Income Statement vs Balance Sheet: Whats the Difference?

what is the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement

However, if you’re on the accrual basis, it may also include money you’ve earned but not yet received. Equity accounts include things like owner contributions, shares of company stock, and retained earnings. Liabilities can also be current or long-term, but you often have to split accounts between the two. For example, the mortgage payments on your rental property due next year would be a current liability, but the rest of your loan is a long-term liability.

The two standard accounting methods are the cash method and the accrual method. The difference between cash and accrual accounting is in the timing of when sales and purchases are recorded in your accounts. Cash accounting recognizes revenue and expenses only when money changes hands, but accrual accounting recognizes revenue when it’s earned and expenses when they’re billed (but not paid). Setting time aside to analyze and create your small business’s balance sheet and income statement won’t be a waste of time. These two financial statements can open the door to deeper calculations and analyses. Your balance sheet and income statement will assist your small business every step of the way, as you grow and expand.

Income Statement vs Balance Sheet: What’s the Difference?

It helps the management team, including the board of directors, understand the organization’s net income to make informed decisions. Some key differences between a balance sheet and an income statement are what’s included, time frame, purpose and use. The difference between a balance sheet and an income statement is the information they show and the period of time they cover. It includes revenues, expenses and gains and losses realized from the sale or disposal of assets. The income statement provides an overview of the financial performance of the company over a given period.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or financial advice. You should engage a qualified tax professional or accountant to evaluate your business and help determine applicable tax and legal obligations. It’s a lot to take in, especially if financial statements are not your thing. After all, you took the biggest leap and became a solo entrepreneur! If your expenses were higher than your revenue, your business ran at a loss for that period. This can be a bit of a bummer, but good intel to have so you can adjust accordingly.

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You could prepare one whenever you need to show your company’s financial position. The primary connection between your balance sheet and income statement is that your net income irs audit period is 3 years, 6 years or forever flows from your income statement into the retained earnings account on your balance sheet. Your balance sheet should document your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity.

To best analyze the key areas of the balance sheet and what they tell us as investors, we’ll look at an example. Investors and lenders use it to determine creditworthiness and availability of assets for collateral. We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. If you’re using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR for 15 months, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee.

  • A potential investor could see from your income statement that you have enough total revenue to cover your current monthly obligations.
  • The modest outlay could save you boatloads of cash at tax time, not to mention save you from pulling out all your hair trying to balance your books.
  • If total revenue is less than total expenses, this means the business was not profitable.

The balance sheet tells you what your business owns and what it owes to others on a specific date. Financing Solutions, a BBB A+ and 5 star accredited company, provides a business line of credit to businesses, nonprofits, churches, and Fedex ISPs. Our credit line is a better alternative to a bank loan or a bank line of credit because it is faster, easier, and more affordable. Balance sheets can be created in a spreadsheet, with accounting software, or even by hand. This ratio reports how your small business is doing with meeting financial obligations. This ratio can be an indicator of your ability to pay your bills, payroll, and loan payments in a timely manner.

Namely, income statements cover extended periods, while a balance sheet can only ever document your position on a single date. Unlike balance sheets, income statements capture information over time, so even one of them can help you analyze your company’s trends. However, it’s still a good practice to compare them across multiple periods. A balance sheet is a financial statement that presents a snapshot of your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity on a specific date. As a result, it’s also known as the statement of financial position.

Balance Sheet vs Income Statement: The Key Differences

As long as you can account for all financial activity and keep balanced books via double-sided accounting, your business will be able to use these financial reports to your advantage. The income statement shows a cumulative view of your total revenues and expenses over a longer period – how the company’s performing. This information is key, especially if you’re just starting out in business. It prepares you for when you may need to pivot quickly for better results.

There’s no better feeling than keeping score on how your business is doing. You can’t make progress without “doing.” Now that you have a good understanding of balance sheets and income statements, you’ll want to put that knowledge to work by creating them. The shareholder’s equity column represents everything else that is left over.

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Like assets, liabilities are split into current and long-term categories. Current liabilities have due dates within the next year, and long-term liabilities are due farther in the future. The cash flow statement then takes net income and adjusts it for any non-cash expenses. Then cash inflows and outflows are calculated using changes in the balance sheet.

Three Financial Statements

Companies should have at least 30 days of Working Capital, and financially strong companies have more than 180 days. Balance sheets can also identify other trends, such as how the receivables cycle works, how net profits are being used, and how often equipment is replaced. That said, it’s something of a chicken and egg situation in practice. These two financial statements work in tandem, and you’ll often need to adjust them simultaneously to track your activities. They’d likely also want to review your long-term loan amounts and compare them to your cash reserves to have an accurate picture of your company’s ability to pay its debts.

  • Deferred tax liability — accumulated taxes that have not yet been paid — also goes in this category.
  • This guide will give you a comprehensive overview of both financial statements.
  • In this income statement example, the company generated a net income of $25,000 for the year ended December 31, 2023.

Since the format distinctly expresses operating expenses, it’s easy to see how your business is faring aside from investing. Every time a sale or expense is recorded, affecting the income statement, the assets or liabilities are affected on the balance sheet. When a business records a sale, its assets will increase or its liabilities will decrease. When a business records an expense, its assets will decrease or its liabilities will increase.

An income statement shows a company’s financial performance over a specific period. Income statements are typically annual or quarterly reports, though some businesses may opt for monthly or weekly reports. If the total revenue is greater than the total expenses, then the business made a profit during that period. If expenses are greater than revenue, then the business operated at a loss for the period.

what is the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement

The income statement, often known as a profit and loss statement, displays the financial health of a business over a given time frame. Additionally, it gives a business useful data regarding earnings, sales, and costs. The five most common types of financial statements are the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flow, statement of changes in equity, and statement of financial position.


A balance sheet lists assets and liabilities of the organization as of a specific moment in time, i.e. as of a certain date. An income statement — also called a profit and loss account or P&L statement is a report for income and expenses over a specific time period, usually a quarter or year. A company with strong income statements year over year will generally build a healthy balance sheet but it is possible that it may have a strong balance sheet but weak income or vice versa. A balance sheet shows a company’s assets, liabilities and equity at a specific point in time. An income statement shows a company’s revenue, expenses, gains and losses over a longer period of time.

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