The Balance Sheet is one of three financial statements released by a company every quarter that allow investors an inside look into the company’s books. The Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash Flow Statement are all found within a company’s 10-Q or 10 – K report filed with the Securities Exchange Commission.

The Balance Sheet shows the company’s assets, liabilities and shareholder’s equity.


Example below from Intel’s (INTC) 2012 2nd quarter earnings.

(Click to Enlarge)


The balance sheet shows one of the basic accounting equations:


By definition this equation must always remain “in balance” – hence the name “balance sheet”


Other terms typically found on a company’s balance sheet:

Current Assets

Current Liabilities

Accounts Receivable

Accounts Payable


Intangible Assets





See our detailed guide to understanding the balance sheet and using it to evaluate companies here.

Interpretation of Financial Statements, Defines this as:

“A balance sheet shows how a company stands at a given moment. A single balance sheet may give some indications as to the company’s past performance, but this may be studied intelligently only in the income accounts and by a comparison of successive balance sheets.

The function of the balance sheet is to show what the company owns and what it owes.”



Financial Statements: A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding and Creating Financial Reports, Defines this as:

“The balance sheet present the financial picture of the enterprise on one particular day, and instant time, the date it was written.

The balance sheet presents:

  •  What the enterprise has today: assets.
  •  How much the enterprise owes today: liabilities.
  •  What the enterprise is worth today: equity.”


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