Income Statement vs. Balance Sheet vs. Cash Flow

Balance sheets show what a company owns and what it owes at a fixed point in time. Income statements show how much money a company made and spent over a period of time. Cash flow statements show the exchange of money between a company and the outside world also over a period of time.

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

What is a balance sheet?

A balance sheet is a statement of the financial health of an organization. These documents show a companys:

The total assets, or capital that the company will either receive or keep, are determined by adding the liabilities, or the money that the company must pay to another entity, to the shareholders equity. These figures are then used to calculate various ratios, such as the debt-to-equity ratio, that demonstrate whether a company’s assets are greater than its liabilities. Companies should review their balance sheets on a monthly basis to make sure they’re still in good financial shape.

What is an income statement?

An income statement is a measure of a companys profitability. One of the most widely used financial statements in business, it displays the total revenue and outgoings of an organization to calculate profit. Companies create income statements on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis to evaluate their financial performance. It’s critical to regularly review income statements because prospective business partners may use them to assess a company’s earning potential.

The following components are typically used in income statements to calculate how much profit is being made or lost:

What is cash flow?

The flow of money within a business is called cash flow, or a cash flow statement. An organization examines its cash flow to track three different areas of profit and loss:

Calculations involving cash flow rely on data from an income statement, but they do not take into account non-cash transactions like depreciation or investment gains that may be included in revenue or expense reports. Companies create these statements on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis and regularly review them to make sure they are effectively managing their cash.

Income statement vs. balance sheet vs. cash flow: key differences

These three records assist a business in understanding its financial situation, but they differ in a few ways:

Purpose in a company

Each of these records has a specific function in the finance division of a business. Through the final financial statement, the individual purposes come together to offer a comprehensive view of the company’s overall financial health. For instance, income statements show how much money a company is making or losing at a particular point in time. However, balance sheets display a company’s financial position in terms of how many assets it has compared to liabilities. Cash flow displays the total amount of money that enters and leaves a business. Information for the cash flow statement is provided by both the income statement and the balance sheet.

What they measure

When examining all three of these documents, which each measure a similar aspect of a company’s finances but with minor variations, the organization is able to obtain a comprehensive financial report. Revenue and expenses are tracked over time by a company’s income statements. Companies calculate profit if the result is positive or loss if the result is negative by deducting expenses from revenue. A balance sheet measures the liabilities and shareholders equity. The company calculates the assets by adding the liabilities, which are negative, to the equity. Positive assets mean the company is in good standing.

Even more so than the other two statements, cash flow measures all cash-related transactions to ascertain how much money is allocated to investing, financing, and operating. This statement is more about educating the company about where their money is going and how they can budget differently than it is about demonstrating their financial health.

Cash vs. non-cash items

Companies classify financial items as either cash or non-cash. Any transaction in which a business gives or receives cash is a cash item. Certain revenues and expenses are referred to as non-cash items when they don’t involve cash transactions. Here are some examples of cash and non-cash items:

Cash and non-cash items are included in the calculations on income statements and balance sheets to provide a complete picture of a company’s total revenue and assets. To ascertain how and where a company is using cash, cash flow, on the other hand, only considers cash transactions.


What is the difference between an income statement and a cash flow statement?

The precise amounts of a company’s cash inflows and outflows over time are displayed in a cash flow statement. The income statement, which is the most typical financial statement, displays a company’s total costs and revenues, including noncash accounting charges like depreciation over time.

What does the statement of cash flow tell you that the income statement and balance sheet do not?

For instance, be sure to use the balance sheets from 2018 and 2019 when calculating cash flow for 2019. Because the CFS excludes the amount of future incoming and outgoing cash that has been recorded as revenues and expenses, it differs from the income statement and the balance sheet.

Which comes first cash flow or balance sheet?

The development of the cash flow statement is a result of using accounting principles to create the balance sheet.

What is the difference between the balance sheet and income statement?

Important data on a company’s financial performance and state of health can be found in the income statement and balance sheet. A balance sheet depicts the business’s financial situation at a particular point in time, while an income statement evaluates a company’s profit or loss over a period of time.

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