Profit & Loss Statement/Account - Why & How it is prepared?

Updated on: Jun 14th, 2024


5 min read

Every business wants to know the incomes earned and expenses incurred during a particular period, usually at the end of the year. Profit & Loss Account reflects the income and expenses of the business. It is a financial statement reflecting the outcome of business activities of an organisation during an accounting period. The Profit & Loss Account reports the incomes and expenses directly related to an organisation to measure the performance in terms of profit or loss. Profit & Loss Account is also known as P&L A/c, Profit & Loss Statement, Income Statement or Income and Expense Statement.

What is Profit & Loss Statement?

The Profit & Loss Statement is a crucial financial statement summarising the costs, revenues and expenses incurred by a business during a specific period, usually a quarter or year. All the indirect expenses and incomes, including the gross profit/loss, are reported in the Profit & Loss Statement to arrive at the net profit or loss. It shows the company’s net profit or loss during a specific time for which it is prepared. This statement helps companies make informed decisions about their operations and track their financial performance.

Profit & Loss Statement/Account shows the profits/losses earned/incurred by a business for a month or a year. Companies use Profit & Loss Statement and others use “T Account” for these below mentioned reasons. Profit & Loss Statement/Account is prepared for two main reasons.

  1. To know the profits/losses earned/incurred by a business,
  2. Statutory requirements (Companies Act, Partnership Act or any other law)

Traditionally, there were two steps to know the profit/loss. It meant, the preparation of :

  1. Trading Account
  2. Profit & Loss Account

The trading account reflects the gross profit or loss of the business. Profit & Loss Account shows the net profit or loss earned by the company. Calculations in the Profit & Loss Account would be as follows:

  • Add all revenue earned over the accounting period.
  • Add all expenditures made throughout the accounting period.
  • Subtract total expenses from total revenue to know the difference.
  • If the value is positive, it represents profit; if it is negative, it represents a loss.

How to prepare Profit & Loss Statement?

Below is the process to prepare the Profit & Loss Statement:

  • Prepare ledger accounts: An account statement must be prepared for each ledger from the journal book to determine the closing balance.
  • Create trial balance: Trial balance summarises all the ledger accounts. It lists every ledger account with the closing balance posted from the individual ledger accounts statement.
  • Preparing trading and profit & loss statement: All the ledger accounts with the nature of the sales, purchase, indirect expenses, direct expense and income are posted to the Profit & Loss Statement.

Components of Profit & Loss Statements

The Profit & Loss Account consists of many components that record the expenses and income of the business under various categories, which are listed below:


The business’s income is classified into two main categories. The revenue from the primary business operations is recorded first, which includes the revenue generated in the normal course of business. The next category refers to the other income or the miscellaneous income of the business, which includes the income generated from the company's various investments, such as interest or dividend income. 

Cost of Goods Sold

The Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) recorded in the Profit & Loss Statement includes the direct cost of operating like the labour cost, raw material cost or the direct overheads of the business related to the purchasing or manufacturing the goods. These expenses are deducted from the revenue to generate the business’s gross margin.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses are the indirect expenses/costs involved in the production or manufacturing process of running a business. These expenses include administrative expenses like depreciation costs, employee costs, marketing and distribution costs, selling cost, research and development costs, etc. 

Operating Profit

The operating profit is the positive balance from the gross margin after deducting the operating expenses. It is also called EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes). A positive operating margin assures the stakeholders and investors of the business’s profitability and solvency.  

Net Income

The net income of a business is the net profit generated by the business after deducting all the operating and non-operating expenses, interest and taxes. It is the profit that is available for distribution to the shareholders. The earnings per share are also calculated based on the net profit or the business’s net income. 

Different Formats of the Profit & Loss Account

Let us take you through different formats of the profit & loss account: 

  1. Format for Sole Traders & Partnership Firms
  2. Format of P&L Account for Companies

Format for Sole Traders & Partnership Firms

No specific format of Profit & Loss Account is given for the sole traders and partnership firms. They can prepare the P&L Account in any form. However, it should reflect the gross profit & net profit separately. 

Usually, these entities prefer “T shaped form” for preparing P&L account. 

  • T-shape Form T-shape form P&L account has two sides – Debit & Credit. Trading account is prepared first followed by Profit & Loss Statement. 

