This article provide a brief introduction to balance sheets.
Typically assets will include such items as:
- Cash in the bank.
- Money owed to the business in the form of debtors.
- Tangible assets such as; computers, equipment and furniture.
Liabilities will include such items as:
- Net overdraft at the bank.
- Money owed to suppliers in the form of trade creditors.
- Loans to the business.
- Hire purchase contracts.
- Money owed to HMRC in the form of VAT or other taxes.
- Share capital and accumulated reserves (these are amounts invested or retained in the business by its owners).
And in addition to the obvious items above, accounting practice allows for many other categories to be accounted for, such as:
- Accrued income.
- Accruals etc.
There are timing considerations to be taken into account when listing these items out. The Companies Acts require that liabilities are identified by reference to when they fall due to be paid, so that it can be seen if a business’s immediate payment obligations to creditors exceeds its short-term ability to find the cash to meet those obligations.
It is for this reason that balance sheets of entities who report to Companies House will show 'current assets' and 'current liabilities' and will also show whether current assets exceed current liabilities (good) or whether current liabilities exceed current assets (bad).
In fact, the Companies Acts stipulate the broad formats in which accounts, including the Balance Sheet, must be presented. There are a variety of reporting options depending upon the nature and size of the business in question and guidance is available from Companies House.
Not only is it good business practice to have this information readily available, but it is also information that lenders or statutory bodies will be interested in as the balance sheet is effectively a record of a business’s life since birth; how much profit has been retained in the business over the years and how healthy it now looks. And because balance sheets are published once a year, usually to the same accounting date, it is possible to see a progression year by year in the net asset value of a business.
Not all businesses are legally required to prepare a balance sheet. Unincorporated businesses that do not have to file accounts with Companies House do not need to do so. It is, nonetheless, good practice to ensure that a balance sheet is maintained and is up to date. Many businesses are wound up because they cannot pay their debts when they fall due (effectively this is the definition of insolvency) and this often arises because business owners have lost track of exactly what they owe, particularly to HMRC in the form of VAT, PAYE or Corporation Tax.
In addition to the balance sheet itself, published accounts frequently contain 'Notes to the Balance Sheet' which, to the experienced practitioner, is where much of the essential detail which lies behind the bare numbers can be found.
This article created by:--Martinc 13:12, 30 June 2014 (BST)
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Construction organisations and strategy.
- Construction supply chain payment charter.
- Cost value reconciliation.
- Fair payment practices.
- Financial Reporting Standard for Small Entities.
- Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act.
- Outturn cost.
- Payment notice.
- Remedies for late payment.
- Scheme for construction contracts.
- Working capital.
 External references.
Featured articles and news
This unique Brutalist-era car park just off Oxford Street is soon to be demolished.
How to utilise technology in construction projects and what benefits will it bring?
Have a look at Thomas Heatherwick's new building, one he calls 'the tubiest in the world'.
Artificial intelligence will have a significant impact on the built environment, according to a new survey by ICE.
Construction is often seen as too traditional, lacking innovation and collaboration. But are these perceptions fair?
Designing Buildings Wiki attended CIAT's Architectural Technology Awards 2017. Find out the winners here.
BSI make revisions to BS 5839-1 for fire detection and fire alarm systems in commercial buildings.
An introductory article to the change control procedure for building design and construction.
Only weeks after his Garden Bridge is scrapped, Thomas Heatherwick's plan for Pier 55 in New York is abandoned.
British Land are given planning permission for their £300m extension of Meadowhall shopping centre.
30 years ago, Walter Segal's radical self-builders completed Walters Way. We talked to the author of a new book about the project, and its influence on self-build today.
This article has a look at the top 10 most expensive construction projects in the world.