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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.
There are many forms of debt. There is secured debt. That means that the debt is secured by a lien against an asset that you own. The lien and the debt should be for less than the resale value of the asset. Unsecured debt does not have any such lien and is hopefully based on your capacity to service the debt. The problem with unsecured debt like credit cards is that it is not offset by some asset that you own and acts only to reduce the net worth on your balance sheet. Credit card debt would thus be categorized as bad debt as it only acts as a drag on building positive net worth.
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IFRS now implemented the converse the balance sheet is drawn up first and the income statement now becomes the "rubbish bin"! The balance sheet first method has more to do with accurate reporting than anything else and is supported by many accounting experts. The accounting equation Assets-Liabilities=Equity is the true bottom line not "profits". Capital growth is what any investor should be interested in. Any new business in reality is constructed from its "balance sheet" first. Capital is invested loans are sourced inventory is acquired and a bank account is opened. Only after all of the aforementioned has been established do the business start to generate revenue and incur expenses. Balance sheet auditing Balance sheet items are reviewed meticulously and prepared first. Accountants will audit fixed assets current assets current liabilities loans and investments.