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3 Essential Financial Statements for Your Small Business

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3 Essential Financial Statements for Your Small Business

By plester, Former Contributor
Published: August 4, 2014 Updated: August 4, 2014

Accurately tracking financial data is not only critical for running the day-to-day operations of your small business, but it is also essential when seeking funding from lenders or investors to take your business to the next level. In addition, keeping tabs of your finances can help ensure your products and services are priced right, identify what your margins are, determine your cash flow and make filing taxes easier.

Here are three basic financial statements that are important for your small business:

  1. Balance sheet. This statement provides an overall financial snapshot of your small business. As an equation, it looks like liabilities + owner’s equity = assets. The two sides of the equation must balance out.

There are two types of assets: current and fixed. Current assets include cash or other holdings that can quickly be converted to cash within a year. These may include inventory, prepaid expenses and accounts receivable. Machinery, equipment, land, buildings, furniture and other essentials that you are not planning to sell are considered fixed assets.

Liabilities can be broken down into current or short-term liabilities, such as accounts payable and taxes, and long-term debt such as bank loans or notes payable to stockholders. Owner’s equity includes any invested capital or retained earnings.  If you captured all of your accounting information correctly, both sides of the balance sheet equation should be equal. Download SCORE’s template to start setting up your own balance sheet.

  1. Profit and loss statement. A profit and loss statement, also referred to as an income statement, enables you to project sales and expenses and typically covers a period of a few months to a year.

To determine net profit, subtract total operating expenses from gross profit. (Gross profit – total operating expenses = net profit.) Remember that gross profit is calculated as total sales minus the cost of goods sold. Costs of goods sold include things like raw materials, inventory and payroll taxes. Make sure to also factor in overhead costs such repairs, utilities, insurance and legal fees into your operating expenses to ensure your net profit is accurate. SCORE’s profit and loss statement template (.xls) includes all the necessary calculations to help you forecast net profit.

  1. Cash flow statement. This statement highlights how much money is coming in to (cash inflows) and going out of (cash outflows) your business. Cash inflows include cash sales, accounts receivable collections, loans and other investments. Equipment purchased, expenses paid, inventory and other payments are considered cash outflows.

To calculate your ending cash balance, take the beginning cash balance, add cash inflows and then subtract cash outflows. (Beginning cash balance + cash inflows – cash outflows = ending cash balance.) Download SCORE’s cash flow statement template (.xls) to get started. Explore SCORE’s library of financial statement templates for more helpful documents.

Learn more about preparing financial statements for your small business and check out our free training course on accounting basics. You can find a SCORE chapter, Small Business Development Center SBA resource partner for additional resources, training and mentoring.

About the Author:

Paul Lester

Former Contributor

I am an author for the the SBA.gov Community, writing about topics that matter to you as a small business owner. Our ongoing goal is to improve this site to meet your needs, so we're happy to receive your feedback and participation. Thanks for joining our online Community here at SBA.gov!


Thanks for the article meaningful and rewarding.
My Small Business had some problem with Balance sheet. So your information very usefull for us! Thank!
Hi, Cash Flow is crital for a small business. Feasibility study might be a requirement for starting a new small business. We provide feasibility studies for all project types for SBA programs. Check out our website.
Well I don't see how it is posible to run success business without this,those are basics.
Managing your final accounts is the best way to track your financial position, as to where the current situation lies. Balance sheet, Cash Flow Statement and profit &loss statement are a track record for it. We should prepare them on regular basis.
i think small business need more training in how to manage cashflow and money in general. this is one of the greatest undoing og many businesses
I agree Andre. Most small businesses should be relying on their accounting professionals for training and insight. If not, then at a least an intro or refresher course at a local college would work wonders.
Great blog post. Knowing your financials is essential for your business to succeed.
Great information Paul, As a small business owner it's very important to keep track of our finances and determining our margins!! Thank you for sharing
Hi, great info. I'm currently using Quicken to track my finances, but find it difficult to use. Is there any other software you recommend that is easier to use? Thanks.


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