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Now it s fine to do the math and plug the number to get started but as you go forward your retained earnings will develop a new relationship with the income statement (also commonly called the profit and loss statement). Basically the relationship is net income + any contributions to capital - any distributions of capital (dividends) = the change in retained earnings for the period. So retained earnings becomes the bridge between the balance sheet over two consecutive time periods (usually a year). For more information on calculating retained earnings see the link to my blog below. What the CPA or Auditor Does You ve done a fantastic job getting your balance sheet set up and keeping it going but at some point you re going to show it to someone a banker a supplier a potential business partner and they are going to take one look at the work that you have so proudly and lovingly put your heart into and they will say "what the Hell is this crap?" Don t take it personally (you need their money after all) just understand that there are standard ways to present present financial statements and set rules to follow.
Second your balance sheet is how anyone that you will ever want to do business with will understand your business. Think about getting a loan the first thing your banker wants to see are your financial statements and the first page of your financial statements is your balance sheet. Why is it first? Perhaps because it is the most important. Now think about your situation; you re applying for a loan or a grant or you want to do business with the federal government or an investor is thinking about either coming on board or buying you out and you present your financial statements to them.
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This could be cash or real estate or stocks and bonds or machinery and equipment or accounts receivable or other moneys due to you. It could also include inventory which is product that you have produced but not yet sold. So to summarize assets are usually either cash something that you have bought something that you have made and that you expect to sell or something that is owed to you. Clearly then if you want to make your balance sheet you must have a list of your assets and how much each is worth. The rub lies in the worth or valuation of the assets. "Hmm you think I bought this asset ten years ago at 10 grand I added 5 grand in improvements to it it would cost me 20 grand to replace it and I could get about 18 grand on the open market for it so what value should I put down for it?" Clever question my dear reader! Well as you may have assumed we accountants have put a great deal of thought into these issues and we continue to think about and tweak the ways we value things to this very day.