A financial statement (or financial report) is a formal record of the financial activities of a business, person, or other entity. In British English—including United Kingdom company law—a financial statement is often referred to as an account, although the term financial statement is also used, particularly by accountants.
For a business enterprise, all the relevant financial information, presented in a structured manner and in a form easy to understand, are called the financial statements. They typically include four basic financial statements, accompanied by a management discussion and analysis:
- Statement of financial position: also referred to as a balance sheet, reports on a company's assets, liabilities, and ownership equity at a given point in time.
- Statement of comprehensive income: also referred to as a profit and loss statement (or a "P&L"), reports on a company's income, expenses, and profits over a period of time. A profit and loss statement provides information on the operation of the enterprise. These include sales and the various expenses incurred during the processing state.
- Statement of changes in equity: explains the changes of the company's equity throughout the reporting period
- Statement of cash flows: reports on a company's cash flow activities, particularly its operating, investing and financing activities.
For large corporations, these statements are often complex and may include an extensive set of notes to the financial statements and management discussion and analysis. The notes typically describe each item on the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement in further detail. Notes to financial statements are considered an integral part of the financial statements.
Read more about Financial Statements: Purpose of Financial Statements By Business Entities, Government Financial Statements, Financial Statements of Not-for-profit Organizations, Personal Financial Statements, Audit and Legal Implications, Standards and Regulations, Inclusion in Annual Reports, Moving To Electronic Financial Statements
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