Many people panic when faced with a balance sheet, usually because they don’t understand them. In a nutshell, a balance sheet is a snapshot of a company on a given day. That doesn’t sound like much, however, if you look carefully at it, it's going to tell you a lot about the financial health of a business.
It is a list of a company’s assets and liabilities that must balance (hence the name) with the money employed in the business including the profits or losses that the company has made up to that particular day.
The Assets appear on one side, all those items that generate income, such as:
money in the bank
prepayments - bills you have paid in advance
intellectual property rights
The other side are those items that cost money, the Liabilities:
VAT and any other sums owed to HMRC
credit card balances
accruals - bills that you know that you will have to pay
The total assets are taken from the total liabilities, giving either a plus or minus figure, described as the net assets (if positive) or net liabilities (if negative).
There is then another list that shows the money the business requires to function, the total capital employed. It’s made up of:
share capital - the money put into the company to start it up in the first place
long term loans - any loans taken out to build the business
all the previous year’s profit or loss
The total of this list must equal the net asset/ liability figure, whatever it may be. The balancing figure is the profit/ loss figure, being the total amount of profit or loss made by the company since it was formed.
Alison loves bookkeeping. She has been helping clients to be better bookkeepers in Sage 50 for over 22 years and has more recently added Xero Accreditation to her list of skills.
She specialises in a very unique hand-holding method of training, helping bookkeepers and business owners to use their accounts software as and when they need support in setting up and producing their invoices, reports and financial information.
Alison combines her role at Silicon Bullet with running two network marketing businesses and is also a Regional Leader for 4Networking as she likes to keep busy.
You know what they say, if you want something done well ask a busy person!
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