what is an income statement

The best way to analyze a company and decide whether you should invest is to know how to dissect its income statement. In this regard, note especially that “bottom line” Net profit sometimes gives a less-than-clear picture of the performance results of most concern to investors and owners. Net profit, after all, can reflect contributions from noncash expenses , taxes, the firm’s financial investments, extraordinary items, and still other factors. These contributions sometimes “muddy the waters,” that is, obscure actual performance results in the core line of business.

You will not see a line item for depreciation on a cash flow statement; it is not a cash transaction. Instead, the full brunt of capital expenditures is recognized when the expenditure actually occurs. The cash flow statement also separates investments and financing transactions. These differences are designed to clarify the actual amount of cash available to the company.

Data Tables

Income statements can be created to analyze and compare business performance over a month, a quarter or a year, and are an effective tool to review cash flow and predict future business performance. Use our free income statement template to review your business performance, and check out the Transferwise multi-currency business account as a smart way to cut your bank charges. Line item analysis takes a deep dive into a particular item on the income statement to examine its components in more detail. This is typically performed to ensure items aren’t missing—especially activity that occurs near either side of a cutoff period. Insert any gains/losses or ancillary income and adjust income from operations accordingly to yield net income before taxes .

Another common format is the condensed income statement, which includes only summary totals of each expense category. Other users include tax authorities such as the IRS, which review income statements to evaluate a company’s tax liability. Customers may use a company’s income statements to assess its long-term viability and stability. Along with the cash flow statement, they comprise the core of financial reporting.

How Do You Calculate the Net Profit on an Income Statement?

Of these three, the income statement is often considered to be the most important tool for communicating and measuring the success of the business. The income statement provides stakeholders, investors, and decision-makers information about income statement a company’s ability to generate profit by increasing revenue or reducing costs. It can contain information related to sales revenue, cost of goods sold , selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, interest, taxes, and net income.

what is an income statement

The income statement may be presented by itself on a single page, or it may be combined with other comprehensive income information. In the latter case, the report format is called a statement of comprehensive income. This format shows the results of more than one reporting period in a set of adjacent columns.

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These are all expenses linked to noncore business activities, like interest paid on loan money. Revenue is usually accounted for in the period when sales are made or services are delivered. Receipts are the cash received and are accounted for when the money is actually received. For instance, a customer may take goods/services from a company on Sept. 28, which will lead to the revenue being accounted for in the month of September. Owing to his good reputation, the customer may be given a 30-day payment window. It will give him until Oct. 28 to make the payment, which is when the receipts are accounted for.

A total of $560 million in selling and operating expenses, and $293 million in general and administrative expenses, were subtracted from that profit, leaving an operating income of $765 million. To this, additional gains were added and losses were subtracted, including $257 million in income tax. Though calculations involve simple additions and subtractions, the order in which the various entries appear in the statement and their relationships often get repetitive and complicated.

Common examples for retailers and manufacturers include investment income, interest expense, and the gain or loss on the sale of equipment that had been used in the business. Investment analysts intensely scrutinize companies’ income statements. Corporate financial announcements frequently emphasize information reported in income statements, particularly earnings, more than information reported in the other financial statements. Charitable organizations that are required to publish financial statements do not produce an income statement. Instead, they produce a similar statement that reflects funding sources compared against program expenses, administrative costs, and other operating commitments. This statement is commonly referred to as the statement of activities. Revenues and expenses are further categorized in the statement of activities by the donor restrictions on the funds received and expended.


In both income statements and balance sheets, line items are often grouped into natural categories to help make the statements easier to read and help stakeholders find specific items of interest. Balance sheets list current assets, long-term assets, total assets, current liabilities, long term liabilities, total liabilities and accumulated retained earnings (or shareholder’s equity). Income statements show revenue, gains, expenses, losses and net income. But if you’re looking for a super simple financial report to calculate your https://quickbooks-payroll.org/ company’s financial performance, single-step is the way to go. Creditors may find income statements of limited use, as they are more concerned about a company’s future cash flows than its past profitability. Research analysts use the income statement to compare year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter performance. One can infer, for example, whether a company’s efforts at reducing the cost of sales helped it improve profits over time, or whether management kept tabs on operating expenses without compromising on profitability.

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