What Are Financial Statements?

Financial statements are written records that convey the business activities and the financial performance of a company. Financial statements are often audited by government agencies, accountants, firms, etc. to ensure accuracy and for tax, financing, or investing purposes. Financial statements include:

  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Cash flow statement.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial statements are written records that convey the business activities and the financial performance of a company.
  • The balance sheet provides an overview of assets, liabilities, and stockholders' equity as a snapshot in time.
  • The income statement primarily focuses on a company鈥檚 revenues and expenses during a particular period. Once expenses are subtracted from revenues, the statement produces a company's profit figure called net income.
  • The cash flow statement (CFS)聽measures how well a company generates cash to pay its聽debt obligations, fund its聽operating expenses, and fund investments.
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Financial Statements

nba腾讯体育直播ing Financial Statement Information

Investors and financial analysts rely on financial data to analyze the performance of a company and make predictions about its future direction of the company's stock price. One of the most important resources of reliable and audited financial data is the annual report, which contains the firm's financial statements.

The financial statements are used by investors, market analysts, and creditors to evaluate a company's financial health and earnings potential.聽The three major financial statement reports are the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows.

Understanding Balance Sheets

The balance sheet provides an overview of a company's assets, liabilities, and stockholders' equity as a snapshot in time. The date at the top of the balance sheet tells you when the snapshot was taken, which is generally the end of the fiscal year.

The Balance Sheet Formula

Assets=(Liabilities+Owner鈥檚聽Equity)\displaystyle \text{Assets}=(\text{Liabilities}+\text{Owner's Equity})Assets=(Liabilities+Owner鈥檚聽Equity)

The balance sheet totals will be calculated already, but here's how you identify them.

  1. Locate total assets on the balance sheet for the period.
  2. Total all liabilities, which should be a separate listing on the balance sheet. It may not include contingent liabilities.
  3. Locate total shareholder's equity and add the number to total liabilities.
  4. Total assets should equal the total of liabilities and total equity.

Data From the Balance Sheet

The balance sheet identifies how assets are funded, either with liabilities, such as debt, or stockholders' equity, such as retained earnings and additional paid-in capital. Assets are listed on the balance sheet in order of liquidity.

Liabilities are listed in the order in which they will be paid. Short-term or current liabilities are expected to be paid within the year, while long-term or non-current liabilities are debts expected to be paid in over one year.

Items Included in the Balance Sheet

Below are examples of items listed on the balance sheet.

Assets

  • Cash and cash equivalents聽are聽liquid assets, which may include Treasury bills聽and聽certificates of deposit.
  • Accounts receivables聽are聽the amount of money owed to the company by its customers for the sale of its product and service.
  • Inventory

Liabilities

Shareholders' Equity

  • Shareholders' equity is a company's total assets minus its聽total liabilities.聽Shareholders' equity represents the amount of money that would be returned to shareholders if all of the聽assets were liquidated and all of the company's聽debt was聽paid off.
  • Retained earnings聽are part of shareholders'聽equity and are the amount of聽net earnings聽that were not paid to shareholders聽as聽dividends.聽

Example of a Balance Sheet聽

Below is a portion of Exxon Mobil Corporation's聽(XOM)聽聽as of September 30, 2018.聽

  • Total assets were $354,628 (highlighted in green).
  • Total liabilities were $157,797 (1st red highlighted area).
  • Total equity was $196,831 (in red).
  • Total liabilities and equity were $354,628, which equals the total assets for the period.
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Income Statements

Unlike the balance sheet, the income statement covers a range of time, which is a year for annual financial statements and a quarter for quarterly financial statements. The income statement provides an overview of revenues, expenses, net income and earnings per share. It usually provides two to three years of data for comparison.

Income Statement Formula and Calculation

Net聽Income=(RevenueExpenses)\text{Net Income}=(\text{Revenue}-\text{Expenses})Net聽Income=(RevenueExpenses)

  1. Total all revenue or sales for the period.
  2. Total all expenses and costs of operating the business.
  3. Subtract total expenses from revenue to achieve net income or the profit for the period.

Data From Income Statements

An income statement is one of the three important聽financial statements聽used for reporting a company's聽financial performance聽over a specific accounting period. Also known as the聽profit and loss statement聽or the statement of revenue and expense, the income statement primarily focuses on a company鈥檚 revenues and expenses during a particular period.

Once expenses are subtracted from revenues, the statement produces a company's profit figure called net income.

