The balance sheet is one of the main financial statements. It is also known as the statement of financial position. The balance sheet reports the amount of assets, liabilities, and stockholders' (or owner's) equity at a specific moment (or point in time).
The balance sheet usually reports assets by classifications such as current assets, investments, property, plant and equipment, and other assets. Liabilities are classified as current liabilities and long-term liabilities.
The items and amounts reported on the balance sheet reflect the cost principle, matching principle, conservatism, going concern, and other basic principles as well as the more detailed rules included in the pronouncements issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
Typical assets listed on the balance sheet include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, supplies, prepaid insurance, land, buildings, equipment, and intangible assets such as goodwill.
Typical liabilities include notes payable, accounts payable, wages payable, interest payable, income taxes payable, and bonds payable.
Stockholders' equity is the difference between the amounts reported for assets and liabilities.
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Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com. Read more about the author.