Importance of Financial Statements
Financial Statements are very important as it accurately reflects the company’s business performance and financial position. It is impossible to provide a complete set of the importance of financial statements as there could thousands of such reasons.
In this article, we provide the list of top 10 importance of financial statements –
#1 – Importance of the Balance Sheet
The balance sheet shows the financial position of the company and provides detailed investments of the companies asset investments. The balance sheet also contains the companies debt and equity levels. This capital mix helps investors and creditors understand the position and the companies performance
#2 – Importance of Income Statement
The balance sheet is as on date and a snapshot of the companies assets, liabilities, equity and debt. It does not show what actually happened in the period that caused the company to get to the position where it is now. Therefore, profit figures on the income statement are important to the investors.
Income statement format contains sales, expenses, losses, and profit. Using these statements can help investors evaluate the companies past performance and determine the future cash flows
IFRS and US GAAP also have a difference in the classification of certain expenses like restructuring charges, shipping costs, and handling costs. The vital expense of depreciation and discontinues operations is also treated very differently.
#3 – Importance of Cash Flow Statement
Cash flow statement shows the inflow and the outflow of the cash flow in and out of the business during the financial period. This gives the investors an idea if the company has enough funds to pay for its expenses and purchases.
Cash flow statement has all the three main headings ie Operating, Investing and Financing. This gives the business an overview of all the entire business
Under the US GAAP interest received and paid will be a part of operating activities while under IFRS interest received will be a part of operating or investing activities. Interest paid will be a part of operating or financing activities. Similarly, under US GAAP dividends received will be a part of operating activities while dividends paid will be a part of financing activities and under IFRS, dividends received will be a part of operating activities while dividends paid will be a part of the financing
#4 – Importance of the Statement of Equity
This primarily is important to the equity shareholders because it shows the changes in the components like retained earnings during the period. The difference between equity and debt shows the companies net worth.
A company with a steady increase in retained earnings is sustainable as opposed to increasing shareholder base
#5 – To the Management
The complexities and the size of the business make it necessary for the management to have up to date, accurate and detailed information of the business and the financial position. The financial position helps the management in understanding the performance of the company in comparison to the other businesses and the sector.
Providing management with accurate information enables them to form accurate policies for the companies and take correct decisions
The performance of management is ranked by these statements, the performance of these statements will help management justify their work to all the parties involved in the business
#6 – To the Shareholders
Shareholders are the owners of the business but do not take part in making decisions and day to day activities. However, these results are shared to the shareholders at the AGM meetings held annually.
These statements enable the shareholders to understand how the company has been performing. It also enables them to judge the present and future performance
Financial statements are the most important source of information for current and prospective customers. They also need it to understand the dividend payout ratio and forecast the future dividends
#7 – To the Creditors and the Lenders
Factors like liquidity, debt, profitability are all judged by the important metrics in the financial statements. Creditors and Lenders are most concerned about the companies debt position. If the debt level is higher than the other companies in the same industry it means that the company is over-leveraged
Analyzing these statements will help them decide if they want to continue and decide the future course of action
<h3 “article”>#8 – To the Employees
There are companies which present a different financial statement for its employees. Employees need business information for mainly two reasons their current wage and future salary appraisals. They will be interested in knowing the current condition as well as the future earnings
<h3 “article”>#9 – To the Government
This is another importance of the financial statements is that the government uses financial statements for taxation purpose. The government uses the business performance of these companies in various sectors to asses the economies performance
<h3 “article”>#10 – To the Company
Debt can cripple the progress of any company no matter which sector the company belongs to. Ratios like debt to equity, interest coverage ratio, debt service charge, etc help the management take important decision related to debt
Trend analysis helps in forecasting the future metrics and identify the trend of both past and present. This will help the business understand the current weakness and overall health of the company
By getting accurate and regular information decisions can be made quickly and swiftly. This helps in avoiding roadblocks and maintaining financial liquidity at the same time
If the company wishes to borrow any money, then it can have a look at the current liabilities by using the financial statements. Business loans, credit cards are the types of liabilities that the company must consider before applying for further loans
It is mandatory for all public companies to publish financial statements quarterly or annually. Hence to also be compliant with the government norms it is necessary to publish these statements
There are also differences in the layout of the balance sheet and income statement. There is no specific requirement for balance sheet and income statement however, public companies must follow the specific guidelines as per the regulation by SEC. In the case of IFRS, there is not a prescribed layout but has a limitation on the number of line items.
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