Different types of financial statements convey the business activities and the financial performance of the organisation over a given period and to multiple audiences. For example:
Management teams rely on different types of financial reporting to inform their decision-making on different aspects of running the business.
These are often referred to as CFO reports. They are normally intended for internal use, such as planning for future goals or updating management with clear and concise financial trends. However, they are also used by external entities, such as lenders and investors, who may need insight into the company’s financial status.
Read our article: The most important reports for Chief Financial Officers to find out more about financial and management reporting excellence. The specific metrics will vary from sector to sector, but there are some common themes. The article highlights nine reports every CFO in a leading finance function should be presenting.
Investors, financial analysts, shareholders and other stakeholders also use financial statements to analyse the performance of a company and make predictions about the future direction of the company's stock price and earnings potential.
While every type of investor needs to keep a close eye on the financial performance of the companies they invest in, there are particular considerations involved in private equity accounting. You can read more about the differences between private equity accounting and many other forms of accounting in our article: Private Equity Accounting.
Financial statements are often audited to ensure accuracy and for tax, financing, or investing purposes.
As well as financial statements, financial reporting can include notes to accounts, director’s and auditor’s reports and corporate governance reports.
One of the most important resources of reliable and audited financial data is the company’s annual report. This often combines the financial statements with commentary and analysis from the senior leadership team.
The most common financial statements are the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement and equity change statement.
This provides an overview of assets, liabilities, and shareholders' equity as a snapshot in time.
This primarily focuses on a company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period. Once expenses are subtracted from revenues, the statement produces a company's profit figure called net income.
This measures how well a company generates cash to pay its debt obligations, fund its operating expenses, and fund investments.
This records how profits are retained within a company for future growth or distributed to external parties.
Group companies will normally also have to produce consolidated financial statements. These represent the total of the parent company and all subsidiaries that are controlled by the parent company. They include the key financial statements, such as income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet.
Consolidated financial statements can be summarised as:
“Combining the assets, liabilities and other financial items of two or more entities into one consolidated entity.”
That involves the consolidation of financial statements, where all subsidiaries report under the umbrella of the parent company.