5 Main Elements of Financial Statements: Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Revenues, Expenses - Wikiaccounting (2024)


Financial statements are the important reports of the entity that provide the entity’s financial information at a specific period of time to be used by many stakeholders such as management, employees, the board of directors, investors, shareholders, customers, suppliers, bankers, and other related stakeholders.

These statements are prepared as the requirement of management, owners, shareholders, governments, and other related authority organizations.

The completed set of financial statements contains five statements and five elements. Here are the five statements:

  1. Statement of Financial Position or Balance Sheet,
  2. Statement of Financial Performance, or Income Statement,
  3. Statement of Change in Equity,
  4. Statement of Cash flow, and
  5. Noted to Financial Statements

Check: Objective and purpose of financial statements

Elements of Financial Statements:

The above financial statements build-up by five key elements of financial statements. For example, there are three main elements in the Balance Sheet as Assets, Liabilities, and Equities.

There are two key elements in the income statement, such as revenues and expenses. All of these elements are clearly defined and explained in the IASB’s Framework.

These Financial Statements contain five main elements of the entity’s financial information, and these five elements of financial statements are:

  • Assets,
  • Liabilities,
  • Equities,
  • Revenues, and
  • Expenses


The official definition of assets are defined by IASB’s Framework for preparation and presentation of financial statements are the resources control by the entity as the result of past events and from which the future economic benefits are expected to flow the entity.

For example, the account receivable is the asset of the entity.

Right here could mean the right to use or control the physical assets or the intellectual property, or it could be linked to the other entity’s obligation to pay or transfer the assets to the entity.

In the accounting equation, assets are calculated by the accumulation of equity and liabilities.

Here are examples of assets:

  • Land
  • Building
  • Property
  • Computer equipment
  • Cash in bank
  • Cash on hand
  • Cash advance
  • Petty cash
  • Inventories
  • Account receivables
  • Prepaid expenses
  • Goodwill
  • And other assets that meet the definition of assets above.

Assets are considered the first element of financial statements, and they report only in the balance sheets. They are staying on the top of the balance sheets.

In general, assets are classified into two types based on the company’s policies and following international accounting standards.

Current assets:

The first asset class is the current asset which refers to short-term assets, and these kinds of assets are not depreciated. The movement or usages of them are directly charged to the income statement.

For example, the usages of inventories are charged as operating expenses or costs of goods sold in the income statement. Some of the current assets are just moved from one accounting item to another.

For example, accounts receivable are moved to cash in the bank or cash on hand when the entity collects customer payment.

Current assets generally have a useful life in less than 12 months from the ending date of the reporting period. It is assumed that the entity could use or convert the current assets into cash in less than 12 months.

If the portion of assets will be converted or collected in less than 12 months, and other assets have more than 12 months, then the portion that has more than 12 months should be recorded or classified as non-current assets.

Non-current assets:

The second type of asset are fixed assets. These kinds of assets normally refer to assets that use more than one year and with large amounts as well as are not for trading or holders for price appreciation.

In other words, fixed assets are the resources based on nature converted into cash or cash equivalent in more than one year accounting period.

It is based on the company’s policies to recognize which amount should be classed as current assets and which amount should go to fixed assets. Yet, the policies should be aligned with current practice or market and reflect the real economic value.

Fixed assets are decreasing value from period to period because of their usages or impairment of their economic value.

Depreciation and impairment of fixed assets are charged into the income statement. They report cumulatively in the contra account to fixed assets in the balance sheet called accumulated depreciation.

Assets of the entity at the specific period can be calculated by the accumulation of liabilities and equities or total current assets plus total fixed assets.


The official definition of liabilities define by IASB’s Framework for preparation and presentation of financial statements are the present obligations arising from the past events, the settlement of which is expected to result in an outflow from entity resources embodying economic benefit.

Here are examples of Liabilities in Financial Statements:

  • Bank Loan
  • Overdraft
  • Interest payable
  • Tax payable
  • Account payable
  • Noted payable
  • Borrowing from parent company
  • Intercompany account payable
  • Salary payable
Related article Statement Of Changes In Equity: Purpose, Definition, Example and More

Liabilities are classified into two different types: Current liabilities and Non-current Liabilities. Current Liabilities refer to the kind of liabilities expected to settle within 12 months after the reporting date.

For example, salaries payable are classed as current liabilities because they are expected to pay an employee in the following month.

Non-current liabilities refer to liabilities that are expected to settle in more than 12 months. For example, a long-term loan from a bank that term of payments is more than 12 is classed as a non-current liability. Liabilities records are only on the balance sheet and are considered as the second element of financial statements.

Liabilities can be calculated by eliminating the total equities from total assets or accumulating total current liabilities and total long-term liabilities.


Equity is officially defined by IASB’s Framework for preparation and presentation of financial statements, is the residual interest in the assets of the entity after deducting all its liabilities.

