative total from the cash flow statement is how much money the startup is spending each month. The cash burn rate formula calculates how quickly your company spends its cash reserves in a specific period. If your monthly cash burn rate is high, you’ll typically want to reduce your costs and burn rate quickly. It is calculated by subtracting its operating expenses from its revenue. It shows how much cash a company needs to continue operating for a period of time.

How to Calculate Burn Rate

This is especially important to track when your revenue is down, as a loss in revenue without any change in spending will result in a higher burn rate for that time period. It’s important for investors to monitor a company’s available cash, capital expenditures, and cash flow burn rate before deciding to how to calculate burn rate invest. If the money isn’t landing in your bank account, those sales aren’t doing much to improve your burn rates. A low cash burn rate indicates that your business is going through its cash reserves more slowly. Generally, that’s a positive sign, but having a low cash burn rate isn’t always a good thing.

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