Key Differences Between Your Balance Sheet and P&L Statement

what is a balance sheet vs profit and loss

The latter refers to long-term investments for which the value will not be realised within the accounting year. Here’s what you need to know about the P&L statement and balance sheet and how they differ. Part of ensuring you have a successful, accurate accounting system is knowing which documents you need to keep tabs on.

The Profit and Loss Account of the enterprise discloses the net profit or loss of the firm. Because it is a nominal account, the transactions are recorded as per the golden rules regarding the concerned account. You may also identify changes that are not immediately apparent, such as periods where your expenses are growing at a faster rate compared to your revenue. With these insights, you’ll be better-positioned to make improved business and financial decisions. They are listed in order of maturity; current liabilities, which will come due within a year are listed above long-term liabilities.

All assets are listed in one section, and their sum must equal the sum of all liabilities and the shareholder equity. The balance sheet and P&L statement hold similar financial information; however, there are differences to consider. The balance sheet highlights the financial position of the firm in terms of liquidity and solvency at the end of the financial year. The financial status of the firm is revealed by way of the total amount of resources raised from different sources in the form of equity and liabilities and applied in the form of assets. A balance sheet reports a company’s assets, liabilities and shareholder equity at a specific point in time.

Key Differences Between Your Balance Sheet and P&L Statement

The balance sheet and the profit and loss (P&L) statement are two of the three financial statements companies issue regularly. The profit and loss records will deliver your company’s capable and non-capable information to generate earnings with cost reduction, revenue increment, or even both. These business financial statements are most frequently presented either in cash or on an accrual basis. You can get a sense of all your assets and resources, in addition to what you owe, on this statement, reflecting your business’s financial health overall.

what is a balance sheet vs profit and loss

Companies publish P&L statements annually, at the end of the company’s fiscal year, and may also publish them on a quarterly basis. Accountants, analysts, and investors study a P&L statement carefully, scrutinizing cash flow and debt financing capabilities. From the three financial statements, profit and loss (P&L) and balance sheet are the two financial statements firms issue regularly. It allows businesses to report their business financial performance for a certain period of accounting.

Format of Profit and Loss Account

In general, the profit and loss (P&L) statement is also known as an income statement. The profit and loss (P&L) statement will describe your business’s earned profit and lost money for the specified period. The main purpose and objective of preparing the trial balance are to make sure that the individual company’s bookkeeping systems are accurate as per the mathematics. What’s important is to compare your P&L across different accounting periods. Sometimes you may not have the knowledge or bandwidth to take the time to create these financial documents yourself.

  • This will later coincide with the balance sheet you previously created in that the net income will appear in the retained earnings line item on the balance sheet.
  • The balance sheet is often used to show your creditors or potential investors how you run your business and whether it’s being managed properly.
  • The position will be reflected through the status of the assets, liability and capital of the firm on a particular date.
  • A profit and loss account, on the other hand, is an account that shows the revenue earned and expenses sustained by the company, during the course of business, in a financial year.

A profit and loss account, on the other hand, is an account that shows the revenue earned and expenses sustained by the company, during the course of business, in a financial year. In contrast, the balance sheet aggregates multiple accounts, summing up the number of assets, liabilities and shareholder equity in the accounting records at a specific time. The balance sheet includes outstanding expenses, accrued income, and the value of the closing stock, whereas the trial balance does not. The balance sheet shows a company’s resources or assets, and it also shows how those assets are financed—whether through debt under liabilities or by issuing equity as shown in shareholder equity. The balance sheet provides both investors and creditors with a snapshot of how effectively a company’s management uses its resources.

A balance sheet considers a specific point in time, while a P&L statement is concerned with a set period of time. From an accounting standpoint, revenues and expenses are listed on the P&L statement when they are incurred, not when the money flows in or out. One beneficial aspect of the P&L statement in particular is that it uses operating and nonoperating revenues and expenses, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and GAAP. The company will prepare its balance sheet for both internal and external use. Conversely, the company will prepare the trial balance for only the purpose of internal use. Once the trading and P&L Account preparation are complete, the balance sheet is prepared.


There are options for financial and business software you can use that does a lot of the work for you, or you could use a simple spreadsheet. But, remember that accuracy is a must in these records, so you must pay close attention to detail and review them carefully to ensure everything is correct and up to date. We prepare the profit and loss account of an enterprise at the end of the financial year. It is prepared to identify the end result of the business operations. As we follow a double-entry system of bookkeeping, in which every debit has a corresponding credit. So, as per the accounting equation also the total of the asset side must tally the total of liabilities side.

what is a balance sheet vs profit and loss

Financial records must be tracked, created, stored, and referenced correctly for a business to function successfully. Now, operation profits are calculated by deducting office and administration, selling and distribution charges from gross profit. After that, the net profit or loss is calculated by adding operating profit and deducting operating expenses from the operating profit. Assets which are convertible into cash in twelve months are called current assets. Examples are stock, bills receivable, debtors, marketable securities etc.

The order in which they are prepared

The two important parts of the financial statement are the Balance Sheet and the Profit & Loss account. Without the preparation of these two entities, the financial statement cannot be reported, and even the readers of the statement are not able to clearly understand the company’s position. Hence, due regard is to be given by every company in the preparation of the two. However, people don’t understand them very clearly and have problems distinguishing the two terms balance sheet vs p&l. Our law bookkeeping services will help you discriminate between both of them. The balance sheet will express the company’s assets, equity, and liabilities.

Though both of these are a little oversimplified, this is often how the P&L statement and the balance sheet tend to be interpreted by investors and lenders. On the right hand side, that is equity and liability side, it shows shareholders’ funds, current and non-current liabilities. Only the real and personal account balance gets displayed on the balance sheet.

The trial balance assists the firm to estimate the arithmetical precision in the posting and recording. On the liabilities side, you will find creditor’s equity and owner’s equity i.e. capital. In short, the claim of the creditors and owners must be equal to the firm’s assets.

What’s included in a profit and loss statement?

The other two financial statements are the cash flow statement and the balance sheet. Balance sheets are built more broadly, revealing what the company owns and owes as well as any long-term investments. Unlike an income statement, the full value of long-term investments or debts appears on the balance sheet. The name “balance sheet” is derived from the way that the three major accounts eventually balance out and equal each other.

The balance sheet is often used to show your creditors or potential investors how you run your business and whether it’s being managed properly. One of your business’s most important documents is the profit and loss (P&L) statement. Everything that’s on this statement must be accurate so the standing of your business is reflected properly for the specific period you’re looking at.