Understanding financial statements is essential to the success of a small business. They can be used as a roadmap to steer you in the right direction and help you avoid costly breakdowns. Financial statements have a value that goes far beyond preparing tax returns or applying for loans. Below you will find information on the primary financial statements: the balance sheet and the income statement.
Balance Sheet: The balance sheet is a snapshot of your business financials. It includes assets, and liabilities and net worth. The "bottom line" of a balance sheet must always include (assets = liabilities + net worth). The individual elements of a balance sheet change from day to day and reflect the activities of a business. Analyzing how the balance sheet changes over time will reveal important financial information about a business. It can help you can monitor your ability to collect revenues, manage your inventory, and assess your ability to satisfy creditors and stockholders.
Income Statement: The income statement, also known as the profit and loss statement, includes all income and expense accounts over a period of time. This financial statement shows how much money the business will make after all expenses are accounted for. An income statement does not reveal hidden problems, like insufficient cash flow. Income statements are read from top to bottom and represent earnings and expenses over a period of time.