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Financial Statements 101 Understanding Income on the Income Statement Statement

An income statement a.k.a. Profit & Loss, is a summary of income received and expenses reported during a stated period. The periods are usually stated in monthly, quarterly, or annual terms. A mid-month income statement can misrepresent the data. For instance, if your business records most of your sales in the first 7 days of the month but does not record expenses till after the 20th of the month. This mid-month statement will overstate income and understate expenses. Income can also be called sales or revenue. Income can be subcategorized by type of sales. For example a fish store could have: Freshwater Fish, Saltwater Fish, Equipment, Tank Supplies, and Food. Breaking down income this way at the end of the period helps the owner look at her Income Statement and know the dollar total of each type of sale. Another tool is to know what percentage of your sales come from new customers versus existing customers. One common mistake is to track income that is not earned by selling your business' product or service in the income section of the income statement; e.g. sales of assets, loan deposits, or tax refunds. Loan deposits are tracked on the balance sheet. Other income generated from other business activity such as gain on sale of assets and tax refunds is reported at the bottom of the income statement after expenses in the area reserved for non-operational income. When is a sale a sale? A cash accounting method records the sale when the customer pays. An accrual method records the sale at the time the customer order is confirmed. Payment is handled separately on the balance sheet against the receivable generated from the sale. Why is this an issue? The accrual method attempts to match a sale's income with its expenses to better determine if the sale was profitable. Cash accounting tracks sales and expenses as they are paid by your customer or you making it harder to determine if the sale was profitable. When printing out your P&L use the feature (within software) called percent of income. What this does is divide each account for income and expenses by the total sales for the period. Monitoring this percent allows you to compare periods regardless of the amount of the income or expense. For example, if sales for the month are 50,000 for January and your payroll is 10,000, then 10,000 divided by 50,000 equals 20%. This translates to: for every dollar of sales you spend 20 cents for payroll. The next month your sales are 40,000 and your payroll is still 10,000. 10,000 divided by 40,000 equals 25% or for every dollar of sales you spent 25 cents for payroll. You can see how knowing the percent of income can be a valuable management tool.

Financial Statements 101 Part 2 Understanding Expenses

Part I covered income on the income statement. This month let's look at expenses that appear on the income statement, also know as the Profit and Loss statement or P&L. Expenses like income are treated differently depending on your method of accounting (cash or accrual). Cash accounting says a cost is "expensed" when you write the check to pay for it. Accrual accounting

expenses the cost when the transaction occurs whether or not money is exchanged, e.g. a supplier may give you 30 days to pay your bill or you may pay your payroll/sales taxes monthly. Accrual accounting attempts to keep expenses matched up with the sale that generated it. Bills that are paid in a lump sum for the year can be accrued (spread out) each month; e.g. unemployment insurance is paid in lump sums which throws off your P&L because of the large payment. A solution is to record the payment to the Pre-paid Expenses account within Current Assets on the Balance Sheet. You can then divide the amount by the number of months paid and then each month reduce the Pre-Paid Expenses by the smaller monthly payment and record it in the Unemployment Insurance account on your P&L. Most of your expenses come from your checkbook register but there is a couple you will want to watch out for. The principle portion of your loans and credit cards that you pay on your bill are not expenses. The principle portion paid should go to the liability account on the balance sheet for the loan. The interest portion of the bill is an expense. You need to look at the bill and split out the two portions. Items that are purchased in the $500+ range (start ups and businesses with sales less than $300,000) are considered investments in the business and should be depreciated over an IRS predetermined time span. This is where tax law and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are applied. Larger businesses are able to expense bigger ticket items. A small business puts these $500+ purchases on their balance sheet under long term assets. Don't worry about recording depreciation monthly unless your accountant has given you a schedule. Depreciation becomes a non-cash expense and accounts for the items you put on the balance sheet above $500 earlier. Something to watch out for with depreciation is that the new tax laws have accelerated the ability to depreciated your assets, a good thing for lowering taxes but it often leaves a small business looking like it is not re-investing in itself. Ask your accountant to run the depreciation schedule two ways, one for taxes using the acceptable accelerated depreciation and the second way using the straight line depreciation based upon the lifespan of the asset for your business books. Why is this important? Banks run ratios that use assets to determine bank ability. As for you, it will give you a better idea of when to reinvest in furniture, fixtures, and equipment. The most difficult thing about using P&Ls is consistent coding of expenses into their appropriate accounts. If you are unsure about which accounts to use, start with the ones on the tax return you will be using; e.g. schedule C for sole proprietors.

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