balance sheet
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

In
financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business. This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public use. Stockholders, ...
, a balance sheet (also known as statement of financial position or statement of financial condition) is a summary of the financial balances of an individual or organization, whether it be a
sole proprietorship A sole proprietorship, also known as a sole tradership, individual entrepreneurship or proprietorship, is a type of enterprise owned and run by one person and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity. A sole ...
, a
business partnership A partnership is an arrangement where parties, known as business partners, agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. The partners in a partnership may be individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments o ...
, a
corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal context) and ...
,
private limited company A private limited company is any type of business entity in "private" ownership used in many jurisdictions, in contrast to a publicly listed company, with some differences from country to country. Examples include the '' LLC'' in the United St ...
or other organization such as
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is ...
or not-for-profit entity.
Asset In financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned or controlled by a business or an economic entity. It is anything (tangible or intangible) that can be used to produce positive economic value. Assets represent value of ownership that can ...
s, liabilities and
ownership equity In finance, equity is ownership of assets that may have debts or other liabilities attached to them. Equity is measured for accounting purposes by subtracting liabilities from the value of the assets. For example, if someone owns a car worth $2 ...
are listed as of a specific date, such as the end of its
financial year A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is used in government accounting, which varies between countries, and for budget purposes. It is also used for financial reporting by businesses and other organizations. Laws in many ...
. A balance sheet is often described as a "snapshot of a company's financial condition". Of the four basic
financial statement Financial statements (or financial reports) are formal records of the financial activities and position of a business, person, or other entity. Relevant financial information is presented in a structured manner and in a form which is easy to un ...
s, the balance sheet is the only statement which applies to a single point in time of a business's calendar year. A standard company balance sheet has two sides: assets on the left, and financing on the right–which itself has two parts; liabilities and ownership equity. The main categories of assets are usually listed first, and typically in order of
liquidity Liquidity is a concept in economics involving the convertibility of assets and obligations. It can include: * Market liquidity, the ease with which an asset can be sold * Accounting liquidity, the ability to meet cash obligations when due * Liq ...
. Assets are followed by the liabilities. The difference between the assets and the liabilities is known as equity or the net assets or the net worth or capital of the company and according to the
accounting equation Accounting, also known as accountancy, is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. Accounting, which has been called the "languag ...
, net worth must equal assets minus liabilities. Another way to look at the balance sheet equation is that total assets equals liabilities plus owner's equity. Looking at the equation in this way shows how assets were financed: either by borrowing money (liability) or by using the owner's money (owner's or shareholders' equity). Balance sheets are usually presented with assets in one section and liabilities and net worth in the other section with the two sections "balancing". A business operating entirely in cash can measure its profits by withdrawing the entire bank balance at the end of the period, plus any cash in hand. However, many businesses are not paid immediately; they build up inventories of goods and acquire buildings and equipment. In other words: businesses have
asset In financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned or controlled by a business or an economic entity. It is anything (tangible or intangible) that can be used to produce positive economic value. Assets represent value of ownership that can ...
s and so they cannot, even if they want to, immediately turn these into cash at the end of each period. Often, these businesses owe money to suppliers and to tax authorities, and the proprietors do not withdraw all their original capital and profits at the end of each period. In other words, businesses also have liabilities.


Types

A balance sheet summarizes an organization's or individual's assets, equity and liabilities at a specific point in time. Two forms of balance sheet exist. They are the report form and account form. Individuals and small businesses tend to have simple balance sheets. Larger businesses tend to have more complex balance sheets, and these are presented in the organization's annual report. Large businesses also may prepare balance sheets for segments of their businesses. A balance sheet is often presented alongside one for a different point in time (typically the previous year) for comparison.


