What Is a Profit And Loss Statement?

statement of profit and loss
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If you’re considering starting a business or seeking funding for your venture, you’re probably concerned about bookkeeping. The good news is that the effort is well worth it. Tracking and reporting a company’s financial health not only keeps you up to date on its financial performance but can also help you attract investors or potential buyers. A financial statement of profit and loss is an example of one of the most important documents for tracking your company’s success.

This article will teach you about profit and loss statements, why they are necessary, what you can learn from your profit and loss statement, and an example of a financial statement of profit and loss.

What Is a Profit and Loss Statement

A profit and loss statement is a financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs, and expenses incurred during a given period, which is usually a quarter or fiscal year. These records reveal a company’s ability or inability to generate profit through increased revenue, cost reductions, or both. Profit and loss statements are frequently presented in cash or accrual format. Profit and loss statements are used by company managers and investors to assess a company’s financial health.

Types Of Financial Statements of Profit And Loss

As previously stated, a profit and loss statement can be prepared in one of two ways. There are two of them: the cash method and the accrual method.

#1. Cash Method

The cash method, also known as the cash accounting method, is only used when cash enters and exits the business. This is a straightforward method that only accounts for money received or paid. When cash is received, a business records the transaction as revenue, and when cash is used to pay bills or liabilities, the transaction is recorded as a liability. This method is commonly used by small businesses and individuals who want to manage their finances.

#2. Accrual Method

Revenue is recorded using the accrual accounting method as it is earned. This means that, using the accrual method, a company accounts for money that it expects to receive in the future. For example, a company that delivers a product or service to a customer records the revenue on its profit and loss statement even if it hasn’t yet received payment. Similarly, liabilities are accounted for even when no expenses have been paid.

How Profit and Loss Statements Work

The profit and loss statement, along with the balance sheet and cash flow statement, is one of three financial statements that every public company issues on a quarterly and annual basis. Profit and loss statement It is frequently the most popular and common example of a financial statement in a business plan because it shows how much profit and loss a company generates.

Profit and loss statements are also known as a(n):

  • Profit and loss statement
  • Operational statement
  • Profit and loss statement
  • A statement of expenses
  • Profit and loss statement

The profit and loss or income statement, like the cash flow statement, shows changes in accounts over a specific period. The balance sheet, on the other hand, is a snapshot of the company’s assets and liabilities at a single point in time. The income statement and cash flow statement must be compared because, under the accrual method of accounting, a company can log revenues and expenses before cash changes hands.

How Should a Financial Statement Of Profit And Loss Be Prepared?

To get started, you’ll need to understand the fundamental formulas. In our step-by-step instructions for creating a basic profit and loss statement, we’ve also indicated when to use each formula.

#1. Determine Gross Profit

You can determine your gross profit by adding the gross revenue and subtracting the COGS. These figures are before taxes. To calculate the gross profit, use the following formula:  

Gross Profit = Gross Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold

  • Create a line item for the total amount of your gross revenue from sales and other pre-tax income.
  • Add up your COGS and make a line item for it.
  • A cost is a payment made towards the production of the goods you sell, whereas an expense is a fixed monthly cost required for business operations, such as rent, salaries, and utilities. Expenses are typically recurring payments, whereas costs are one-time payments.
  • To calculate your gross profit, subtract COGS from gross revenue. If the number is negative, your company has suffered a loss during this period.

#2. Add up All of Your Expenses

Because we are preparing a basic small business profit and loss statement in this example, we will simplify the expenses by including both operating and non-operating costs.

  • minimize your operating expenses (such as salaries, facilities, and marketing) as well as non-operating expenses (such as interest, depreciation, taxes, and amortization).
  • Add up all of your expenses as a separate line item.

Keep in mind that as your company grows and becomes more complex, so will your financial documents. You may want to expand your income statement to separately itemise EBIT or EBITDA to compare your company’s profit to competitors.

#3. Determine Net Income

The final step is to compute net income (also known as net earnings) using the formula:

Net Income = Gross Profit – Total Expenses

  • To calculate your net income, subtract your total expenses from your gross profit.
  • Put this figure on its line.

Example Of A Financial Statement Of Profit And Loss

The profit and loss statement of a company document follows the general format shown in the example below. It starts with a revenue entry, known as the top line, and subtracts the costs of doing business, which include the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, tax expenses, and interest expenses. The difference, referred to as the bottom line, is net income, also known as profit or earnings.

In-store sales£20,000
Online sales£45,000
Other income£5,000
Cost of goods sold(£20,000)
Operating expenses 
Licenses permits(£500)
Licenses, permits(£130)
Bank charges(£200)
Credit/Debit card fees(£70)
Interest charges(£1000)
Taxes (assuming 20% taxes)(£22,400)
Owner’s draw(£2,000)

This business earns a profit of £12,000. The majority of its revenue comes from online store sales, and its largest operating expense is payroll. When business owners look at these figures, they may decide to expand their online business to maximise profits.

How Do You Analyse a Profit and Loss Statement?

When analysing a profit and loss statement, pay close attention to net income, operating income, and the business’s expenses and depreciation. You’ve probably heard of the term bottom line, which refers to the net profit, which is the final indicator of a company’s overall health.

