Balance Sheet

Reviewed by Bhavana | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

Introduction

A balance sheet is a financial statement that records at a particular point in time the assets, liabilities and equity of a company and provides a basis for estimating return rates and determining the capital structure. It is a financial statement that offers a snapshot of what an entity owns and owes, as well as the sum that shareholders spend.

This is used in the conduct of fundamental analysis or the estimation of financial ratios alongside other essential financial statements such as income statement and statement of cash flows.

What is the Formula Used in a Balance Sheet?

The balance sheet complies with the following accounting equation, in which assets on the one side, and liabilities plus shareholders' equity on the other, balance out:

*Assets=Liabilities + Shareholders'Equity *

This formula is intuitive: a business must pay for all it owns (assets) by either borrowing money (taken on liabilities) or taking it via investors (issuance of shareholders' equity).

Assets, shareholders' equity, and liabilities each of these components are made up of several smaller accounts that break down the particulars of the finances of a company. Such accounts vary greatly from one sector to another and the same words can have different meanings depending on the nature of the company. Broadly though, investors are likely to come across a few rising components.

Importance of a Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a snapshot which represents the condition of a firm's finances at a given point in time. This cannot by itself offer a sense of the patterns that play out over a longer period of time. Due to this reason it is crucial to equate the balance sheet with those of previous periods. It should also be contrasted with those of other firms in the same industry, as different industries have specific financing approaches.

Several ratios can be extracted from the balance sheet, which helps investors gain a sense of how stable a firm is. Such, along with many others, include the debt-to-equity ratio and the acid-test ratio. The income statement and cash flow statement both provide useful information for assessing a company's finances, as do any comments or addenda in an earnings report that may relate back to the balance sheet.