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Profit and Loss Statement

A profit and loss statement provides information on how the business is doing.

Is it making a loss or is it making a profit?

The information for this report is taken from the business bookkeeping records from a period of time, such as one month or a year, six months or one week. It can be for any time frame.

This report is only as good and accurate as the data in the bookkeeping system.

You can either click on the quick image links below for extra information, or scroll down to read about the basics.

Click or tap the download for a free profit and loss template form in excel, that can be fully customized, and looks like the sample below (until you customize it!!).


Sample Profit and Loss Statement

Profit and Loss Statement


Other names for a profit and loss Statement

The statement lists the Income and Expenses, which is why it also goes by the name of:

  • Income and Expense Report, or
  • Income Statement, and
  • It is also known as the Statement of Financial Performance.
Income statement is also called a profit and loss report.

What information is found on a profit and loss report

The following information is found on a profit and loss statement :- 

what information is not found on the income statement

It does not have the following information:-

…..these details are included on another report - the Balance Sheet.

How often should a profit and loss report be produced

The profit and loss statement can be produced weekly, monthly, six monthly or annually, or even for one day!

However, preparing this report once a month is the most recommended, and usual, time frame for keeping an eye on how the business is doing.

It can be based on accrual figures or cash figures.

This report is used for a number of purposes some of which are listed below.

What is a Profit and Loss Report used for?


To Calculate Tax

If a net profit is earned, this figure will be used towards calculating the Income Tax payable to the government.

This is done at the end of every financial year (every 12 months).

If the year end result is a loss, there will usually be no income tax to pay because losses are tax deductible but they are not so good for the day to day running of the business as it means the cash flow will be tight and it will be difficult to cover expenses.

For Loan applications

If the business is applying for a financial loan, the loan provider (like a bank) will want to see the applicant's Profit and Loss Statement to analyze if loaning money to the business is a viable step.

To check the cost of goods sold

To help the bookkeeper pin-point if the business is recouping its cost of goods sold. i.e. is the business on-charging to customers all the direct costs it incurred to complete a job?

Analyze Business Trading Trends

A chart of monthly summary figures taken from the Profit and Loss statement is useful for showing the trends of business trading, such as  the rise and fall of income and expenses. This gives the owner an opportunity to analyze the activities of the business and investigate why, for example, income in one month was much lower than another month which leads to the next point.....

...As an aid to improving business operations

To help business management work out ways of improving business operations such as where to cut down on expenses.

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Profit and Loss Statement


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