By reviewing expenses, you can determine where net profit (or net loss) comes from. For example, if your operational income appears to be strong but debt service payments are eating into your profit margin, it could be a sign that your company is over-leveraged and has too much debt on its books. Similarly, if wage and salary growth outpaces revenue growth, it could indicate that you’re hiring too quickly.

What Can I Learn From Profit And Loss Statement?

Many small businesses prepare financial statements because a bank requires them or because they must file tax returns. However, the profit and loss statement can also be used to monitor your company’s financial health.

Here are three key insights you can glean from your profit and loss report.

#1. Where Your Profits Come From

If you sell multiple products or services, you can break down your profit and loss into multiple product or service lines. This can tell you whether some products or services are more profitable than others and whether some are expanding while others are contracting.

#2. Whether You’re Efficiently Managing Costs

A comparative profit and loss statement, which compares your current numbers to those from a previous period, can show you whether certain expenses are increasing faster than expected. For example, if revenues increase by 20% over the previous year, but office supply expenses increase by 75%, you should investigate why.

#3. Whether or Not Your Company’s Operations Are Profitable

Your company may have a lot of money in the bank from loans and investors, but are you making a profit? Your profit and loss statement’s bottom line will tell you whether your company’s financial performance is positive or negative. While a profit and loss statement is useful on its own, analysing it in conjunction with your balance sheet and cash flow statement can provide more insight into your company’s financial position.

Why is it Necessary to Prepare a Profit and Loss Statement?

Profit and loss statements are important because they help measure a company’s success, allowing leaders to make better decisions. With a profit and loss statement, management can determine which activities are profitable and which are losing money and then act accordingly.

If you are applying for a small business loan or seeking funding from investors, you will also need to provide a profit and loss statement. Lenders and investors will compare your net income and operating income to your expenses, debts, and taxes to determine whether your business is viable and worthy of financial assistance.

Profit and loss statements are also required by law or by association membership in many cases, making them an important document to create regularly to ensure regulatory compliance.

Key Elements of a Profit and Loss Statement

A profit and loss report will differ from one business to the next, depending on the type of business and its complexity. For example, if you sell products rather than services, have multiple sources of income, or have a large number of expenses, here are some common income statement components.

#1. Revenues

This entry represents the accounting period’s net sales or receipts. It includes revenue earned from the entity’s primary business activity as well as non-operating revenue.

#2. Price of Goods Sold

The direct expenses incurred to produce products or deliver services to customers, including direct labor and materials, are referred to as the cost of goods sold or COGS.

#3. Profit After Tax

Gross profit, also known as gross income or gross margin, is defined as net revenue less the cost of goods sold.

#4. Expenses for Operations

Operating expenses are administrative, general, and selling costs associated with running a business for a set period. This includes rent, payroll, utilities, office supplies, and any other indirect costs associated with running a business. Non-cash expenses such as depreciation are also included.

#5. Operating Profit

Earnings before taxes, depreciation, interest, and authorization are referred to as operating income. To calculate operating income, subtract operating expenses from gross profit.

#6. Other Earnings and Expenses

While it is not required, many businesses separate certain revenues and expenses in their profit and loss statement. This section typically contains income and expenses that are not related to normal operations, such as gains or losses from the sale of the company’s assets, interest and dividend income from investments, and other unusual or infrequent revenues and expenses.

What is the Distinction Between a Profit and Loss Statement And An Income Statement?

A profit and loss statement for a business shows how much money your company earned and lost over a specific period. There is no distinction between an income statement and a profit and loss statement. A profit and loss statement is another name for an income statement.

Is Profit and Loss Considered an Asset or a Liability?

As a result, the profit will be returned to the business’s owner. As a result, it is a liability for the company. i.e. the business owes the business owners. Similarly, in the event of a loss, the business owner must compensate the business for the amount of loss. As a result, it is a valuable asset to the company.

Who Creates a Profit and Loss Statement?

Most business owners hire a bookkeeper or an accountant to prepare a profit and loss statement, which is recommended because professionals have the expertise to ensure everything is prepared correctly. It is perfectly acceptable to hire an outside expert to create a profit and loss statement for your business if you are more focused on other aspects of your business.

How Frequently Do You Generate a Profit and Loss Statement?

Every month, quarter, or year, businesses prepare a profit and loss statement. Many organisations prepare the statement every month to correspond with bank cycles.

What Are The Two Purposes of a Profit and Loss Statement?

Profit and loss statements show your total income and expenses, as well as whether your company earned more money than it spent on operating expenses. If this is the case, your company has made a profit. The profit and loss account represents a company’s profitability.


A profit and loss statement summarises a company’s revenues, costs, and expenses over a specific period. It is one of three financial statements issued quarterly and annually by public companies, the other two being a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. Financial statements are used by investors and analysts to assess a company’s financial health and growth potential.

Small businesses are concerned with the bottom line. Maintain and review your profit and loss statement (profit and loss) to ensure you have complete control over your company’s finances. Use expense management tools to improve your profit and loss statement and keep your company profitable.


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