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Stock option helps cash flow for Crocs?

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I was reading the cash flow statement of CROX Q3 2007 10-Q. One thing caught my attention is the “Excess tax benefit on share-based compensation”, about $38.6 m for first 9 months of 2007, plus the “Exercise of stock options” $ 14 m., the total “Cash provided by financing activities” is $ 52 m, compared to the cash from operating activities for about $ 22 m.

This is a bit strange because normally we want the cash comes from operating activities, i.e., a company’s main business. For instance, in the case of Crocs, its main business is manufacturing and sale of Crocs sandles. It’s not a financial service company: a bank, or a lender of student loans something.

I did a little research on this topic. I found a paper written by Marc Siegel which describes what companies do these days to artificially boost cash flow statement (legally), and a newspaper article from Rocky Mountain News explains this a bit in plain English.

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