Income statement Definition, example & format of income statement

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  • For example, analyze the trend in sales to forecast sales growth, analyzing the COGS as a percentage of sales to forecast future COGS.
  • A strong income statement can attract investors and help raise capital for the company.
  • Directors and executives are also provided a clear picture of the performance of the company as a whole during a specific accounting period.
  • Total revenues include all sources of income, while total expenses include both operating and non-operating costs.

This allows you to understand why your profitability may have changed and think about how to improve. Look at net income to see if the company makes a profit and how the amount of profit has changed from year to year. For a better comparison, you can also calculate and compare the net profit margin. Review possible reasons for changes in your net profit and net profit margin. Designed for freelancers and small business owners, Debitoor invoicing software makes it quick and easy to issue professional invoices and manage your business finances. Positive values (revenues) are expressed as whole numbers with no additional text, while negative values (losses) are indicated by being wrapped in parentheses, e.g. (1,000).

As a reminder, a common method of formatting such data is to color any hard-coded input in blue while coloring calculated data or linking data in black. Learning how to read and understand an income statement can enable you to make more informed decisions about a company, whether it’s your own, your employer, or a potential investment. Private companies, on the other hand, are not necessarily required to comply with GAAP. Some smaller companies, though, may even not prepare formal financial statements at all. An in-depth knowledge of the various components of your income statement – including each line item, its definition, and practical applications – is fundamental to successful business management. This will help you identify areas that need improvement and help you manage cash flow more efficiently.


Make sure to research how to write a business plan and what is financial accounting as you prepare your income statement. While the Income Statement can tell us a lot about the company’s profitability, it has 2 major limitations. It doesn’t measure cash flow and it doesn’t paint the full picture of the company’s earnings power. The Net Income / Net Loss number is the key takeaway from the Income Statement.

  • A balance sheet and an income statement are financial tools used to manage a business’s financial performance.
  • Your income statement lets you see your business’s financial health, so you can set realistic and helpful goals and budgets for the future—and see if those efforts have been successful.
  • For example, companies would have to record the month’s utility expense even if they haven’t paid yet.
  • The rules used by U.S. companies is called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, while the rules often used by international companies is International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Gross profit is revenue minus cost of goods sold, while net income is revenue minus all expenses, including operating expenses, interest expenses, and taxes. By providing a clear picture of profitability and financial health, these statements enable business owners and managers to make informed decisions about various aspects of their operations. The first principle underpinning the Income Statement is the Monetary Unit Principle. The Monetary Unit Principle states that only transactions measurable in monetary units may be recorded in the company’s financial statements.

Example of an Income Statement

Having a solid understanding of your income statement is one of the most important steps you can take as a business owner. This guide provides detailed examples, guidance, and definitions to help you current vs capital expenses understand how to accurately create an income statement for your business. As you can see, this financial report starts with Revenue, and then subtracts expenses and adds other sources of income.

What Are the Four Key Elements of an Income Statement?

In the example below, ExxonMobil has over $2 billion of net unrecognized income. Instead of reporting just $23.5 billion of net income, ExxonMobil reports nearly $26 billion of total income when considering other comprehensive income. There are situations where intuition must be exercised to determine the proper driver or assumption to use. Instead, an analyst may have to rely on examining the past trend of COGS to determine assumptions for forecasting COGS into the future. Depreciation and amortization are non-cash expenses that are created by accountants to spread out the cost of capital assets such as Property, Plant, and Equipment (PP&E). Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more.

How do you analyze an income statement?

This figure represents the earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for its core business activities and is again used later to derive the net income. The income statement focuses on the revenue, expenses, gains, and losses reported by a company during a particular period. The income statement is a company’s one of the most important financial statement that indicates profit and loss for an accounting year. This profit or loss is evaluated by adding all revenues and then subtracting the expenses from operating and non-operating activities. An income statement, also known as a profit and loss statement, is a financial statement that provides a summary of a company’s revenue, expenses, and net income for a specific period. The purpose of an income statement is to show how much money a company has earned and how much it has spent during the period.

What is the difference between an income statement and a profit-and-loss statement?

You can find many templates to create a personal or business P&L statement online for free. Yarilet Perez is an experienced multimedia journalist and fact-checker with a Master of Science in Journalism. She has worked in multiple cities covering breaking news, politics, education, and more.

Cost of goods sold/cost of sales

This income statement shows the revenues, expenses, and net income of XYZ Corporation for the year ended December 31, 2022. It is important to note that this is just a fictional example, and an actual income statement will vary depending on the specific company and industry. Revenues and expenses for nonprofit organizations are generally tracked in a financial report called the statement of activities.

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