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Annual Report
An annual report generally includes comparative financial statements, supporting information about the company’s financial position, its business operations, and a discussion by management concerning the company’s future prospects. Before the annual report is issued, the financial statements must be audited by a firm of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Publicly owned companies must file their financial statements and detailed supporting schedules with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Income Statement
The income statement’s measurement of net income is not absolutely accurate or precise due to various assumptions and estimates involved in the accounting process. For instance, the amounts shown for depreciation expense are based upon estimates of the useful lives of the company’s depreciable assets. Also, the income statement includes only those events that have been evidenced by actual business transactions. For instance, a strong customer base is an important step toward profitable operations; however the development of a customer base is not reflected in the income statement because its value cannot be measured objectively until actual sales transactions take place.
Retained Earnings
Retained earnings is that portion of stockholders’ equity created by earning income and retaining all or part of the resources created in the business. Income is a function of revenue less expenses. We have learned that cash is not always received at the exact time that revenue is earned, nor is cash necessarily disbursed at the exact time that an expense is incurred. Thus, the income retained by a company is not in the form of cash. Even if a company’s income did equal its net cash inflow, the amount retained would not be kept in the form of cash. As the company grew, the cash would be converted into property, plant, equipment, and other assets.
Dividends
Dividends are not part of income. As such, the dividends paid to stockholders are never reported in the income statement as an expense. Dividends represent a policy decision by a corporation’s directors to distribute a portion of income to stockholders.
Extra Info1
The income statement, statement of retained earnings, and balance sheet are prepared directly from the amounts shown in the adjusted trial balance. The income statement reports revenue earned during the period less expenses incurred in generating that revenue. When revenue exceeds expenses, net income is reported, and an increase in stockholders’ equity results. When expenses exceed revenue, a net loss is reported, and a decrease in stockholders’ equity results. The net income (or net loss) from the income statement is added to the beginning Retained Earnings balance in the statement of retained earnings. Any dividends declared during the period are subtracted in arriving at the ending Retained Earnings balance to be reported in the balance sheet at the end of the period.
Disclosure
Items that may require disclosure include, but are not limited to: pending lawsuits, scheduled plant closings, certain governmental investigations, significant events occurring after the balance sheet date but before the statements are issued, specific customers that account for a large portion of the company’s business, names of stockholders that own large amounts of the company’s stock, any changes in accounting principles having a significant impact on the company’s financial position, and any unusual conflicts between the company and its officers.
Temporary Accounts
Temporary (or nominal) accounts include revenue, expenses, and dividend accounts. These are the accounts involved in the closing process at the end of the year. Generally speaking, all income statement accounts (and dividends reported in the statement of retained earnings) are considered temporary.
Permanent Accounts
Permanent (or real) accounts include assets, liability, and stockholders’ equity accounts. These accounts are not involved in the closing process at the end of the year. Generally speaking, all accounts reported in the balance sheet (and in the after-closing trial balance) are considered permanent.
Dividends
Dividends paid to stockholders are not considered an expense of the business and, therefore, are not taken into account in determining net income for the period. Since dividends are not an expense, the Dividends account is not closed to the Income Summary account. Instead, it is closed directly to the Retained Earnings account.
Extra Closing Info
After all revenue, expense, and dividend accounts have been closed, the only accounts that remain are the permanent (or real) accounts appearing in the balance sheet. In comparison to the adjusted trial balance, the after-closing trial balance contains only balance sheet accounts. Also, the Retained Earnings account is no longer reported at its beginning balance.
Profitable & InSolivent
A company can be both profitable and insolvent. For instance, the company’s sales might be made only on account. If customers delay in paying what they owe, the average number of days that accounts receivable remain outstanding could be very high (say, 120 days). At the same time, the company’s creditors may require payment at a much faster rate, say, 30 days. Thus even though this business might be profitable (i.e., its revenue exceed its expenses), it may not be able to remain solvent if its accounts receivable fail to convert to cash in time to settle its accounts payable.
Interim Financial Statements
A company may close its accounts annually, but prepare financial reports monthly or quarterly. These monthly (or quarterly) statements are referred to as interim financial statements. General ledger accounts to be reported in the interim income statement require certain computations in order to determine their correct monthly or quarterly amounts. Computations are not required to ascertain interim balance sheet amounts because the balance is always based on the account balances at the balance sheet date.
Adequate Disclosure
Adequate disclosure means that financial statements should include whatever supplemental information is necessary for an intelligent user to interpret the statements properly.
Notes
The notes accompanying financial statements include whatever disclosures are necessary for users to interpret the statements properly. Among the facts disclosed in notes are the accounting methods in use, due dates of major liabilities, significant events occurring after the balance sheet date, and litigation pending against the company. The notes do not include disclosure of items that are immaterial, or which do not directly affect the financial position of the business.
Depreciation
Unlike most other operating expenses, depreciation does not require regular periodic outlays of cash. Depreciation is merely an estimate of that portion of a depreciable asset’s cost which is to be matched against revenue earned during the current accounting period.
Closing Info
Revenue, expense, and dividend accounts are called temporary accounts, or nominal accounts, because they accumulate the transactions of only one accounting period. At the end of the period, the changes in owners’ equity accumulated in these temporary accounts need to be transferred to the Retained Earnings account, and the temporary accounts need to have zero balances in order to be ready to measure the revenue, expenses, and dividends of the next accounting period. The closing process serves these purposes. Revenue and expense accounts are first closed to the Income Summary account which, in turn, is closed to the Retained Earnings account. Any dividends declared during the period are then closed directly to the Retained Earnings account.
Software Package
Virtually every accounting software package performs the year-end closing process automatically without having to perform manually the series of journal entries illustrated in the text. When a business first purchases a software package accountants prepare a chart of accounts specifically tailored for the reporting needs of the company. During this process, revenue and expense accounts are identified as candidates for closing at year-end. The software is written such that those accounts identified as revenues are closed with debits, and those identified as expenses are closed with credits.
Financial Stat. Info
Income statements report business activity for a period of time (e.g., a month, quarter, year, etc.). Balance sheets report financial position at a specific point in time. Thus, the balance sheet always is based on account balances at the balance sheet date. A March 31 balance sheet, for example, looks exactly the same regardless of the time period covered by the other financial statements (i.e., the income statement, statement of retained earnings, and statement of cash flows).
Return on Equity
Return on equity is a measure of net income relative to a company's average stockholders' equity throughout the year. Thus, it conveys the amount of income generated for every dollar of equity capital. A high return on equity indicates that management efficiently used resources provided through owners' equity to generate income. A low return on equity indicates that management was not efficient in using resources provided through owners' equity to generate income.
Worksheet or (a Apreadsheet software)
A worksheet (or spreadsheet software): Provides a “scratch pad” for working out adjusting entries prior to actually entering these items in the accounts. Enables accountants to prepare interim financial statements without formally adjusting and closing the accounts.Without affecting the account balances, provides both accountants and management with a “preview” of the effects of proposed entries upon the financial statements.
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