Balance Sheet Vs Income Statement
If you want the exact answer to just about every accounting question then it is there for you for free but in techno-accountant babble at asc.fasb.org. However most of you don t want to do all that work you want a quick and easy rule of thumb that works 90% of the time without you having to leave this article and that is exactly what you will get. The key here is conservatism we are much more worried about overvaluing an asset then we are at undervaluing. Therefore the rule of thumb is that assets are valued at the lessor of cost (what you paid for it) or fair market value (what you could get if you sold it right now).
Non-current assets therefore contains all resources owned by the company that have a useful life of more than one year. These assets are often referred to as Capital Assets which include equipment buildings and land. Notice that all assets mentioned thus far whether current or non-current can be classified as Tangible Assets which contain physical substance. However the balance sheet also presents Intangible Assets which are reported as non-current capital assets as well since they have a useful life of more than one year but do not have any physical substance such as goodwill and patents. The sum of the current and non-current assets will equate to and be reported on the balance sheet as Total Assets of the company. Liabilities: represents the claims against the company s assets that have not been paid at the balance sheet date. Therefore they are obligations to the company s creditors.
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Just like assets liabilities are subdivided into current and non-current. Accounts Payable is a frequent account that can be seen on the balance sheet and is essentially the direct opposite of the accounts receivable balance. While accounts receivable are amounts owed to the company from a customer sale on account accounts payable are amounts owed by the company to its creditors arising from purchases on account both of which are either expected to be collected or paid typically within 30 days. Non-current liabilities represent obligations that will not be settled for more than one year or the company s operating cycle whichever is longer.
The purpose of the balance sheet. The balance sheet s purpose is to provide a detailed listing of the company s assets and liabilities. It is not unlike a personal credit report. If you think about your own financial net worth you probably have a number of assets such as a home a vehicle a stock portfolio cash in a savings account and so forth. You also likely have a list of liabilities or debts such as a mortgage a car loan electric or telephone bills that have not yet been paid etc. This concept is directly analogous to a company and the balance sheet lists out all of these. Like the income statement an investor needs to be aware of the potential accounting assumptions made for the balance sheet. Obviously some line items are unambiguous. For example the worth of cash in the bank is a pretty straightforward value. However the worth of a 5 year old computer or an undeveloped piece of land are less concrete.