Personal

A personal balance sheet lists current assets such as cash in
checking account A transaction account, also called a checking account, chequing account, current account, demand deposit account, or share draft account at credit unions, is a deposit account held at a bank or other financial institution. It is available to the ...
s and
savings account A savings account is a bank account at a retail bank. Common features include a limited number of withdrawals, a lack of cheque and linked debit card facilities, limited transfer options and the inability to be overdrawn. Traditionally, transa ...
s, long-term assets such as
common stock Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. The terms voting share and ordinary share are also used frequently outside of the United States. They are known as equity shares or ordinary shares in the UK and other Comm ...
and
real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more general ...
, current liabilities such as
loan In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations, etc. The recipient (i.e., the borrower) incurs a debt and is usually liable to pay interest on that ...
debt and
mortgage A mortgage loan or simply mortgage (), in civil law jurisdicions known also as a hypothec loan, is a loan used either by purchasers of real property to raise funds to buy real estate, or by existing property owners to raise funds for any ...
debt due, or overdue, long-term liabilities such as
mortgage A mortgage loan or simply mortgage (), in civil law jurisdicions known also as a hypothec loan, is a loan used either by purchasers of real property to raise funds to buy real estate, or by existing property owners to raise funds for any ...
and other loan debt. Securities and real estate values are listed at market value rather than at
historical cost In accounting, an economic item's historical cost is the original nominal monetary value of that item. Historical cost accounting involves reporting assets and liabilities at their historical costs, which are not updated for changes in the items' v ...
or
cost basis Basis (or cost basis), as used in United States tax law, is the original cost of property, adjusted for factors such as depreciation. When property is sold, the taxpayer pays/(saves) taxes on a capital gain/(loss) that equals the amount realized ...
. Personal net worth is the difference between an individual's total assets and total liabilities.


US small business

A small business balance sheet lists current assets such as cash,
accounts receivable Accounts receivable, abbreviated as AR or A/R, are legally enforceable claims for payment held by a business for goods supplied or services rendered that customers have ordered but not paid for. These are generally in the form of invoices raised ...
, and inventory, fixed assets such as land, buildings, and equipment,
intangible asset An intangible asset is an asset that lacks physical substance. Examples are patents, copyright, franchises, goodwill, trademarks, and trade names, as well as software. This is in contrast to physical assets (machinery, buildings, etc.) and fin ...
s such as
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time in exchange for publishing an enabling disclosure of the invention."A ...
s, and liabilities such as
accounts payable Accounts payable (AP) is money owed by a business to its suppliers shown as a liability on a company's balance sheet. It is distinct from notes payable liabilities, which are debts created by formal legal instrument documents. An accounts payabl ...
, accrued expenses, and long-term debt.
Contingent liabilities In accounting, contingent liabilities are liabilities that may be incurred by an entity depending on the outcome of an uncertain future event such as the outcome of a pending lawsuit. These liabilities are not recorded in a company's account ...
such as
warranties In contract law, a warranty is a promise which is not a condition of the contract or an innominate term: (1) it is a term "not going to the root of the contract",Hogg M. (2011). ''Promises and Contract Law: Comparative Perspectives''p. 48 Cambri ...
are noted in the footnotes to the balance sheet. The small business's equity is the difference between total assets and total liabilities.


Public business entities structure

Guidelines for balance sheets of public business entities are given by the International Accounting Standards Board and numerous country-specific organizations/companies. The standard used by companies in the USA adheres to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) is a United States federal advisory committee whose mission is to develop generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for federal financial reporting entities. Balance sheet account names and usage depend on the organization's country and the type of organization. Government organizations do not generally follow standards established for individuals or businesses. If applicable to the business, summary values for the following items should be included in the balance sheet: Assets are all the things the business owns. This will include property, tools, vehicles, furniture, machinery, and so on.


