Balance Sheet Definition Balance Sheet Definition In Business Consolidated Balance Sheet Definition Business Balance Sheet Definition Accounting Period Balance
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It is also important to know the value and structure of your assets and liabilities. Your net worth should be a positive number. The older you are the bigger the number should be. That is because you will need this net worth to finance your retirement when you can no longer work to provide income to your budget. The assets in your balance sheet fund your retirement in three ways. They keep costs down. The best example of this is home ownership. If you own your own home you will not have to pay a mortgage payment. That means you need 30% less to live on each month. The second way that assets fund your retirement is that you invest them in income producing assets such as Certificates of Deposit Bonds or dividend producing stocks.
In order to make your statements comply with these rules and to give them an air of authority you will have to hire a Certified Public Accountant or C.P.A. and have them compile review or audit your financial statements. What this means is that the C.P.A. takes your statements and then makes some cosmetic changes in order to present them in the form proscribed by US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or if appropriate one of a number of alternate forms and then issues an opinion on them. The opinion will vary depending upon the type of engagement you hired them to do. The standard opinion for a compilation is "we took this pile of crap and made it pretty but we re not saying that it makes any sense" while the standard opinion for an audit is "sure we took a look and everything seems OK but please don t sue us if we re wrong!" while a review falls between the two.
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To many non-financial people the balance sheet does not make sense in any case so they gravitate to the only report that is an easy read namely the income statement. Assets and liabilities are just too complex to grasp. In the last ten years or so this has changed so much so that readers and users are advised to lend substantially more credence to the balance sheet than the income statement. This "discrimination" exacted on the income statement is so severe that some investors are encouraged to even ignore the income statement as a whole. Why is this so? It could be the fiddling with revenue figures by many now defunct corrupt corporations which reported highly profitable figures whilst these businesses were heavily indebted (liabilities) or technically insolvent. Moreover high revenues are no guarantee against bankruptcy. Historically an income statement was drawn up first and the balance sheet second. The balance sheet became the "rubbish bin" for all items that could not balance the books.