Understanding where your business stands financially is crucial for long-term success. A balance sheet acts as a snapshot of your venture’s financial health at a specific point in time. But what should your business’s balance sheet look like?
Let’s demystify these accounting questions and walk through the essentials of a healthy balance sheet. This financial know-how can pave the way for success, both now and in the future.
Components of a Balance Sheet
Every business owner should be familiar with basic accounting terms, especially when it comes to balance sheets. Each element of this financial snapshot contributes to the larger picture.
Your assets represent everything your business currently owns, including cash in hand, inventory ready for sale, investments, property, and even intangibles like patents or trademarks.
What does your business owe to others? Think short-term debts, accrued expenses, or long-term obligations like bank loans or mortgages.
Subtract your liabilities from your assets to calculate your company’s equity. Theoretically, this is what you’d receive if all your assets were sold and your debts completely paid off.
Ideal Balance Sheet Structure
Paint a picture of financial stability and growth by setting up your balance sheet with a solid structure.
Your business should show a healthy mix of both current and non-current assets. Current assets are those that your business can easily convert to cash within a year, while non-current assets are long-term investments that can’t be liquidated as easily.
Balance your current and non-current liabilities while you’re at it. Current liabilities are debts due within a short time; non-current liabilities are more long-term obligations like loans and leases. Keep both types of liabilities low, if possible, to lighten your debt burden.
Ideally, your equity should grow over time. Increasing equity indicates that your business is turning a profit and providing a return on investment for you, the owner.
Key Indicators of a Healthy Balance Sheet
Carefully review your balance sheets to determine the health of your business, and look for the following:
Divide your current assets by your current liabilities for your current ratio. A ratio of 1 or higher indicates that your company has enough assets to cover its short-term debts.
Debt to Equity Ratio
Compare your company’s total debts to your equity. A lower ratio suggests that your company doesn’t rely too heavily on borrowed money and is generally considered healthier.
Retained Earnings Growth
Your retained earnings are profits you choose to reinvest in the company rather than distribute to shareholders. If this figure increases over time, it shows not only profitability, but a commitment to future growth.
Your business’s balance sheet is a compass that can guide you toward smart decisions and strategies, but what should it look like? Each sheet should reflect what you own and what you owe, providing insights into your venture’s financial health and future prospects.