What Is an Income Statement?

What Is an Income Statement?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

An income statement, also recognized as a profit and loss statement, is one of the key financial statements that businesses use to review the profitability of their operations. This document highlights the revenue earned over a specific period, and subtracts from that the costs of goods sold and the expenses incurred to operate the business. The bottom line of the Income Statement indicates net income, which is a measure of the profit or loss the business experienced during that period.

Related Questions

1. What information is included in an income statement?

An income statement includes revenue, cost of goods sold, gross profit, operating expenses, operating income, interest and taxes, and net income. All these factors together give you a clear understanding of the profitability of a business.

2. How often is an income statement prepared?

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Income statements are usually prepared monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the requirements of the business. It’s common practice for publicly trade companies to release their quarterly and annual financial statements, including the income statement, to stakeholders.

3. Why is an income statement important?

An income statement enables business owners, investors and stakeholders to assess the operational efficiency, financial health and profitability trends of a company. It also helps in making informed decisions regarding future strategies and initiatives.

4. How is an income statement different from a balance sheet?

While an income statement highlights the profitability of a company over a specific period, a balance sheet provides a snapshot of a company’s financial condition at a specific point in time, including its assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. They serve different but complementary purposes in financial analysis.

5. What happens if a company has a negative net income on its income statement?

If a company has a negative net income on its income statement, that means it has made a loss in the given period. It’s the result of expenses and costs being higher than the revenue generated. It’s an indicator of financial distress and requires immediate attention to rectify.