Balance Sheet, Statement of Owner's Equity and Income Statement

by Kei
(Charleston, South Carolina)

Q1: The three primary financial statements that we have seen so far are the Balance Sheet, Statement of Owner’s Equity, and the Income Statement. Please describe which account categories belong on which statement and identify them as temporary or permanent.

Q2: These statements must be prepared in a particular order. Which statements are prepared first, second, and third? Why do we have to do them in that order?

Temporary vs Permanent Accounts

First of all, let me clarify the difference between "temporary" and "permanent" accounts.

Temporary accounts are accounts that start with a balance of zero at the beginning of each year and are used to calculate other figures at the end of the year. When these end-of-year calculations are done, the account is cancelled out or started again from zero. Thus "temporary."

Expense Temporary Account

Permanent accounts , on the other hand, start with a balance of zero only when the business has just begun. Thereafter, year after year after year, they continue with their balance and are never cancelled out or reduced back to zero. Their balance is carried through from the end of one year to the beginning of the next.

Asset Permanent T-Account

Now for the different statements and the accounts that are reflected in each one:

The Income Statement: Shows incomes and expenses . Incomes and expenses are all temporary accounts used to calculate profit (or loss) each year. The balances of incomes and expenses are cancelled out at the end of each year and started again from zero at the beginning of each year. That is why they are known as "temporary" accounts.

Sales T-Account

The Statement of Changes in Equity: This contains the profit account, capital and drawings (or "dividends" in a company).

profit account is temporary as it starts from zero each year. Profit belongs to the owner/s and is used to calculate the new balance of the owner's equity account at the end of each year.

Profit and Loss Account

Capital is a permanent account as its balance is carried on from one year to the next.

Capital T-Account

Drawings (or "dividends" for a company) is a temporary account as its balance starts from zero and is calculated newly each year. Just like the profit account, drawings is used to calculate the new balance of the owner's equity account at the end of each year.

Drawings Account

The Balance Sheet: This contains assets, liabilities and owner's equity accounts . All three of these accounts are permanent accounts , meaning their balances are not cancelled out or reduced to zero at the end of each year. Instead, their balances are carried through from the end of one year to the beginning of the next.

The Order of Financial Statements

The statements are prepared in this order:

1. Income Statement
2. Statement of Changes in Equity
3. Balance Sheet

The reason the income statement is first is because it is used to calculate the profit or loss for the year.

That profit or loss figure is needed for the statement of changes in equity. The statement of changes in equity is used to calculate the final balance of owner's equity for the year.

This closing balance of the owner's equity is shown in the balance sheet. This balance is obtained only after calculating it in the statement of changes in equity. So the balance sheet is the final statement. Balances of assets and liabilities are, of course, also shown in the balance sheet.

In summary:
Incomes & Expenses --> Profit or Loss (Income Statement) --> Closing Balance of Owner's Equity (Statement of Changes in Equity) --> Balance Sheet

The subject of cancelling out temporary accounts (known as "closing entries") is only covered in my
basic accounting books (not available for free on this website). You are welcome to check them out if you need more info on closing entries.

Hope that makes sense!


Comments for Balance Sheet, Statement of Owner's Equity and Income Statement

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by: khadar dirie

Thank your effort. Please continue this lesson.

Profit/loss on balance sheet
by: Anonymous

I understand that the temporary accounts get closed out at the end of the accounting cycle.
My question is what does the balance sheet look like in the middle of your accounting cycle?

Profit/loss shows up in your income summary account which is closed out to Retained Earnings on the Balance Sheet.

My accounting period is a calendar year Jan-Dec.

I check my Balance Sheet on March 1st, 20__.
I made a profit of $2000.00 in February.
Will my Balance Sheet reflect my profit in the Capital account or will it not show up until I close accounts? (pretend I am hand writing all my journal entries, adjusting entries, etc. A computer program is not performing these functions for me)

Is the Retained Earnings account ever closed out? Or does it accumulate totals?

Here's my opinion... In the middle of the cycle, assuming a totally manual accounting system (no computer program), the balance sheet may or may not exist - because basically it's up to you if you want to close out the accounts and when you want to do so. Balance sheets are normally only drawn up at the end of the period (at the end of the year). However they could be drawn up more often for management purposes (for example at the end of each quarter or month).

In other words, even in this manual accounting system, like a computerized system, the profit could still be closed out at the end of each month. Or at other intervals.

The retained earnings account is a permanent (owner's equity) account and is thus never closed out. There is no need to do so. It just accumulates totals. It remains as a permanent record of the accumulated profits - which belong to the owners of the business.

Hope that helps!


by: Process Street

Hey this is very enlightening! I can’t thank you enough for sharing this post about balance sheet, statement of owner's equity and income statement now I have basic knowledge about this area.

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