Assets

Current assets #
Accounts receivable Accounts receivable, abbreviated as AR or A/R, are legally enforceable claims for payment held by a business for goods supplied or services rendered that customers have ordered but not paid for. These are generally in the form of invoices raised ...
# Cash and cash equivalents #
Inventories Inventory (American English) or stock (British English) refers to the goods and materials that a business holds for the ultimate goal of resale, production or utilisation. Inventory management is a discipline primarily about specifying the sha ...
# Cash at bank, Petty Cash, Cash On Hand # Prepaid expenses for future services that will be used within a year # Revenue Earned In Arrears (Accrued Revenue) for services done but not yet received for the year # Loan To (Less than one financial period) Non-current assets (
Fixed asset A fixed asset, also known as long-lived assets or property, plant and equipment (PP&E), is a term used in accounting for assets and property that may not easily be converted into cash. Fixed assets are different from current assets, such as cash ...
s) #
Property, plant and equipment A fixed asset, also known as long-lived assets or property, plant and equipment (PP&E), is a term used in accounting for assets and property that may not easily be converted into cash. Fixed assets are different from current assets, such as cash ...
# Investment property, such as
real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more general ...
held for investment purposes #
Intangible asset An intangible asset is an asset that lacks physical substance. Examples are patents, copyright, franchises, goodwill, trademarks, and trade names, as well as software. This is in contrast to physical assets (machinery, buildings, etc.) and fin ...
s, such as patents, copyrights and goodwill # Financial assets (excluding investments accounted for using the equity method,
accounts receivable Accounts receivable, abbreviated as AR or A/R, are legally enforceable claims for payment held by a business for goods supplied or services rendered that customers have ordered but not paid for. These are generally in the form of invoices raised ...
s, and cash and cash equivalents), such as
notes receivable Notes receivable represents claims for which formal instruments of credit are issued as evidence of debt, such as a promissory note. The credit instrument normally requires the debtor to pay interest In finance and economics, interest is pa ...
s #
Investments Investment is the dedication of money to purchase of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period of time. Investment requires a sacrifice of some present asset, such as time, money, or effort. In finance, the purpose of investing is ...
accounted for using the equity method # Biological assets, which are living plants or animals. Bearer biological assets are plants or animals which bear agricultural produce for harvest, such as apple trees grown to produce apples and sheep raised to produce wool. # Loan To (More than one financial period)


Liabilities

#
Accounts payable Accounts payable (AP) is money owed by a business to its suppliers shown as a liability on a company's balance sheet. It is distinct from notes payable liabilities, which are debts created by formal legal instrument documents. An accounts payabl ...
# Provisions for warranties or court decisions (contingent liabilities that are both probable and measurable) # Financial liabilities (excluding provisions and
accounts payable Accounts payable (AP) is money owed by a business to its suppliers shown as a liability on a company's balance sheet. It is distinct from notes payable liabilities, which are debts created by formal legal instrument documents. An accounts payabl ...
s), such as promissory notes and corporate bonds # Liabilities and assets for current
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regional, local, or n ...
#
Deferred tax Deferred tax is a notional asset or liability to reflect corporate income taxation on a basis that is the same or more similar to recognition of profits than the taxation treatment. Deferred tax liabilities can arise as a result of corporate ta ...
liabilities and deferred tax assets # Unearned revenue for services paid for by customers but not yet provided # Interests on loan stock # Creditors equity