Types of Revenue

Operating revenue is the revenue earned by selling a company's products or services. The聽operating revenue for an auto manufacturer would be realized through the production and sale of autos. Operating revenue is generated from the core business activities of a company.

Non-operating revenue is the income earned from non-core business聽activities. These revenues fall outside the primary function of the business. Some non-operating revenue examples include:

  • Interest earned on cash in the bank
  • Rental income from a property
  • Income from strategic partnerships like聽royalty聽payment receipts
  • Income from an advertisement display located on the company's property

Other income is the revenue earned from other activities. Other income could include gains from the sale of long-term assets such as land, vehicles, or a subsidiary.

Types of Expenses

Primary expenses are incurred during the process of earning revenue from the primary activity of the business. Expenses include the cost of goods sold (COGS),聽selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A),聽depreciation聽or聽amortization, and聽research and development (R&D). Typical expenses include employee wages, sales commissions, and utilities such as electricity and transportation.

Expenses that are linked to secondary activities include interest paid on loans or debt. Losses from the sale of an asset are also recorded as expenses.

The main purpose of the income statement is to convey details of profitability and the financial results of business activities. However, it can be very effective in showing whether sales or revenue is increasing when compared over multiple periods. Investors can also see how well a company's management is controlling expenses to determine whether a company's efforts in reducing the cost of sales might boost profits over time.

Example of an Income Statement

Below is a portion of Exxon Mobil Corporation's聽(XOM)聽income statement as of September 30, 2018.

  • Total revenues were $76,605 for the period.
  • Total costs were $67,525.
  • Net income or profit was $6,240.
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Image by Sabrina Jiang 漏 Investopedia聽2020

The Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement (CFS)聽measures how well a company generates cash to pay its聽debt obligations, fund its聽operating expenses, and fund investments.聽The cash flow statement complements聽the聽balance sheet聽and聽income statement.

Data From the Cash Flow Statement

The CFS allows investors to understand how a company's operations are running, where its money is coming from, and how money聽is being spent. The CFS also provides insight as to whether a company is on a solid financial footing.

There is no formula, per se, for calculating a cash flow statement. Instead, it contains three sections that report cash flow for the various activities for which a company uses its cash. Those three components of the CFS are listed below.

Operating Activities聽

The operating activities on the CFS include any sources and uses of cash from running the business and selling its products or services. Cash from operations includes any changes made in cash,聽accounts receivable,聽depreciation,聽inventory, and聽accounts payable. These transactions also include wages, income tax payments, interest payments, rent, and cash receipts from the sale of a product or service.

Investing Activities

Investing activities include any sources and uses of cash from a company's investments into the long-term future of the company. A purchase or sale of an asset, loans made to vendors or received from customers or any payments related to a merger or acquisition is included in this category.

Also, purchases of fixed assets such as聽property, plant, and equipment (PPE) are included in this section. In short, changes in equipment, assets, or investments relate to cash from investing.

Financing Activities

Cash from financing activities include the sources of cash from investors or banks, as well as the uses of cash paid to shareholders. Financing activities include debt issuance, equity issuance, stock repurchases, loans, dividends paid, and repayments of debt.

The cash flow statement reconciles the income statement with the balance sheet in three major business activities.

Example of a Cash Flow Statement

Below is a portion of Exxon Mobil Corporation's聽(XOM)聽cash flow statement as of September 30, 2018.聽We can see the three areas of the cash flow statement and their results.

  • Operating activities generated a positive cash flow of $27,407 for the period.
  • Investing activities generated negative cash flow or cash outflows of -$10,862 for the period. Additions to property, plant, and equipment made up the majority of cash outflows, which means the company invested in new fixed assets.
  • Financing activities generated negative cash flow or cash outflows of -$13,945 for the period. Reductions in short-term debt and dividends paid out made up the majority of the cash outflows.
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Image by Sabrina Jiang 漏 Investopedia聽2020

Financial Statement Limitations

Although financial statements provide a wealth of information on a company, they do have limitations. The statements are open to interpretation, and as a result, investors often draw vastly different conclusions about a company's financial performance.

For example, some investors might want stock repurchases while other investors might prefer to see that money invested in long-term assets. A company's debt level might be fine for one investor while another might have concerns about the level of debt for the company. When analyzing financial statements, it's important to compare multiple periods to determine if there are any trends as well as compare the company's results its peers in the same industry.