The balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’s financial standing at a given point in time. It lists all the assets your company owns and all the debts owed by it, as well as the total amount of shareholder equity at that time.
Assets are listed on the left side of the balance sheet and include items such as cash in a bank account, inventory, computer equipment, receivables and even things like brand value and goodwill. The right side of the balance sheet includes liabilities, which are payment obligations that your company has to make within a year, such as accounts payable and taxes payable, as well as the company’s long-term debt.
Liabilities can be classified as current (payments due within a year) or noncurrent (payments due beyond a year). The bottom section of the balance sheet is a listing of the company’s equity. This is the remaining portion of the company’s original investment (minus any losses or dividend payments) that have been retained by the company.
Your company’s balance sheet is a very important tool for analyzing its health and future prospects. A business that has lots of cash but few liabilities may not be investing enough in new products or services to keep up with competitors. A business with a lot of debt and few assets could be in trouble if its expenses and interest payments exceed its income.
In addition to providing a snapshot of your company’s financial position, the balance sheet can be used to calculate a variety of important ratios and metrics that can give you insight into the company’s operations and finances. For example, the acid test ratio divides the company’s current assets by its current liabilities to provide a measure of its ability to pay its bills over the next 12 months.
The data in a company’s balance sheet is recorded using different accounting systems, which can change the numbers from one period to the next. This is why it’s essential to review the footnotes of a company’s balance sheet to get a better idea of what the numbers actually mean. For example, the way a company records depreciation can have a huge impact on its assets and liabilities.
Ultimately, the main thing to remember about a balance sheet is that it should always “balance.” That means that your company’s total assets should equal its total liabilities and shareholder equity. If not, there is something wrong with your business’s finances. To learn more about preparing and interpreting balance sheets and other important financial reports, check out CFI’s Financial Analysis Course. Bilanz