Equity / capital

The net assets shown by the balance sheet equals the third part of the balance sheet, which is known as the
shareholders' equity In finance, equity is ownership of assets that may have debts or other liabilities attached to them. Equity is measured for accounting purposes by subtracting liabilities from the value of the assets. For example, if someone owns a car worth $2 ...
. It comprises: # Issued capital and reserves attributable to equity holders of the parent company (controlling interest) # Non-controlling interest in equity Formally, shareholders' equity is part of the company's liabilities: they are funds "owing" to shareholders (after payment of all other liabilities); usually, however, "liabilities" are used in the more restrictive sense of liabilities excluding shareholders' equity. The balance of assets and liabilities (including shareholders' equity) is not a coincidence. Records of the values of each account in the balance sheet are maintained using a system of accounting known as
double-entry bookkeeping Double-entry bookkeeping, also known as double-entry accounting, is a method of bookkeeping that relies on a two-sided accounting entry to maintain financial information. Every entry to an account requires a corresponding and opposite entry t ...
. In this sense, shareholders' equity by construction must equal assets minus liabilities, and thus the shareholders' equity is considered to be a residual. Regarding the items in the equity section, the following disclosures are required: # Numbers of shares authorized, issued and fully-paid, and issued but not fully paid #
Par value Par value, in finance and accounting, means stated value or face value. From this come the expressions at par (at the par value), over par (over par value) and under par (under par value). Bonds A bond selling at par is priced at 100% of face valu ...
of shares # Reconciliation of shares outstanding at the beginning and the end of the period # Description of rights, preferences, and restrictions of shares #
Treasury share A treasury stock or reacquired stock is stock which is bought back by the issuing company, reducing the amount of outstanding stock on the open market ("open market" including insiders' holdings). Stock repurchases are used as a tax efficien ...
s, including shares held by subsidiaries and associates # Shares reserved for issuance under options and
contract A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties that creates, defines, and governs mutual rights and obligations between them. A contract typically involves the transfer of goods, services, money, or a promise to tr ...
s # A description of the nature and purpose of each reserve within owners' equity


Substantiation

Balance sheet substantiation is the accounting process conducted by businesses on a regular basis to confirm that the balances held in the primary accounting system of record (e.g.
SAP Sap is a fluid transported in xylem cells (vessel elements or tracheids) or phloem sieve tube elements of a plant. These cells transport water and nutrients throughout the plant. Sap is distinct from latex, resin, or cell sap; it is a separ ...
, Oracle, other ERP system's General Ledger) are reconciled (in balance with) with the balance and transaction records held in the same or supporting sub-systems. Balance sheet substantiation includes multiple processes including
reconciliation Reconciliation or reconcile may refer to: Accounting * Reconciliation (accounting) Arts, entertainment, and media Sculpture * ''Reconciliation'' (Josefina de Vasconcellos sculpture), a sculpture by Josefina de Vasconcellos in Coventry Cathedra ...
(at a transactional or at a balance level) of the account, a process of review of the reconciliation and any pertinent supporting documentation and a formal certification (sign-off) of the account in a predetermined form driven by corporate policy. Balance sheet substantiation is an important process that is typically carried out on a monthly, quarterly and year-end basis. The results help to drive the regulatory balance sheet reporting obligations of the organization. Historically, balance sheet substantiation has been a wholly manual process, driven by
spreadsheet A spreadsheet is a computer application for computation, organization, analysis and storage of data in tabular form. Spreadsheets were developed as computerized analogs of paper accounting worksheets. The program operates on data entered in c ...
s,
email Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices. Email was thus conceived as the electronic ( digital) version of, or counterpart to, mail, at a time when "mail" mean ...
and manual monitoring and reporting. In recent years
software Software is a set of computer programs and associated software documentation, documentation and data (computing), data. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and which actually performs the work. ...
solutions have been developed to bring a level of
process automation Business process automation (BPA), also known as business automation or digital transformation, is the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes. It can streamline a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increa ...
, standardization and enhanced control to the balance sheet substantiation or account certification process. These solutions are suitable for organizations with a high volume of accounts and/or personnel involved in the Balance Sheet Substantiation process and can be used to drive efficiencies, improve transparency and help to reduce risk. Balance sheet substantiation is a key control process in the
SOX 404 top-down risk assessment Sox most often refers to: * Boston Red Sox, an MLB team * Chicago White Sox, an MLB team * An alternate spelling of socks Sox may also refer to: Places * SOX, Sogamoso Airport's IATA airport code, an airport in Colombia Computing and technolo ...
.


