Tag: CPA

How to Read and Understand the Balance Sheet

How to Read and Understand the Balance SheetDetermine the health of a business by analyzing its Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a standard financial report that is often included with a business’ financial statements.

It is easy for business owners to understand the profit and loss statement (P&L), which provides business revenues and expenses for a given period. The balance sheet, however, provides a snapshot of a company’s accounts, specifically assets, liabilities and equity, at a given time.

So why is understanding your balance sheet so important?

First, as mentioned above, it includes the company’s assets at a specific point in time (i.e., month-end, year-end, etc.). A classified balance sheet will list the assets by liquidity and show what can and should be converted to cash quickly to pay for liabilities, operating expenses, or to invest in new ventures. Conversely, the non-liquid assets will also be listed and tell readers what the company owns long-term.

The liabilities section of the balance will show any upcoming amounts due in the short-term as well as any long-term balances. Usually, a liability is considered short-term if it is due within 12 months of the balance sheet date.

When reviewing a company’s balance sheet, the reader will review current liabilities as well as the current assets and determine if the company has sufficient current assets to settle short-term liabilities.

If current liabilities exceed current assets, the reader may conclude that the company may not be able to settle current liabilities as they come due.

Long term assets and liabilities

The long-term assets and liabilities also tell a story about the company’s future. Long-term assets such as notes receivable will advise the reader that the company will convert the assets to cash in the future. The long-term liabilities will advise of the future commitments the company has and its ability to settle those future commitments.

Analyzing a company’s balance sheet from one period to another will also provide information regarding the business health. For example, reviewing the trend in accounts receivable from one period to another can identify issues such as slow collections and uncollectible debts.

The equity section of the balance sheet is made up of the initial investment in the company and any accumulated profits or losses retained in the business at the balance sheet date. This balance is what the owners would expect if the company was liquidated. If equity is negative, the company would not have sufficient assets to settle its debts if the assets were liquidated at the balance sheet value.

For the balance sheet to be an effective tool for business owners in analyzing the strengths of their business, it should be kept on the accrual basis. In fact, financial statements prepared on the GAAP basis (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) are usually accrual basis. An accrual basis balance sheet will include all accounts receivables and accounts payables, thus providing an accurate snap shot of the company’s assets and liabilities at a specific date.

Conversely, cash basis balance sheets will not include the receivables and payables and, if these items are material to the business, the reader will not know what collections are expected in the short-term and what liabilities will need cash in the immediate future.

If you are a small business owner take a moment to review your balance sheet. Understanding how to improve specific account balances can help you grow a financially secure business.

We’ve got your back

At KRS, our CPAs can help you review your balance sheet and put together a plan for improving your company’s financial situation. Give us a call at 201.655.7411 or email me at [email protected]


Is Your Accountant More than Your Trusted Advisor?

Is Your Accountant More than Your Trusted Advisor?Managing partner Maria Rollins was a guest on the Accounting Success podcast, speaking on the topic, “How Successful Accountants Serve Their Clients.” In this session excerpt, host Ian Welham and Maria discuss what it means as a CPA to be more than a trusted advisor.

IAN: It’s sometimes said that owning a business can be a lonely world and even that clients can go into their own shell or into their own world. Do you find that once you’ve got a relationship with a client that they tend to reach out to you to help them understand their business, help them avoid that feeling of loneliness…?

MARIA: Sometimes we refer to ourselves as more than just the trusted advisors. Sometimes we’re the psychologist that steps in and listens to what our clients’ issues are even if it goes beyond their business or accounting. I think it’s the fact that our clients know that we really do care about the success of their business, so we can listen to their troubles and their stresses and provide that third-party advice, that independent advice, to help them succeed.

IAN: I think that’s very important. I think you used the word “help them succeed.” Do you find that some clients aren’t actually clear about where they want to go? They got into business. They’ve grown, perhaps, over 10 or 15 years, but they don’t have an end game.

MARIA: We do talk a lot about succession planning for their business. We do talk about buy/sell agreements… We do try to sit down and understand what the goals are. We talk a lot about a three-year plan and a five-year plan so we can help them, guide them. Their business is their biggest asset most times. You want to add value within that asset.

