Reports of Profits and Balances

A Profit & Loss Statement (P&L) is a summary of all the income and expenses for a business over a given period of time. At the end of a period a profit or loss for the business is calculated by deducting total expenses from total income. The period in question can be any length of time but is typically a month, a quarter of a year (3 months) or a full year. Both income and expenses can be shown listing the amounts for each account or else in summary form. A P&L not only reports whether a business is profitable or not but a detailed P&L can indicate why a certain result is achieved. The amount for each type of income and each type of expense can be compared to a standard. The standard may be a budget or a financial ratio or an industry comparison. These concepts will be dealt with later in the series.

A balance sheet (BS) shows the assets, liabilities and equity of a business at a particular point in time. Again the point in time can be any day but is typically reported at the end of a month, a quarter or a year. A … Read the rest