Understanding and Creating a Balance Sheet for Small Businesses

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A balance sheet is one of the most important financial tools used by small businesses to evaluate their financial health. It provides an overview of a business’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity, which helps to inform decision-making related to investments, financing, and new projects. In fact, it is a crucial document for any business, large or small. 

In this blog, we will look at the purpose of the balance sheet and its components, explain how to create a balance sheet for a small business and provide tips on how to analyse it. 

Purpose of the balance sheet

A balance sheet provides a snapshot of a business’s financial health and can help small businesses understand their current assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. It is also used to assess a company’s liquidity (its ability to pay its short-term debts using liquid assets) and solvency (its ability to meet its long-term debt obligations).

The balance sheet is also essential for planning and making decisions about investments, financing, and new projects. The following are the purposes of the balances for a small business:

  • To assess the financial position of a small business
  • To make decisions about investments, financing, and new projects
  • To plan for future growth and profitabilitysTo understand the current liquidity and solvency of a business

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What is Basic balance sheet?

A basic balance sheet includes two main components: assets and liabilities these are also called items of a balance sheet. Assets include cash, inventory, accounts receivable (money owed to the business by customers), investments, and fixed assets such as buildings and equipment. Liabilities include accounts payable (money owed by the business to suppliers), loans, taxes, salaries, and other expenses.

The third component of a balance sheet is shareholders’ equity — in other words, the owner’s share in the business. This is equal to the value of all assets minus the value of all liabilities. 

Balance sheet formula

The balance sheet formula is: Assets = Liabilities + Shareholders’ Equity. This equation represents the core structure of a balance sheet. On one side, you list your assets, including cash, inventory, accounts receivable, investments, and tangible assets like property and equipment.

On the other side, you detail your liabilities, such as accounts payable, loans, taxes, salaries, and outstanding expenses. The difference between assets and liabilities equals shareholders’ equity, representing the owner’s stake in the business.

Mastering the balance sheet formula is crucial for UK-based small businesses. It enables you to assess your financial position, liquidity, and solvency, guiding decisions on investments, financing, and growth strategies. By consistently using this tool, you can navigate the dynamic UK business landscape, ensuring your business’s long-term financial stability.

How to create a balance sheet?

Preparing a balance sheet for a small business is essential for making sure the business is up to date with all its financial obligations and can accurately measure its financial health. Whether it’s done by an accountant or by the business owner, a balance sheet must be prepared regularly and accurately.

Creating a balance sheet requires you to have an understanding of the business’s financial position and its assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. It also requires you to understand the current trends in the industry so that you can compare your company’s performance against its competitors. You must also be familiar with bookkeeping principles in order to create a reliable balance sheet.

Following is the step-by-step guide to creating a balance sheet for a small business:

How to create a balance sheet

Step 1. Pick the balance sheet data:

The first step towards creating a balance sheet is to gather the necessary financial information. This should include data on all assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity.

Step 2. Collect current asset values:

It is important to collect the values of all current assets, such as cash in hand, accounts receivable, inventory, investments, and fixed assets like buildings and equipment.

Step 3. Record liabilities:

Liabilities are the obligations of a business, such as accounts payable, loans, taxes, and other expenses. These must be accurately recorded in order to create a reliable balance sheet.

Step 4. Calculate shareholders’ equity:

Once all assets and liabilities are accounted for, you can calculate the shareholder’s equity by subtracting liabilities from assets. This is the value of the owner’s stake in the business.

Step 5. Analyse and adjust:

Once you have calculated all components, it is important to review them for accuracy and to make any necessary adjustments if needed.  

How to create a new balance sheet?

A business’s balance sheet can change over time due to new investments, liabilities, or other changes in the company’s finances. To create a new balance sheet, you must first identify any differences from your previous balance sheet. This includes changes in assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. 

Once these differences are identified, update your existing balance sheet with the new information. Then, calculate any new figures for assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. Finally, review the balance sheet for accuracy and adjust it as needed before filing it. 

Preparing a balance sheet or balance sheet for small businesses is an important part of managing the financial health of your business. With a little bit of knowledge and understanding, you can create an accurate balance sheet that helps you make the best decisions for your business’s future.

