What is a Financial Statement?

What is a financial statement?

In short a financial statement formally puts into writing all the financial pursuits of a business and their results. Finances are crucial in any business endeavor. The role of financial statements is to produce the necessary information for any stakeholder to make informed decisions pertaining to his interest in the said business.
Financial statements have different forms and types. Depending on the nature of the business, whether profit-oriented or not,  the formats can vary. Governing accounting standards in preparing a statement, lay down the basics and are simply followed, as the circumstances dictate.
Learn the nitty-gritty of these financial statements in the two major discussions below.


What is a Financial Statement - the types

The three basic types are:
  1. Balance Sheet: this statement reports all of the assets, liabilities and equity at a specific point in time.
  1. Statement of Operations: also known as the profit and loss statement, it provides information on the performance of the business over a set period of time.  It shows the income and expense items included in the profit and loss calculation.  The Statement of Operations also provides explanation on the transactions affecting the equity in the given reporting period.
  1. Statement of Cash Flows: sources of cash inflows and outflows broken down into three major categories- operating, investing and financing activities- along with the monetary figures are laid down in this statement.
As businesses tend to vary in terms of size, financial statements can range from being short to very lengthy ones. Statements may also prove to be very complex, depending on the nature of transactions involved.


What is a Financial Statement - the Purpose

Financial statements serve to provide information that is useful to a wide array of users, particularly in formulating economic decisions. Hence, they must contain these basic ingredients: relevance, reliability, understandability and comparability and readers are assumed to possess reasonable knowledge of both business and accounting principles, and are willing to put diligence in studying them.
Among the identified users of the information contained therein are owners and managers, employees, investors, lenders, creditors, government and the general public. Financial statements must therefore be prepared with accuracy and in conformance to the prevailing standards, as they build trust and confidence and influence important business decisions.


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Redwood Meadows, Calgary, AB T3Z 1A3