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1.5: Financial Statements

  • Page ID
    • Henry Dauderis and David Annand
    • Athabasca University via Lyryx Learning
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    Learning objective

    1. Identify, explain, and prepare the financial statements.

    Recall that financial accounting focuses on communicating information to external users. That information is communicated using financial statements. There are four financial statements: the income statement, statement of changes in equity, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. Each of these is introduced in the following sections using an example based on a fictitious corporate organization called Big Dog Carworks Corp.

    The Income Statement

    An income statement communicates information about a business's financial performance by summarizing revenues less expenses over a period of time. Revenues are created when a business provides products or services to a customer in exchange for assets. Assets are resources resulting from past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to result. Examples of assets include cash, equipment, and supplies. Assets will be discussed in more detail later in this chapter. Expenses are the assets that have been used up or the obligations incurred in the course of earning revenues. When revenues are greater than expenses, the difference is called net income or profit. When expenses are greater than revenue, a net loss results.

    Consider the following income statement of Big Dog Carworks Corp. (BDCC). This business was started on January 1, 2015 by Bob "Big Dog" Baldwin in order to repair automobiles. All the shares of the corporation are owned by Bob.

    At January 31, the income statement shows total revenues of $10,000 and various expenses totaling $7,800. Net income, the difference between $10,000 of revenues and $7,800 of expenses, equals $2,200.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    The Statement of Changes in Equity

    The statement of changes in equity provides information about how the balances in Share capital and Retained earnings changed during the period. Share capital is a heading in the shareholders' equity section of the balance sheet and represents how much shareholders have invested. When shareholders buy shares, they are investing in the business. The number of shares they purchase will determine how much of the corporation they own. The type of ownership unit purchased by Big Dog's shareholders is known as common shares. Other types of shares will be discussed in a later chapter. When a corporation sells its shares to shareholders, the corporation is said to be issuing shares to shareholders.

    In the statement of changes in equity shown below, Share capital and Retained earnings balances at January 1 are zero because the corporation started the business on that date. During January, Share capital of $10,000 was issued to shareholders so the January 31 balance is $10,000.

    Retained earnings is the sum of all net incomes earned by a corporation over its life, less any distributions of these net incomes to shareholders. Distributions of net income to shareholders are called dividends. Shareholders generally have the right to share in dividends according to the percentage of their ownership interest. To demonstrate the concept of retained earnings, recall that Big Dog has been in business for one month in which $2,200 of net income was reported. Additionally, $200 of dividends were distributed, so these are subtracted from retained earnings. Big Dog's retained earnings were therefore $2,000 at January 31, 2015 as shown in the statement of changes in equity below.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    To demonstrate how retained earnings would appear in the next accounting period, let's assume that Big Dog reported a net income of $5,000 for February, 2015 and dividends of $1,000 were given to the shareholder. Based on this information, retained earnings at the end of February would be $6,000, calculated as the $2,000 January 31 balance plus the $5,000 February net income less the $1,000 February dividend. The balance in retained earnings continues to change over time because of additional net incomes/losses and dividends.

    The Balance Sheet

    The balance sheet, or statement of financial position, shows a business's assets, liabilities, and equity at a point in time. The balance sheet of Big Dog Carworks Corp. at January 31, 2015 is shown below.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\)

    What Is an Asset?

    Assets are economic resources that provide future benefits to the business. Examples include cash, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, equipment, and trucks. Cash is coins and currency, usually held in a bank account, and is a financial resource with future benefit because of its purchasing power. Accounts receivable represent amounts to be collected in cash in the future for goods sold or services provided to customers on credit. Prepaid expenses are assets that are paid in cash in advance and have benefits that apply over future periods. For example, a one-year insurance policy purchased for cash on January 1, 2015 will provide a benefit until December 31, 2015 so is a prepaid asset. The equipment and truck were purchased on January 1, 2015 and will provide benefits for 2015 and beyond so are assets.

    What Is a Liability?

    A liability is an obligation to pay an asset in the future. For example, Big Dog's bank loan represents an obligation to repay cash in the future to the bank. Accounts payable are obligations to pay a creditor for goods purchased or services rendered. A creditor owns the right to receive payment from an individual or business. Unearned revenue represents an advance payment of cash from a customer for Big Dog's services or products to be provided in the future. For example, Big Dog collected cash from a customer in advance for a repair to be done in the future.

    What Is Equity?

    Equity represents the net assets owned by the owners (the shareholders). Net assets are assets minus liabilities. For example, in Big Dog's January 31 balance sheet, net assets are $12,000, calculated as total assets of $19,100 minus total liabilities of $7,100. This means that although there are $19,100 of assets, only $12,000 are owned by the shareholders and the balance, $7,100, are financed by debt. Notice that net assets and total equity are the same value; both are $12,000. Equity consists of share capital and retained earnings. Share capital represents how much the shareholders have invested in the business. Retained earnings is the sum of all net incomes earned by a corporation over its life, less any dividends distributed to shareholders.

    In summary, the balance sheet is represented by the equation: Assets = Liabilities + Equity. Assets are the investments held by a business. The liabilities and equity explain how the assets have been financed, or funded. Assets can be financed through liabilities, also known as debt, or equity. Equity represents amounts that are owned by the owners, the shareholders, and consists of share capital and retained earnings. Investments made by shareholders, namely share capital, are used to finance assets and/or pay down liabilities. Additionally, retained earnings, comprised of net income less any dividends, also represent a source of financing.

    The Statement of Cash Flows (SCF)

    Cash is an asset reported on the balance sheet. Ensuring there is sufficient cash to pay expenses and liabilities as they come due is a critical business activity. The statement of cash flows (SCF) explains how the balance in cash changed over a period of time by detailing the sources (inflows) and uses (outflows) of cash by type of activity: operating, investing, and financing, as these are the three types of activities a business engages in. Operating activities are the day-to-day processes involved in selling products and/or services to generate net income. Examples of operating activities include the purchase and use of supplies, paying employees, fuelling equipment, and renting space for the business. Investing activities are the buying of assets needed to generate revenues. For example, when an airline purchases airplanes, it is investing in assets required to help it generate revenue. Financing activities are the raising of money needed to invest in assets. Financing can involve issuing share capital (getting money from the owners known as shareholders) or borrowing. Figure 1.2 summarizes the interrelationships among the three types of business activities.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\): Relationships Among the Three Types of Business Activities

    The statement of cash flows for Big Dog is shown below.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{5}\)

    The statement of cash flows is useful because cash is one of the most important assets of a corporation. Information about expected future cash flows are therefore important for decision makers. For instance, Big Dog's bank manager needs to determine whether the remaining $6,000 loan can be repaid, and also whether or not to grant a new loan to the corporation if requested. The statement of cash flows helps inform those who make these decisions.

    Notes to the Financial Statements

    An essential part of financial statements are the notes that accompany them. These notes are generally located at the end of a set of financial statements. The notes provide greater detail about various amounts shown in the financial statements, or provide non-quantitative information that is useful to users. For example, a note may indicate the estimated useful lives of long-lived assets, or loan repayment terms. Examples of note disclosures will be provided later.

    This page titled 1.5: Financial Statements is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Henry Dauderis and David Annand (Lyryx Learning) .