IAN: You have clients not just from New Jersey, but across the U.S. and from around the world. They’re quite diverse in terms of size, ranging from multinational corporations to small, independent businesses. What do you actually look for in a client? What are the things that attract you to the client?

MARIA: The biggest attraction is what we can do to help that client. Where can we actually see some success with what that client needs and how we can match up our talent to get them to that next level and to help them achieve their goals. We do talk a lot about what the client needs are, our understanding of those needs, and how we can help them achieve those goals.

IAN: I think it helps, of course, whether the client’s large or small, that they welcome outside expertise and understand this value.

MARIA: There’s clients that could be a little bit larger that have very different needs. Maybe those clients are more in the need of the traditional accounting services where we’re providing audit assistance or a financial statement assistance. We’ve found very small businesses, and we don’t want to pigeonhole any business based on size, but very small businesses that are very entrepreneurial, they have a very high need and use of technology, and it’s exciting to be part of that growth.

IAN: I noted another expression on your website that caught my attention. I think it was echoed in some of your clients’ testimonials as well. The phrase is: “We’ve got your back.” Can you explain what you mean by that? How does that phrase embody how you serve your clients?

MARIA: The culture here is that we care about our clients’ businesses, sometimes even more than our clients seem to care about their businesses. That’s really where that comes from. You’re focused on your business. You’re in it day-to-day. Sometimes it’s very hard to step back and look at the big picture. We’re there. We’ve got you. We have that big picture in mind. You can count on us for that.

Listen to the entire discussion on YouTube at https://youtu.be/ox6UNUzreXk.

Stay in Touch With Your Accountant Even After Your Tax Return is Filed

Tap your CPA’s knowledge and experience

As your business grows so do the complexities of complying with the regulations and requirements that may apply to you and your business. Your accountant is available to assist with accounting and compliance issues. In a business environment where these rules and regulations are constantly changing you want to be sure you are covered. Make sure you keep the lines of communication open throughout the year and take advantage of all the knowledge and expertise your accountant has to offer. The added value from keeping in touch with your accountant could extend well beyond tax services.

How is your business actually doing?

COMPLIANCE conceptIf you are familiar with basic accounting and maintain your own set of books, but can’t seem to make sense of the reports your accounting software is producing it may be time to sit down with your accountant. This is a great way to analyze how your business is actually doing. Your accountant is well versed in what your cash flow and finances are comprised of and could be an extremely useful resource when it comes to planning your future, setting goals, and assuring growth.

Consider outsourcing your bookkeeping

Success and growth may mean that more time and focus is needed with daily operations. The accounting and tax rules and regulations that become applicable are also more complicated than what you may have seen in the past. Allowing your accountant to take charge of the bookkeeping tasks allows you to focus on managing your business and creates a relationship where there is constant communication.

Together, you can develop a strategic plan for the future while discussing aspects of your business that may need change or attention. The conversations and accuracy of the financial reports will provide you with an accurate understanding of your businesses profitability and allow for accurate projections to be made which results in an easier tax filing season.

Ask questions

You should be asking your CPA questions about the financial aspects of your business that you may not be familiar with and would like to learn more about. These conversations can lead to you feeling more comfortable and confident while making informed decisions to assure a successful business.

Stay in touch

Your accountant can offer the proper guidance needed to make you consider all possible outcomes, consequences, or opportunities that may arise when making business decisions. Keeping them informed about any significant changes is imperative to avoid negative repercussions when it comes to accounting or compliance issues. Be sure to stay proactive in keeping your accountant apprised of decisions regarding your personal finances, business engagements, and any other significant changes in your life. With expertise in many different areas, your accountant can offer you insight and support even after you’ve filed your tax return.

Additional resources

If you haven’t yet found the CPA that’s right for you, check out the post, “How to Choose the Right Accountants.”  The post, “Does Your Small Business Need Help with Bookkeeping Tasks” can help you decide if outsourcing these important tasks is right for your small or mid-size business.