What is an income statement and what is it for?


An income statement is one of the most important financial statements you can see for a business. Business owners, accountants, current investors, and potential investors can glean crucial information for themselves from a company’s income statement, also known as the income statement.

The income statement combines with other major financial statements, the balance sheet and the statement of cash flows, to provide a holistic view of a company’s finances, what is going well and what needs to be improved.

So if you are interested in the performance of a business, you need to understand the income statement. What is the income statement, what is included in it and what can you learn from it?

What is an income statement?

The income statement of a business is a financial statement that details the income of a business in relation to the expenses that it incurs, which is why it can also be referred to as the income statement. It shows the bottom line of a business, while generally detailing how that figure was determined.

Financial statements such as the income statement can be found, among others, in the company’s 10-K, an annual report that the company must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). There is also the 10-Q, a quarterly version of the report.

In addition to the more general overview of the future of the company provided in 10-K, several financial statements can be viewed. Using this larger report, you can view the income statement as well as the balance sheet and cash flow statement for a clearer picture of business operations.

One-step income statement or multi-step income statement

There can be one-step tax returns and multi-step tax returns. The difference between them is quite easy to determine.

If you look at a one-step income statement, you will be able to see how much the business made in income and gains, how much was incurred in expenses and losses, and what the net income was for the year or quarter. based on these figures. However, that is all that will be available on this income statement. Each section is a single line.

If you want the details of all these numbers, you will need a multi-step income statement. Here he breaks down what was in each category and how much each component made or lost for the business to determine its bottom line for the year. The details that will form the bulk of a multi-stage income statement will depend on the industry in which the business operates and a variety of expenses and earnings specific to that tax period.

Structure of an income statement

The income statement finds the net income of a business, which is described as total income minus total expenses. So, structurally, we start from the gross income of the business income and work from there to get the net income. Depending on the number of different causes of the business’s income or expenses, this can involve many different numbers.

With this in mind, an income statement will start with the total revenue generated by the business, and from there, if this applies to the business, the cost of goods sold (COGS) will be subtracted. This equation gives us the gross profit of the business.

Once you’ve calculated gross profit, the next section of the income statement is about operating expenses. Operating expenses are simply the general expenses of running a business. This may include:

  • To rent
  • Sales commissions
  • Advertising expenses
  • Marketing costs
  • Office supplies
  • Assurance
  • Legal fees
  • Compensation and benefits for non-production employees
  • Depreciation of certain fixed assets

Not all of them will apply to a particular business. Not all businesses need ad spend. Some companies will have to factor depreciation more heavily into operating expenses than others, and these companies might not have the administrative costs that other companies do. But a template can include room for all of that in your income statement, just in case.

Once you subtract the operating expenses from the gross income, you have calculated what is called the “operating income” of a business. If there are no other gains and losses to factor into the company’s finances, that operating result can also be its bottom line.

However, if there are gains and losses realized throughout the relevant financial year that go beyond operating income and expenses, these are added to the income statement thereafter. These are often one-off expenses specific to that fiscal year and not a usual loss or gain; for example, gains from the sale of unused real estate.

Once these non-operating figures are taken into account, you have all the elements to determine the bottom line. Add up the income, operating or otherwise, then subtract the expenses – also operating or otherwise – and you get your net income. Or, if the business ends up with more expenses than income for the year, it’s called a net loss.

Income statement format

With all of this in mind, a business income statement might look like this:


Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) – $ 7,000,000

Gross profit – $ 8,000,000

Operating Expenses

  • Advertising expenses – $ 1,000,000
  • Research and Development – $ 1,000,000
  • Rent – $ 500,000
  • Office supplies – $ 100,000
  • Salaries – $ 1,500,000

Total operating expenses – $ 4,100,000

Operating result – $ 3,900,000

Non-operating income and expenses

  • Investment gains – $ 500,000

Net revenue – $ 3,950,000

What can an income statement be used for?

The income statement can be used to see how healthy a company’s finances are – and, using a multi-step income statement, the details of why the business is or is not financially successful.

With the details of how much money has been spent on various operating expenses, business owners can get a clearer picture of the strengths and shortcomings of the business and better understand how the business needs to be run in order for it to be successful. ‘she succeeds. Prospective business owners and entrepreneurs can also look at the income statements of other businesses to see what mistakes they should be looking to avoid when starting their business.

Income statements can also be useful to investors. In addition to showing the details of how the company’s bottom line is calculated, an income statement is also likely to have the same data for the year or quarter before the comparison. With this information, you can better analyze whether a business is getting stronger financially or whether its expenses make it likely to fall further. While not the ultimate solution, it is a useful tool if you want to know if this particular business will be a worthwhile investment for you in the immediate future.

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