Trading and Profit & Loss Account

To Opening StockxxxBy Salesxxx
To PurchasesxxxBy Closing Stockxxx
To Direct Expensesxxx  
To Gross Profitxxx  
 xxx xxx
To Operating ExpensesxxxBy Gross Profitxxx
To Operating Profitxxx  
 xxx xxx
To Non-operating expensesxxxBy Operating Profitxxx
To Exceptional ItemsxxxBy Other Incomexxx
To Finance Costxxx  
To Depreciationxxx  
To Net Profit Before Taxxxx  
 xxx xxx

Format of P&L Account for Companies

Companies have to prepare the Profit & Loss Account as per Schedule III of Companies Act, 2013. 

Following is the format mentioned in Schedule IIISTATEMENT OF PROFIT & LOSS 

Name of the Company…………. 

Statement of Profit and Loss for the period ended…………….  

 Note No.Figures for the current reporting periodFigures for the previous reporting period
a) Revenue From operations   
b) Other Income   
Total Income   
a) Cost of materials consumed   
b) Purchases of Stock-in-Trade   
c) Changes in inventories of finished goods, Stock-in -Trade and work-in-progress   
d) Employee benefits expense   
e) Finance costs   
f) Depreciation and amortisation expenses   
g) Other expenses   
Total Expenses   
Profit/(loss) before exceptional items and tax   
Exceptional Items   
Profit/ (loss) before tax   
Tax Expense:   
Current tax   
Deferred tax   
Profit (Loss) for the period from continuing operations   
Profit/(loss) from discontinued operations   
Tax expenses of discontinued operations   
Profit/(loss) from Discontinued operations (after tax)   
Profit/(loss) for the period   
Other Comprehensive Income   
A. (i) Items that will not be reclassified to profit or loss   
(ii) Income tax relating to items that will not be reclassified  to profit or loss   
B. (i) Items that will be reclassified to profit or loss   
(ii)  income tax relating to items that will be reclassified to profit or loss   
Total Comprehensive Income for the period Comprising Profit (Loss) and   other comprehensive income for the period )   
Earnings per equity share (for continuing operation):   
(1) Basic   
(2) Diluted   
Earnings per equity share (for discontinued operation):   
(1) Basic   
(2) Diluted   
Earning per equity share (for discontinued & continuing operation)   
(2) Diluted   

Details to be disclosed in the notes

a. Amount of “Revenue from operations” will be divided in –

i. Sale of products (including excise duty)

ii. Sale of services

iii. Other operating revenues

b. Finance cost will be distributed in –

i. Interest

ii. Dividend on redeemable preference shares

iii. Exchange Differences regarded as an adjustment to borrowing costs, and

iv. Other borrowing costs (if any)

c. Other Income will be distributed in –

i. Interest Income,

ii. Dividend Income, and

iii. Other non-operating income

d. Other Comprehensive Income shall be classified into –

i.Items that will  not be reclassified to profit or loss

  1. Changes in revaluation surplus
  2. Remeasurements of the defined benefit plans
  3. Equity Instruments through Other Comprehensive Income
  4. Fair value changes relating to own credit risk of financial liabilities designated at fair value through profit or loss

Share of other comprehensive income in associates and joint ventures, to the extent not to be classified into profit or loss, and


ii. Items that will be reclassified to profit or loss

  1. Exchange differences in translating the financial statements of a foreign operation;
  2. Debt instruments through Other Comprehensive Income;
  3. The effective portion of gains and loss on hedging instruments in a cash flow hedge;
  4. Share of other comprehensive income in Associates and Joint Ventures, to the extent to be classified into profit or loss; and
  5. Others

e. Employees benefit expense

i. Salaries and wages,

ii. Contribution to provident and other funds,

iii. Share-based payments to employees

iv. Staff welfare expenses

f. Depreciation and amortisation expense,

g. Interest Income, 

h. Interest Expense, 

i. Dividend Income, 

j. Net gain or loss on sale of investments,

k. Net gain or loss on foreign currency transaction and translation (other than considered as finance cost), 

l. Payment to the auditor as :

i. Auditor

ii. For taxation matters

iii. For company law matters

iv. For other services

v. For reimbursement of expenses

m. Amount of expenses incurred on corporate social responsibility activities 

n. Details of items of exceptional nature   

o. Any other expense or income which exceeds higher of Rs. 10,00,000 or 1% of revenue from operations

Form 23ACA – E-Form for submitting Profit & Loss Account with Registrar

For submitting Profit & Loss Account with the Registrar, a company has to file e-Form 23ACA. 

With the form, it has to attach an audited copy of Profit & Loss Account. The e-form has to be digitally signed by a CA or CMA or CS, who is in whole time practise, certifying that the information entered in 23ACA is correct and audited Profit & Loss Account is attached with the form.

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