Small Business Balance Sheets With Examples

By Susan Guillory · May 22, 2024 · 6 minute read

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Small Business Balance Sheets With Examples

As a small business owner, it’s not always easy to tell exactly how well your business is doing or, after factoring in loans and expenses, how much of the business is really yours. That’s where a balance sheet comes in.

A balance sheet is a financial statement that shows the balance between your assets, liabilities, and equity. It can help you track the financial health of your small business and make informed decisions. You may also need a balance sheet to file taxes, secure a loan, bring in investors. or sell your business.

Read on to learn more about small business balance sheets, including what they are, what they look like, and how they can help you grow your business.

What Is a Balance Sheet?

A balance sheet is a financial statement that provides a snapshot of a company’s financial position at a specific point in time. It shows what the business owns (assets), what it owes (liabilities), and the difference between the two (owner’s equity). The balance sheet follows the fundamental accounting equation:

Assets = Liabilities + Owner’s Equity


Assets are resources that the business owns and can use to generate revenue. They are usually listed in order of liquidity, with the most liquid assets (e.g., cash) listed first. Examples of assets include:

•  Cash

•  Accounts receivable

•  Inventory (the value of goods held by the business for resale)

•  Property, plant, and equipment (the value of long-term assets such as buildings, machinery, and vehicles).

•  Investments (the value of investments held by the business, such as stocks or bonds)

Recommended: How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business?


Liabilities are obligations that the company owes to external parties. These include:

•  Long-term business loans

•  Short-term business loans

•  Accrued expenses

•  Deferred tax liability (accumulated taxes that have not yet been paid)

•  Accounts payable


Owner’s equity represents the owner’s stake in the business. It is calculated as the difference between the company’s assets and liabilities and represents the amount of the company’s assets that are owned by the owner or shareholders.

This part of the balance sheet also includes retained earnings. Retained earnings represent the cumulative net income of the company that has been retained in the business rather than distributed to shareholders as dividends.

Income Statement vs Balance Sheet

Both balance sheets and income statements offer valuable information on a company’s financial health, but they differ in a few key ways.

An income statement (also known as a profit and loss statement), is a financial statement that summarizes a company’s revenues, expenses, and profits or losses over a specific period, typically a quarter or a year.

An income statement provides insight into your company’s financial performance by showing how much money the company made (revenue), how much it spent (expenses), and the resulting profit or loss. This information is also important to investors and lenders, since it indicates if the company was profitable during the given time.

A balance sheet, by contrast, shows a company’s financial health at a specific point in time. Creditors and investors look at a company’s balance sheet to understand what the company owns (assets) and owes (liabilities). The balance between those two items communicates the company’s financial health.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of income statements and balance sheets:


Income Statement Balance Sheet
Reports a company’s finances for a specific date Reports a company’s revenue and expenses over a specific period
Reports assets, liabilities, and equity Reports revenue and expenses
Used to see if a company has enough assets to satisfy its obligations Used to see if a company is profitable

Recommended: How to Read Financial Statements: The Basics

Do Small Businesses Need a Balance Sheet?

If your company brings in revenues of more than $250,000, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may require you to complete a small business balance sheet when you file your taxes. If your company makes less than that, it’s not required.

However, if you want to take out a small business loan, lenders may ask to see your balance sheet when you apply. If you’re looking to bring in investors or plan to sell your company, you’ll also likely need a balance sheet.

If none of those apply, it can still be wise to have a balance sheet, as it lets you know at a glance where your business stands in terms of what it owns, and what it owes.

A balance sheet also offers a scannable list of assets and liabilities for comparison, so you can make sure your business is able to cover its short-term obligations. If you see that liabilities outweigh assets, you’ll need to find ways to increase revenue or raise working capital, either from investors or through financing.

Recommended: Typical Small Business Loan Fees

Writing a Balance Sheet for a Small Business

Ready to create a simple balance sheet for your small business’s use? You have a few options.

Start With What You’ve Got

If you already use small business accounting software, you may have the ability to create a balance sheet statement directly from that software. These programs can typically build the balance sheet for you by automatically filling in all relevant assets and liabilities, often using real-time information from your bank accounts.

Ask Your Accountant

If you have an accountant who manages your “books” and files your taxes, they can help you generate a balance sheet and explain how it works.

DIY Your Balance Sheet

If the other two aren’t options, you can generate your own balance sheet. There are templates you can find online to use, or you can create one in a spreadsheet. Make sure to include your current and fixed assets, current and long-term liabilities, and any money you (or others) have invested in the company.

Small Business Balance Sheet Example

Let’s look at an example of a balance sheet for a fictional small business so you get a sense of what yours might look like.


Current Assets Current Liabilities
Cash $11,000 Wages Payable $5,000
Accounts Receivable $21,000 Accounts Payable $5,500
Inventory $33,000 Taxes Payable $10,000
    Total Current Assets
Short-Term Loans Payable $3,000
    Total Current Liabilities
Non-Current Assets Non-Current Liabilities
Office Equipment $3,500 Long-Term Liabilities $20,000
Real Estate $25,000 Long-Term Debt $30,000
    Total Non-Current Assets
    Total Non-Current Liabilities
Owner’s Equity $20,000
    Total Equity

This sample balance sheet is in balance, since total assets ($93,500) equals total liabilities ($73,500) plus total equity ($20,000).

Recommended: Gross Profit vs EBITDA

Pro Forma Balance Sheet

Pro forma financial statements are financial reports for your business based on hypothetical scenarios. As a result, they allow you to test out situations you think may happen in the future to help you make business decisions.

A pro forma balance sheet is a balance sheet with forecasted future values — namely the assets, liabilities, and equity you wish to have in the future. These balance sheets can be useful for planning any significant changes to the business, whether you’re thinking about taking out a new loan, purchasing a large piece of equipment, or even buying another company.

Recommended: Debit Memo vs Credit Memo

The Takeaway

The balance sheet is a critical financial statement that provides valuable information about a company’s financial position. No matter how big or small your business is, it’s a good idea to periodically generate and review the balance sheet to keep tabs on your company’s financial health and make informed decisions. By understanding the balance sheet, you can better manage your finances and position your business for long-term success.

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