Many business owners assume that balance sheets and income statements are the same. While they are both used in financial accounting, though, they are each designed for a specific purpose. As a result, balance sheets and income statements aren’t interchangeable. By familiarizing yourself with the differences between balance sheets and income statements, you’ll know exactly when and how to use them.
What Is an Income Statement?
Also known as a profit-and-loss statement, an income statement is a financial document that shows your business’s revenue and expenses over a predefined period, such as a fiscal quarter or year. It’s essentially an overview of your business’s profits and losses.
Income statements are often used to secure loans, credit and other forms of financing. If you’re trying to secure financing for your business, the lender or creditor may ask for an income statement. Reviewing the income statement allows the lender or credit to gain a better understanding of your business’s ability to satisfy the debt. If your business shows substantial profits with little or no losses, the lender or credit will feel more confident knowing that your business has the financial ability to repay the debt.
It’s important to note that income statements are zeroed out at the end of their respective period. Once you’ve wrapped up the period for an income statement, you must zero out the balances of the accounts.
What Is a Balance Sheet?
A balance sheet, on the other hand, is a more thorough financial document that shows your business’s assets and liabilities as well as the equity of its shareholders.
When creating balance sheets, you should strive to match your business’s assets with the liabilities and equity of your business’s shareholders. In other words, the total amount of your business’s assets, as recorded on the balance sheet, should match equal the combination of your business’s total liabilities and the equity of its shareholders.
Balance sheets are far more detained than income statements. While income statements are somewhat limited in scope, balance sheets contain detailed information. More specifically, they contain every asset and liability recorded by your business for a given period, such as a fiscal quarter or year. Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of the differences between income statements and balance sheets in financial accounting.
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