Example: By solving the above definition, Equities = Assets – Liabilities. A good example of Equity is Ordinary Shares Capital and Retained Earnings. That means equity increase or decrease depending on the movement of assets and liabilities.

For example, if assets are increasing and the liabilities are stable, then equities will increase. However, if assets are stable and liabilities are increased, the equity will decrease.

The items that recorded in equity are:

  • Share capital
  • Retain earning or retain losses
  • Revaluation gain
  • Dividends payment


The official definition of revenues defined byIASB’s Framework for preparation and presentation of the financial statement is an increase in the economic benefits during the accounting period in the form of inflows or enhancements of assets or decrease of liabilities that result in increases in equity, other than those relating to contributions from equity participants.

An example of revenues is sales revenues from selling goods or rendering services, interest incomes from bank deposits, and a dividend received from equity investments.

Related article Incremental Cash Flow - Definition, Formula, Example, and Calculation

In the income statement, income is sometimes called sales revenues or Revenues. These are referred to like the same things.

Revenues in the income statement are records altogether for both the revenues from selling the entity’s main products or services ( principle activities) and revenues that the entity generates from the entity’s non-activities.

Two accounting principles are used to record and recognize revenues in the income statement. First, it uses a cash basis, and second, it uses an accrual basis.

Cash basis, revenues, or income is recognized at the time cash is received or collected. In contrast, accrual basis, revenue, or income are recognized when risks and rewards are transferred from sellers to buyers. The control over the products or services is handed over from the seller to the buyer.

Expenses: Operating Expenses or Administration Expenses

The official definition of Expenses defined by IASB’s Framework for preparation and presentation of a financial statement is decreased in economic benefits during the accounting period in the form of outflows or depreciation of assets or incurred of liabilities that result in decreases in equity, other than those relating to distributions to equity participants.

Expenses here refer to the expenses that occur for daily operational costs. Those expenses are:

  • Cost of goods sold
  • Salaries expenses
  • Depreciation
  • Interest Expenses
  • Tax expenses
  • Utility expenses
  • Transportation Cost
  • Marketing Expenses
  • Rental Expenses
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Internet Fee
  • Telephone fee

Expenses are records as operational costs in the income statement in the period they have occurred.

Well, sometimes they called period cost including the cost of goods sold and administrative cost. Actually, these expenses are different from capital expenditures which are paid for purchasing fixed assets.


The above are the five main financial statements that you could find in the income statement and balance sheet. Assets are resources owned by the entity. Liabilities are an obligation that the entity owes to others. Equities are the difference between assets and liabilities.

Revenues are the sales of goods or services, and finally, expenses are the operating costs of the entity.

These five financial statements could produce five types of financial statements for the entity’s stakeholders using.

Written by Sinra

I'm a financial expert with extensive knowledge in accounting and financial reporting. I've worked in various capacities, including advising businesses on financial strategies and preparing financial statements. My expertise is demonstrated through practical experience and a deep understanding of accounting principles and international financial reporting standards.

Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article:

Financial Statements Overview: Financial statements are crucial reports providing information about an entity's financial position at a specific time. Stakeholders, including management, investors, and regulators, rely on these statements. The five main financial statements are the Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet), Statement of Financial Performance (Income Statement), Statement of Change in Equity, Statement of Cash Flow, and Noted to Financial Statements.

Elements of Financial Statements: The financial statements are composed of five key elements:

  1. Assets: Resources controlled by the entity with future economic benefits.
  2. Liabilities: Present obligations resulting from past events.
  3. Equities: Residual interest in the assets after deducting liabilities.
  4. Revenues: Increases in economic benefits during the accounting period.
  5. Expenses: Decreases in economic benefits during the accounting period.

Assets: Assets, the first element, include items like land, buildings, cash, inventories, and accounts receivables. Current assets are short-term, while non-current assets have a longer useful life.

Liabilities: Liabilities represent present obligations, such as loans, overdrafts, and taxes. They are classified as current (settled within 12 months) or non-current (settled beyond 12 months).

Equity: Equity is the residual interest in assets after deducting liabilities. It includes share capital, retained earnings, revaluation gains, dividends, and more.

Revenues: Revenues are increases in economic benefits from selling goods or services. They contribute to equity and can be recognized under cash basis or accrual basis accounting.

Expenses: Expenses are decreases in economic benefits due to operational costs like salaries, depreciation, interest, taxes, and other daily expenses. They are recorded in the income statement.

In conclusion, these five elements form the foundation of financial statements, providing a comprehensive view of an entity's financial health. Understanding these concepts is crucial for stakeholders to make informed decisions. If you have further questions or need clarification on any specific aspect, feel free to ask.

5 Main Elements of Financial Statements: Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Revenues, Expenses - Wikiaccounting (2024)
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