What does the balance sheet show?

The balance sheet provides insight into a company’s financial position. It shows the company’s total assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity at a given point in time. Balance sheet current assets include cash, inventory, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, and short-term investments. On the other hand, current liabilities may include accounts payable, Notes Payable due within one year of the balance sheet date, accrued expenses, and tax liabilities.

The finance sheets and balance group sales are the two major categories of financial statements. The income statement (or profit and loss account) shows how company profits were generated over a certain period of time. It also provides information on all revenue, expenses, gains, losses, etc., during that period.

The balance sheet, on the other hand, provides information on what the company owns versus what it owes at a given point in time. It includes the company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity.

How do you analyse a balance sheet?

For small businesses, understanding the balance sheet and taking action based on its results is critical for maintaining financial health. The overall goal of analysing a balance sheet is to assess the solvency of a company in terms of its assets and liabilities.

The key components to look out for include:

  • Cash flow (Inflows vs. Outflows). This shows the ability of the company to take in more cash than it pays out.
  • Liquidity (the current ratio). This is a measure of short-term solvency and suggests whether a business has enough liquid capital to pay its next round of bills.
  • Leverage (debt-equity ratio). This measures how much debt a company has relative to its equity and is used to assess the overall level of risk.
  • Profitability (return on assets). This measures how profitable a company’s activities are relative to its total assets.

In addition, you should pay attention to any significant changes in certain accounts or line items from one period to another. These could signal potential issues with underlying operations that need to be addressed.

Types of Balance Sheets

Businesses can create balance sheets in two different ways: accrual-based accounting or cash-based accounting. The primary difference between the two types of balance sheets is how they treat accounts receivable and accounts payable.

Accrual-based accounting provides a more accurate picture of financial activity by matching revenues with expenses regardless of when the money comes in or goes out. For instance, if your business sells a product on credit and records the sales revenue immediately, even though it hasn’t received payment yet, this is considered accrual-based accounting.

However, the following are the reasons why cash basis accounting is still used by some businesses:

  • It’s easy to track and understand.
  • It helps you identify when money is coming in and going out of your business.
  • It can minimise taxes since income isn’t reported until it actually enters the business.

No matter which type of balance sheet a company chooses, it is important to remember that the accuracy and reliability of this financial statement depend on accurate accounting records.

Types of balance sheets can vary from business to business, depending on the unique needs of the company. For example, some businesses may need to create specialised balance sheets for different departments or subsidiaries in order to track their financial activity more accurately.

  1.  Liabilities balance sheet: This sheet shows all sources of money that a company owes, such as bank loans, accounts payable, and accrued expenses.
  2. Net income balance sheet: This sheet shows the net income generated by a company over a given period of time.
  3. Equity balance sheet: This sheet provides information about the sources and amount of equity invested in a business, such as common stock and retained earnings.
  4. Assets balance sheet: This is the most comprehensive type of balance sheet, and it includes all assets owned by a company, such as cash, inventory, and property.
  5. Revenue balance sheet: This sheet shows the total revenue generated by a business over a given period of time.

Shareholders' Funds on the Balance Sheet

Shareholders’ funds are an important part of the balance sheet. It is a measure of the net worth or equity of a business, which represents the total value that shareholders have in the company. The main components include retained earnings, common stock, and dividends paid.

In order to accurately calculate shareholders’ funds on a balance sheet, you must subtract all liabilities from total assets. The result of this calculation should equal the shareholders’ funds figure on your balance sheet.

It is also important to note that shareholders’ funds can change from one period to another based on a company’s profits and losses. If a company has profits, then its retained earnings will increase, whereas losses will decrease. Likewise, when a company pays dividends, this will also reduce shareholders’ funds.


A balance sheet is an essential financial statement for any business. It provides a snapshot of the company’s finances and helps investors and creditors make informed decisions about whether to invest in the business or extend credit. Understanding the three key aspects of a balance sheet – current assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ funds – is essential for analysing a business’s financial health.

Understanding the two different types of balance sheets – accrual-based and cash-based – helps ensure that businesses are accurately reporting their financial activity.

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