The balance sheet (one of the main financial statements) is also known as the statement of financial position. The balance sheet reports the amount of assets, liabilities, and stockholders' (or owner's) equity typically at the final moment of the accounting period.
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 or noncurrent 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 Financial Accounting Standards Board's Accounting Standards Codification.
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, other accrued expenses, and bonds payable.
Stockholders' equity reports the amounts received from issuing shares of stock and earnings not distributed to stockholders. The total amount of 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.