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Why Small Businesses Are Different If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur then you need to be able to read and understand your balance sheet because first it is through your financial statements and other numerical data that you collect that you really get to know your business. Michael Gerber the best selling author of the E-Myth Revisited says it much better than I ever could as "because without the numbers you can t possibly know where you are let alone where you re going. With the numbers your business will take on a totally new meaning. It will come alive with possibility." The very first step you will ever take down that road to really knowing your business is through examining and understanding your own balance sheet.
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.