Differences Between an Income Statement and Balance Sheet

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balance sheet vs income statement

The purpose of a balance sheet is to tell interested parties what the business is worth from a book value perspective. By using all three of a company’s financial statement, you can get a clear picture of how well a company is performing and derive useful metrics to use when analyzing a stock. Third, the financing section shows changes in a company’s debt, loans, or dividends.

  • While there are some similarities between those two financial documents, there are also some important differences.
  • Liabilities are your business’s debts, including accounts payable and notes payable.
  • As you can see, analyzing the statements together provides deeper insight into financial health and performance.
  • There are several differences between the balance sheet and income statement, which are stated below.
  • Read alone, the income statement doesn’t give the full picture of a business’s health.
  • The income statement and balance sheet follow the same accounting cycle, with the balance sheet created right after the income statement.

Professional accountants ask for income statements to calculate your company’s tax obligations and report them to the IRS. An annual income statement shows net profit for an entire year and is typically used to assess a company’s tax liabilities. Accounting is usually done via one of two methods — cash or accrual. With cash accounting, revenues and expenses are only counted when cash has been exchanged.

Overview: What is a balance sheet?

It can be either positive, meaning the company made money, or negative when the company loses money. Assets are everything that a company owns and can use to generate income. This includes cash, investments, accounts receivable, inventory, property, plant, and equipment. First, the operations section shows the cash flow from the company’s core business operations. Unlike the figures on the income statement, the cash flow statement ignores non-cash “income” such as depreciation. The balance sheet then displays the ending balance in each major account from period to period.

A balance sheet allows analysts to calculate financial health ratios. These include current ratio, debt-to-equity ratio and return on equity (ROE). An income statement allows analysts to calculate performance-based ratios. These include gross margins, operating margins, price-to-earnings and interest coverage. The income statement, often called the profit and loss statement, shows the revenues, costs, and expenses over a period which is typically a fiscal quarter or a fiscal year. The income statement tells investors whether a company is generating a profit or loss.


Income statements emphasize net profit within an accounting period. Balance sheets offer the broadest picture of the company’s overall financial health. An income statement centers on the company’s revenue and expenses, focusing on its operating revenue, non-operating revenue, costs, and expenses over an accounting period.

  • The income statement must show revenues and expenses, even those in other currencies, expressed in the home or operating currency of the company.
  • Accounts on the income statement are either revenue or expense accounts.
  • Use both financial statements to evaluate your current state of affairs and make strategic choices for the future.
  • Some key differences between a balance sheet and an income statement are what’s included, time frame, purpose and use.
  • By providing information on a company’s revenue, expenses, and profits, the statement is used to assess the profitability of a business.
  • Income statements are considered for loans and investment decisions to see if the business is profitable or needs economic help.

However, to know whether you should use a balance sheet vs income statement, it is important to identify the structural differences between the two. If you’re looking to attract investors, it’s worth untangling balance sheets and income statements, the two reports you’re most likely to encounter. An income statement shows how a company has performed by listing sales and expenses, and the resulting profit or loss. It also shows earnings per share, which shows how much money shareholders would receive if the company distributed all the net earnings for the period. An income statement is used by investors, management and others to examine a company’s current and future profitability.

Summary Comparison of the Three Financial Statements

In the current year Clear Lake had net income of $35,000 and paid $30,000 of their earnings out to shareholders, essentially resulting in a $5,000 increase to the retained earnings account. The cash flow statement then takes net income and adjusts it for any non-cash expenses. Then cash inflows and outflows are https://www.bookstime.com/articles/how-to-calculate-tax-withholdings calculated using changes in the balance sheet. The cash flow statement displays the change in cash per period, as well as the beginning and ending balance of cash. An income statement, otherwise known as a “profit and loss” or “P&L,” is a summary of a company’s income/revenue, cost of goods sold, and expenses.