Sample

The following balance sheet is a very brief example prepared in accordance with
IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards, commonly called IFRS, are accounting standards issued by the IFRS Foundation and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). They constitute a standardised way of describing the company's fina ...
. It does not show all possible kinds of assets, liabilities and equity, but it shows the most usual ones. Because it shows goodwill, it could be a consolidated balance sheet. Monetary values are not shown, summary (subtotal) rows are missing as well. Under IFRS items are always shown based on liquidity from the least liquid assets at the top, usually land and buildings to the most liquid, i.e. cash. Then liabilities and equity continue from the most immediate liability to be paid (usual account payable) to the least i.e. long-term debt such as mortgages and owner's equity at the very bottom. Consolidated Statement of Finance Position of XYZ, Ltd. As of 31 December 2025 ASSETS Non-Current Assets (
Fixed Asset A fixed asset, also known as long-lived assets or property, plant and equipment (PP&E), is a term used in accounting for assets and property that may not easily be converted into cash. Fixed assets are different from current assets, such as cash ...
s)
Property, Plant and Equipment A fixed asset, also known as long-lived assets or property, plant and equipment (PP&E), is a term used in accounting for assets and property that may not easily be converted into cash. Fixed assets are different from current assets, such as cash ...
(PPE) ''Less :
Accumulated Depreciation In accountancy, depreciation is a term that refers to two aspects of the same concept: first, the actual decrease of fair value of an asset, such as the decrease in value of factory equipment each year as it is used and wear, and second, the ...
'' Goodwill
Intangible Assets An intangible asset is an asset that lacks physical substance. Examples are patents, copyright, franchises, goodwill, trademarks, and trade names, as well as software. This is in contrast to physical assets (machinery, buildings, etc.) and finan ...
(Patent, Copyright, Trademark, etc.) ''Less : Accumulated Amortization'' Investments in
Financial assets A financial asset is a non-physical asset whose value is derived from a contractual claim, such as bank deposits, bonds, and participations in companies' share capital. Financial assets are usually more liquid than other tangible assets, such as ...
due after one year
Investments Investment is the dedication of money to purchase of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period of time. Investment requires a sacrifice of some present asset, such as time, money, or effort. In finance, the purpose of investing is ...
in Associates and
Joint Ventures A joint venture (JV) is a business entity created by two or more parties, generally characterized by shared ownership, shared returns and risks, and shared governance. Companies typically pursue joint ventures for one of four reasons: to access ...
Other Non-Current Assets, e.g.
Deferred Tax Deferred tax is a notional asset or liability to reflect corporate income taxation on a basis that is the same or more similar to recognition of profits than the taxation treatment. Deferred tax liabilities can arise as a result of corporate ta ...
Assets, Lease Receivable and Receivables due after one year Current Assets
Inventories Inventory (American English) or stock (British English) refers to the goods and materials that a business holds for the ultimate goal of resale, production or utilisation. Inventory management is a discipline primarily about specifying the sha ...
Prepaid Expense A deferral, in ''accrual accounting'', is any account where the income or expense is not recognised until a future date (accounting period), e.g. annuities, charges, taxes, income, etc. The deferred item may be carried, dependent on type of de ...
s Investments in
Financial assets A financial asset is a non-physical asset whose value is derived from a contractual claim, such as bank deposits, bonds, and participations in companies' share capital. Financial assets are usually more liquid than other tangible assets, such as ...
due within one year Non-Current and Current Assets Held for sale
Accounts Receivable Accounts receivable, abbreviated as AR or A/R, are legally enforceable claims for payment held by a business for goods supplied or services rendered that customers have ordered but not paid for. These are generally in the form of invoices raised ...
(Debtors) due within one year ''Less : Allowances for Doubtful debts'' Cash and Cash Equivalents TOTAL ASSETS (this will match/balance the total for Liabilities and Equity below) LIABILITIES and EQUITY Current Liabilities (Creditors: amounts falling due within one year)
