Balance Sheet vs. Cash Flow Statement: Key Differences

Key Takeaways. A balance sheet shows what a company owns in the form of assets and what it owes in the form of liabilities. A balance sheet also shows the amount of money invested by shareholders listed under shareholders’ equity. The cash flow statement shows the cash inflows and outflows for a company during a period …

Business managers depend on precise financial data to make wise business decisions. There are two reports used for this: the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. These financial statements provide important details about the cash that a company brings in and spends, as well as the ownership stake that the company has. When deciding whether to lend money to or invest in the company, banks and investors also consider these reports.

Connecting the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement

What is a cash flow statement?

The amount of cash and cash equivalents that enter and leave a company through business operations are shown on the cash flow statement of that company. It’s a crucial document that gauges how well businesses run their operations and generate income to pay off debt and fund operating expenses. When a business prepares its cash flow statement, it subtracts from or adds to its net income in accordance with the type of transaction, such as purchases and sales. Companies also include financial data on a cash flow statement in three crucial sections of the document:

Operating cash

A cash flow statement’s operating cash can come from a variety of sources and be used for a variety of operational purposes. This figure reflects the amount of money a business makes from the sale of goods or services. In order to show where revenue originates from and to whom businesses make payments, businesses essentially record receipts from sales, interest payments, income tax payments, supplier fees, and employee salaries as incoming and outgoing cash flows.


On the cash flow statement, investments that assist businesses in generating additional revenue are accounted for as outgoing cash flow. The cash flow statement is the report that contains information about asset purchases and sales, customer loans, vendor loans, and payments for acquisitions and mergers. In addition, a company may include any investment returns in its cash flow statement.

Financing activities

Additionally, businesses keep track of financing activities that result in cash flow and cash payments. Companies frequently distribute dividends to shareholders, and these payments are shown as outgoing cash on the cash flow statement. Basically, a company’s financing activities on its cash flow statement show the activities it engages in to profit from its investments and pay its shareholders.

What is a balance sheet?

An organization’s assets, liabilities, and shareholder equity are listed on a balance sheet for a particular accounting period. Companies must disclose all current assets, liabilities, and debts on the balance sheet, as well as the value of shareholders’ investments, which can come from a variety of sources.

The balance sheet of a company can be calculated by calculating its assets, which are equal to the sum of its liabilities and owners equity, and by calculating owners equity as the amount of assets less the sum of the company’s liabilities. On the balance sheet, the values that result from both calculations must always balance. Additionally, it’s critical that businesses note the sources of their assets, liabilities, and equity in each section of the balance sheet:


Cash, liquid assets, equity and debt securities, accounts receivable, and inventory are all listed as assets on a company’s balance sheet. For instance, a business may list liquid assets in this section of its balance sheet, such as revenue, treasury bills, or certificates of deposit. Additionally, a company’s balance sheet may also include other highly liquid assets, such as stock shares.


On a balance sheet, a company’s liabilities typically consist of both short- and long-term debt such as loans, utilities, rent or mortgage, taxes, and employee wages. Since shareholders and investors profit from their investments in company stock, many businesses also include payable dividends in this section of the balance sheet. To calculate the value of a company’s shareholder equity, both its total asset and liability values must be available.

Shareholder equity

Shareholder equity, which represents a company’s total assets minus its liabilities and represents the company’s net value, The amount that investors and other stakeholders would get from the company if it sold all of its assets and settled all of its debts is also referred to as shareholders equity. Retained earnings, or the portion of net earnings allotted to reinvestment activities as opposed to paying shareholder dividends, are a significant financial value that businesses report under shareholder equity on the balance sheet.

How are balance sheets used?

A company keeps up-to-date records of all its assets, liabilities, and equity on a balance sheet, which can also provide information about the company’s current financial situation. Insight into a company’s liquid and non-liquid assets, as well as the type of debt it owes, can be gained by potential investors. Additional significant applications of a balance sheet in business accounting and finance include:

How are cash flow statements used?

A company typically uses its cash flow statement to assess its overall cash position. This means that businesses can use cash flow statements to get a glimpse of their potential future financial position. This knowledge can assist companies in developing and implementing efficient financial strategies that will promote growth and development. Additional uses for a companys cash flow statement include:

Differences between a balance sheet vs. cash flow statement

Although a company must use both the balance sheet and the cash flow statement, there are a number of significant differences between the two financial statements:

Financial information

The financial data that businesses include in each report is the main distinction between a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. Companies only report information about asset, liability, and shareholder equity values on a balance sheet, while the cash flow statement details current revenue-generating and expense-reimbursement activities. Additionally, the cash flow statement is comparable to a historical financial record of cash-generating and payment activities, whereas the balance sheet shows the current assets and liabilities of a company.


There are different procedures for reporting financial data on the cash flow statement versus the balance sheet. For instance, cash flow statements are typically ongoing records of the financial transactions a company makes. Although they appear on both documents, accounts payable and receivable, on the cash flow statement, accountants typically only record completed transactions. On the other hand, in accounts payable and receivable, accountants keep track of all completed and pending payments.


Businesses use different calculations to determine the values they record on the balance sheet and cash flow statement. Accountants and finance experts use valuations from short- and long-term assets and liabilities, as well as the total amount owed in shareholder equity, to create the balance sheet. A company’s net income, on the other hand, is used in a cash flow statement to either add completed transactions that result in cash or deduct payments it makes for outgoing expenses.


What comes first balance sheet or cash flow?

Balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and statements of shareholders’ equity are listed in that order. Balance sheets display a company’s assets and liabilities at a specific point in time. Income statements display the amount of money a company earned and spent over a specific time period.

Do you need balance sheet for cash flow statement?

There would be only cash and shareholders’ equity on the balance sheet. The development of the cash flow statement is a result of using accounting principles to create the balance sheet.

What is more important cash flow or balance sheet?

Consequently, the cash flow statement tends to be of interest to investors. The balance sheet is the most significant financial statement in the auditors’ eyes because it is the one they must audit (also see How to Ensure Your Company’s Audit Process Goes Smoothly?).

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *