Not a few have ventured into running a business enterprise without fully comprehending the importance of financial reports as tools for managing business finances. Often times, they perceive financial statements as mere reportorial requirements for taxation purposes or for getting a loan application approval.
One should stop to think that if such reports are important to tax bureaus and to lending institutions, then it is all the more important for entrepreneurs to fully comprehend what financial reports convey. Financial reports, such as the Income Statement, the Balance Sheet and the Cash Flow Statement serve as guides on how to effectively manage the financial conditions of a business.
If for financial management purposes, requiring the preparation of monthly reports is a best practice to consider.
What Does the Income Statement Convey?
The Income Statement may seem easy to comprehend as it merely summarizes the total cash revenues generated and the total operating expenses incurred for a certain period. First off, an Income Statement always covers a specific period, for a month at the least, for a quarter or semi-annual period or for a year.
The Income or Revenue is at first stated as Gross Income or Gross Revenue, which means the sum of all cash received as evidenced by official sales receipts issued during the period covered. The Gross Revenue will then be adjusted by deducting any Unearned Income and the the total Direct Costs, to arrive at the Gross Profit. Unearned Income is revenue already received but recognizable as income only on some future period.
In a simple trading firm, Direct Costs usually relate to the Cost of Goods or Merchandise Sold for the period. The Gross Profit therefore represents the markup yield.
The next goal is to determine the Net Profit, which is achieved by deducting the Total Operating Expenses from the Gross Profit, including non-cash items like depreciation and interest expense amortizations. The bottom line figure after the Net Profit is the Net Profit After Tax, being the actual amount that will increase a business entity’s Net Worth.
In cases where the Total Operating Expenses is greater than the Gross Profit, then a Net Loss was incurred. This calls for a deeper examination of the composition of the Total Revenues reported, and for an analysis of the proper matching of all costs and operating expenses deducted from the Gross Revenue.
Some expenses may have been overstated because part of expense values are applicable as deductions for the next periodic report. In other cases, Net Loss is incurred by failing to consider the overall overhead costs it would take to sell the goods.
Actually there are several other information that can be revealed by correlating Income Statement values with those presented in the Balance Sheet and the Cash Flow Statement.