How To Prepare a Balance Sheet for a Small Business


By getting to know the purpose of each of the reports you can better understand how they differ from one another. Balance sheets help accountants, investors, creditors and business owners determine the overall financial health of a business. These reports provide a quick snapshot of a business’s finances — typically at quarter-end or year-end. Balance sheets are often used as a guide before making financial decisions for the future. As with an income statement, the statement of cash flows reflects a company’s financial activity over a period of time. It shows where a company’s cash comes from and how it’s used to pay for operations and/or to invest in the future.

However, a company with a negative shareholders’ equity is riskier to invest in than a company with a positive equity value. Accounts receivable includes money that the company has made from sales that it has yet to collect. The sales revenue could still be on credit or perhaps it’s a bad debt expense . When the company does collect this revenue, the value of accounts receivable will decrease and the amount of cash will increase by an equal amount. You will want to make adjustments for accounts that you know will be changing in the future. For example, say you are planning to purchase a new piece of equipment.

Property, Plant, and Equipment

Similar to a balance sheet, your pro forma balance sheet lists your assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. However, pro forma balance sheets often predict the “snapshot” of your small business’s finances at a certain date in the future. For example, pro forma balance sheets can provide snapshots across a five-year period, compared to only the single year’s snapshot that’s provided on a balance sheet. This allows you to look for financial trends over those five years and make key assumptions. This will be especially relevant for forecasting and budgeting for your small business. Total assets include current assets and noncurrent assets; total equity includes share capital and retained earnings; total liabilities includes current liabilities and noncurrent liabilities.

For instance, your income statement will be linked with your balance sheet, despite providing different financial views of your small business. You can use Microsoft Office’s Excel layout for a quick, easy, and effective balance sheet. Most balance sheets have a row for assets followed by row for liabilities and row for shareholders’ equity. Many publicly traded companies post information such as their annual report, income statements, and balance sheets online where anyone can access them. So if you’ve ever wondered what these statements look like for successful companies in your industry, it’s worth doing some research.

What Is a Balance Sheet?

Essentially, a balance sheet provides a picture of what the organization owes and owns for a particular time frame. This is important, as the balance sheet report reflects the organization’s financial status quo. While income statements and cash flow statements show your business’s activity over a period of time, a balance sheet gives a snapshot of your financials at a particular moment. Your balance sheet shows what your business owns , what it owes , and what money is left over for the owners (owner’s equity).

  • This involves a portion of your employee’s income that you have set to pay at a later date than it was initially earned.
  • The sheet then explains how those assets are financed, either through liabilities , equity , or a mix of both.
  • In general, it represents the value of corporate stock and retained earnings .
  • Your asset performance measures how well you can take your operational resources and use them to generate revenue and profit as a trading company.
  • Notice how they have a detailed balance sheet that lays out categories such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, long-term assets, and more.

These balance sheet definition are paid off in a time period that is longer than one year. This section of your balance sheet records the portion of your long-term debt that must for paid within the current year of the balance sheet. These can include wages, interest, taxes, and other expenses that build up for your small business. They include expenses that your small business plans to pay at a future date. For example, your employees may earn income that you pay at a later date.

Shareholder’s Equity/Owner’s Equity

The balance sheet lists the assets of the business vs its liabilities + shareholders’ equity . Businesses use balance sheets to make important financial decisions. One way to gain a better understanding of your business’s finances, is to organize them in a way that lets you quickly scan all of your business assets, liabilities and equity. The balance sheet presents a glimpse into how the company is doing financially. One of the key indices is the debt ratio, which is the ratio derived by comparing total debts to total assets.

How do I know if my balance sheet is correct?

You know that your balance sheet is correct if the assets equal all liabilities plus any investor equity. If those are not equal then your sheet isn’t “balanced.” That means that somewhere someone made a mistake in either reporting or computation.

Public companies, on the other hand, are required to obtain external audits by public accountants, and must also ensure that their books are kept to a much higher standard. Balance sheets allow the user to get an at-a-glance view of the assets and liabilities of the company. While an asset is something a company owns, a liability is something it owes.

Components of a Balance Sheet

Vertical analysis is a method of looking at the financial statement by looking at each line as a percentage of some predetermined base figure from the statement. Understanding what a balance sheet is and how to read one is crucial for many careers in finance. This financial statement provides invaluable information needed for completing various financial calculations and formulas.

  • A company’s current and non-current liabilities are listed on the balance sheet.
  • Liabilities are what the business owns to creditors, such as third-party institutions like banks, while equity represents shareholder stakes in the company.
  • Liquidity and solvency ratios show how well a company can pay off its debts and obligations with existing assets.
  • Accessing balance sheet and income statement software is a surefire way to save you time, stress, and money — as you make the right decisions towards letting your business be the best that it can be.
  • Every time a company records a sale or an expense for bookkeeping purposes, both the balance sheet and the income statement are affected by the transaction.
  • And, because a balance sheet is a snapshot of how your business is doing, it’s crucial to know your way around one and be able to parse the info it provides.

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