Accounts Payable Accounts payable (AP) is money owed by a business to its suppliers shown as a liability on a company's balance sheet. It is distinct from notes payable liabilities, which are debts created by formal legal instrument documents. An accounts payabl ...
Current Income
Tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regional, local, or n ...
Payable Current portion of Loans Payable Short-term Provisions Other Current Liabilities, e.g.
Deferred income Deferred income (also known as deferred revenue, unearned revenue, or unearned income) is, in accrual accounting, money received for goods or services which has not yet been earned. According to the revenue recognition principle, it is recorded as a ...
, Security deposits Non-Current Liabilities (Creditors: amounts falling due after more than one year)
Loan In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations, etc. The recipient (i.e., the borrower) incurs a debt and is usually liable to pay interest on that ...
s Payable Issued Debt Securities, e.g. Notes/Bonds Payable
Deferred Tax Deferred tax is a notional asset or liability to reflect corporate income taxation on a basis that is the same or more similar to recognition of profits than the taxation treatment. Deferred tax liabilities can arise as a result of corporate ta ...
Liabilities Provisions, e.g. Pension Obligations Other Non-Current Liabilities, e.g. Lease Obligations EQUITY
Paid-in Capital Paid-in capital (also paid-up capital and contributed capital) is capital that is contributed to a corporation by investors by purchase of stock from the corporation, the primary market, not by purchase of stock in the open market from other sto ...
Share Capital (
Ordinary Shares Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. The terms voting share and ordinary share are also used frequently outside of the United States. They are known as equity shares or ordinary shares in the UK and other Comm ...
,
Preference Shares Preferred stock (also called preferred shares, preference shares, or simply preferreds) is a component of share capital that may have any combination of features not possessed by common stock, including properties of both an equity and a debt inst ...
)
Share Premium Capital surplus, also called share premium, is an account which may appear on a corporation's balance sheet, as a component of shareholders' equity, which represents the amount the corporation raises on the issue of shares in excess of their par v ...
''Less:
Treasury Share A treasury stock or reacquired stock is stock which is bought back by the issuing company, reducing the amount of outstanding stock on the open market ("open market" including insiders' holdings). Stock repurchases are used as a tax efficien ...
s''
Retained Earnings The retained earnings (also known as plowback) of a corporation is the accumulated net income of the corporation that is retained by the corporation at a particular point of time, such as at the end of the reporting period. At the end of that peri ...
Revaluation Reserve Other Accumulated Reserves
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income Note: Reference cited below, FAS130, remains the most current accounting literature in the United States on this topic. In 1997 the United States Financial Accounting Standards Board issued Statement on Financial Accounting Standards No. 130 ent ...
Non-Controlling Interest TOTAL LIABILITIES and EQUITY (this will match/balance the total for Assets above)


See also

* Balance sheet substantiation *
Cash flow statement In financial accounting, a cash flow statement, also known as ''statement of cash flows'', is a financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to ope ...
*
Income statement An income statement or profit and loss accountProfessional English in Use - Finance, Cambridge University Press, p. 10 (also referred to as a ''profit and loss statement'' (P&L), ''statement of profit or loss'', ''revenue statement'', ''stateme ...
*
Minority interest In accounting, minority interest (or non-controlling interest) is the portion of a subsidiary corporation's stock that is not owned by the parent corporation. The magnitude of the minority interest in the subsidiary company is generally less than 5 ...
* Model audit *
National accounts National accounts or national account systems (NAS) are the implementation of complete and consistent accounting techniques for measuring the economic activity of a nation. These include detailed underlying measures that rely on double-entry ...
*
Off-balance-sheet Off balance sheet (OBS), or incognito leverage, usually means an asset or debt or financing activity not on the company's balance sheet. Total return swaps are an example of an off-balance-sheet item. Some companies may have significant amounts o ...
* Reformatted balance sheet * Sheet * Statement of changes in equity


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Balance Sheet Accounting terminology