Edwin Muchalanje

Professional Insight

10 Jan 2023

Understanding Financial Statements for Startup

From an accountant’s point of view

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As a startup founder or entrepreneur, it’s essential to understand your company’s financial statements. These statements provide valuable information about your company’s financial health, including its profitability, cash flow, and overall financial performance. In this professional insight, we’ll take a closer look at the different financial statements and what they mean for your startup.

  1. Income Statement:

    The income statement, also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses during a specific period, typically a quarter or year. The income statement starts with your revenue, then subtracts your cost of goods sold (COGS) and other expenses to arrive at your net income or loss.

    Understanding your income statement is crucial for monitoring your startup’s profitability. If your revenue is increasing, but your expenses are increasing at a faster rate, your net income will decrease. This could indicate that you need to cut costs or increase revenue to maintain profitability.

  2. Statement of Financial Position:

    The Statement of financial position famously known as the balance sheet is a snapshot of your company’s financial position at a specific point in time. It shows your assets, liabilities, and equity. Your assets are what your company owns, such as cash, inventory, and property, plant and equipment. Your liabilities are what your company owes, such as loans, accounts payable, and taxes. Your equity represents the value of your company’s assets minus its liabilities.

    The balance sheet is important for monitoring your company’s financial health and liquidity. If your liabilities are higher than your assets, it means that your net worth is negative, and you have negative equity in your business. This is commonly referred to as being in a state of insolvency. It indicates that you owe more money than you own in assets, and you may face difficulties in meeting your financial obligations. It is important to take immediate steps to improve your financial situation, such as reducing expenses, increasing income, restructure your debt or raise additional capital and seeking professional advice from a financial advisor or accountant.

  3. Cashflow statement:

    The cash flow statement shows the cash inflows and outflows for your startup during a specific period, typically a quarter or year. It breaks down your cash inflows into three categories: operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities.

    The cash flow statement is critical for monitoring your company’s cash flow and liquidity. If your cash inflows are less than your cash outflows, you may have difficulty paying your bills and may need to restructure your debt or raise additional capital.

  4. Statement of Changes in Equity:

    The statement of changes in equity shows the changes in your company’s equity during a specific period, typically a quarter or year. It shows how your company’s equity changed due to net income, dividends, and other transactions.

    The statement of changes in equity is important for monitoring your company’s capital structure and ownership changes. If your equity is decreasing, you may need to raise additional capital or restructure your company’s ownership.


Understanding your startup’s financial statements is crucial for monitoring its financial health and making informed business decisions. As an accountant, I recommend that you review your financial statements regularly and consult with a professional accountant or financial advisor if you have any questions or concerns. By doing so, you can help ensure that your startup remains financially healthy and sustainable in the long run.

“As an accountant, I can’t stress enough the importance of understanding financial statements for startups. These statements provide crucial information on a company’s financial health and performance, including its assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses, and cash flow. By analyzing and interpreting these statements, startup founders can make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and communicate effectively with investors, lenders, and other stakeholders. Don’t underestimate the power of financial statements – they can make or break your startup’s success.”

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