An income statement, otherwise known as a profit and loss statement, basically adds an itemized list of all your revenues and subtracts an itemized list of all your expenses to come up with a profit or loss for the period.
An income statement allows you to…
- Track revenues and expenses so that you can determine the operating performance of your business.
- Determine what areas of your business are over-budget or under-budget.
- Identify specific items that are causing unexpected expenditures. Like phone, fax, mail, or supply expenses.
- Track dramatic increases in product returns or cost of goods sold as a percentage of sales.
- Determine your income tax liability.
A balance sheet helps you…
- Quickly get a handle on the financial strength and capabilities of your business.
- Identify and analyze trends, particularly in the area of receivables and payables. For example, if your receivables cycle is lengthening, maybe you can collect your receivables more aggressively.
- Determine if your business is in a position to expand.
- Determine if your business can easily handle the normal financial ebbs and flows of revenues and expenses?
- Determine if you need to take immediate steps to bolster cash reserves?
- Determine if your business has been slowing down payables to forestall an inevitable cash shortage?
Balance sheets, along with income statements, are the most basic elements in providing financial reporting to potential lenders such as banks, investors, and vendors who are considering how much credit to grant you.