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Balance Sheet

What is a Balance Sheet?

The balance sheet is a statement of a firm’s financial position at a specified time, such as the end of month, quarter or year. The balance sheet will show assets and list any liabilities, giving a statement of what the business owes and owns.

What Shows on the Balance Sheet?

On the balance sheet the firm will record its assets. These will depend on the type of business but typically will include:

  • Cash
  • Petty Cash
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Stock
  • Equipment
  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Advance payments for stock
  • Insurance paid

A record of the assets will show the financial good health of the firm, what it is worth on paper to potential investors or banker when looking for credit.

The firm also records liabilities. This will include such items as:

  • Accounts payable
  • Salaries payable
  • Taxes payable
  • Interest on loans
  • Loans payable
  • Expenses payable
  • Casual labor wages due
  • Leasing agreements for equipment

The principal of the loans payable over the accounting period are only included on the balance sheet, as are the payments due in that time on a leasing agreement.

There are many more assets and liabilities that could be included depending on the type of business. For a typical store, the balance sheet will include most items on these lists. The balance sheet is a picture of the store’s health therefore the store must record all assets and liabilities.

Financial Health of Business

Any retail business will need to keep a very accurate balance sheet. The storeowner will want to know the financial health of the business before planning for the year ahead or if thinking of expansion. A banker will need to see the balance sheet before deciding on extending credit terms or granting new facilities. If the storeowner is looking for investors of partners, they will want a look at the current balance sheet. One that shows more in liabilities than in assets will raise questions on the viability of the store. The store may have too much debt to pay or have too many debtors on the accounts receivable entry or creditors on the accounts payable. A store running a negative balance sheet will be a warning to bankers and others. It is also a warning to the storeowner that the store is under pressure financially and that though the store may seem busy, they may need to adjust to keep the store in profit in the long term.

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