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EBITDA is a popular measure of cash flow, but it is not accurate, and bankers and investors who rely on it as a reliable indicator of repayment ability will be deeply disappointed. This session will explain why EBITDA does not measure cash flow and what more accurate measures are available. The session also includes several examples and a case study to illustrate why EBITDA is flawed and how to apply better cash flow tools.


  • Define and explain why EBITDA is used and why it is so popular
  • Explain EBITDA’s shortcomings as an accurate, reliable measure of cash flow
  • Offer more accurate debt repayment measures of cash flow, including how to convert EBITDA into free cash flow for measuring debt repayment ability
  • Demonstrate differences between EBITDA and free cash flow in case studies

  • Definition of EBITDA
  • Origins of E
  • BITDA—its relationship to traditional cash flow (TCF)
  • Problems with EBITDA
  • Alternatives to EBITDA—Operating Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow

Reliance on EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) as a measure of cash flow is misplaced because it presumes that borrowers will pay lenders before paying their taxes, expanding their working capital assets, and fixed assets to support sales growth, among other things. Bankers and investors who rely on it as a reliable indicator of repayment ability will overestimate available cash flow and underestimate the risk of default.

This session will explain why EBITDA does not measure cash flow and what more accurate measures are available.


  • Credit Analysts
  • Credit Managers
  • Loan review officers
  • Work-out officers
  • Commercial lenders
  • Credit Risk Managers
  • Chief Credit Officers
  • Senior Lenders
  • Senior Lending Officer
  • Bank Director
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • President
  • Board Chairman

A frequent speaker, instructor, advisor and writer on credit risk and commercial banking topics and issues, Martin J. "Dev" Strischek principal of Devon Risk Advisory Group based near Atlanta, Georgia.  Dev advises, trains, and develops for financial organizations risk management solutions and recommendations on a range of issues and topics, e.g., credit risk management, credit culture, credit policy, credit and lending training, etc.  Dev is also a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB’s) Private Company Council (PCC).  PCC’s purpose is to evaluate and recommend to FASB revisions to current and proposed generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) that are more appropriate for privately held firms.  He also serves as the PCC’s representative to FASB’s Credit Losses Transition Resource Group supporting the new current expected credit loss (CECL) standard to be implemented in fiscal year 2019 for public companies and 2020 for private firms.

The former SVP and senior credit policy officer at SunTrust Bank, Atlanta, he was responsible for developing, implementing, and administering credit policies for SunTrust’s wholesale lines of business--commercial, commercial real estate, corporate investment banking, capital markets, business banking and private wealth management. He also spent three years as managing director and credit approver in SunTrust’s Florida commercial lending and corporate investment banking areas, respectively. Prior to SunTrust, he was chief credit officer for Barnett Bank’s Palm Beach market. Besides stints at other banks in Florida, Kansas City, and Ohio, his experiences outside of banking include CFO of a Honolulu construction company, combat engineer officer in the U.S. Army, and college economics instructor.

A graduate of Ohio State University and the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking, Dev earned his M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii. Mr. Strischek serves as an instructor in several banking schools, including the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, and the Southwest Graduate School of Banking. His school, conference, and workshop audiences have included participants drawn from the ABA, RMA, OCC, Federal Reserve, FDIC, FFIEC, SBA, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the AICPA.

Mr. Strischek has written some 200 articles on credit risk management, financial analysis and related subjects, and he is the author of Analyzing Construction Contractors and instructor of  a contractor analysis workshop. A past national chair of RMA and former RMA Florida Chapter president, Dev has consulted on credit risk issues with banks in Morocco, Egypt, and Angola through the US State Department’s Financial Service Volunteer Corps (FSVC).

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