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Small Business Balance Sheets With Examples

Small Business Balance Sheets With Examples
Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated December 12, 2023
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If you run your own business, having a general understanding of small business accounting basics and important financial ratios is important. You’ll need to understand the money coming in and going out of your accounts, and you’ll have to have a handle on your accounting software.One of the financial statements you should be sure you understand is your small business’s balance sheet. Let’s take a deeper dive into what a balance sheet is, why it’s important to have one, and what a balance sheet looks like. 

What Is a Balance Sheet?

A small business balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’ assets, liabilities, and equity (if applicable). Reviewing it gives you a general idea of where your money (and debts) lie so you can gauge your cash flow.


An asset is anything that holds value and can be turned into cash, sold, or used. Examples of assets include:
  • Office equipment (computers, machinery, etc.)
  • Inventory
  • Real estate
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Cash
  • Accounts receivable
  • Investments
Note that if you lease equipment, you won’t be able to list it as either an asset or a liability. If you’re considering leasing vs purchasing equipment, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option.


Also included on your balance sheet are your business’s liabilities. These include debts you owe to others, such as the following:
  • Payroll
  • Accounts payable
  • Loan payments
  • Taxes
Keep in mind that your balance sheet may look different depending on whether you use the cash or the accrual accounting methodIf you use the cash accounting method, you won’t record revenues or expenses until the cash is actually received or paid out. If you use the accrual method, you record revenue or expenses when the product is delivered or the item you ordered has been received.


If you have shareholders, their equity will also appear on your balance sheet. It will also list the value of a share of stock. If you don’t have shareholders, you still include owners’ equity in the balance sheet.Ideally, your accounts should balance. That is, your assets should equal your liabilities plus your equity. If they don’t, it’s important to figure out why not.Recommended: Reading Balance Sheets: All You Need to Know

Income Statement vs Balance Sheet

Another financial statement you might have heard of is the income statement. Below are some differences between balance sheets and income statements.
Income StatementBalance Sheet
Reports revenue, expenses and profit or lossReports assets, liabilities, and shareholder equity
Helps determine gross margin and net incomeMeasures cash flow and financial wellbeing of company
In a nutshell, the balance sheet is used to see how a company is doing and whether it has enough assets to cover its liabilities. The income statement, on the other hand, is a snapshot of financial health for a moment in time, often a year. It can be used to course-correct if there are financial concerns.

Do Small Businesses Need a Balance Sheet?

If your company brings in revenues of more than $250,000, the 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 plan to sell your company, you’ll also need one.If none of those apply, it can still be wise to have a balance sheet, as it’s helpful in calculating cash flow and giving you the big picture of how your company’s doing. If you have more liabilities than assets, for example, you might work to pay down that debt or find other avenues to bring in revenue and get the two back in balance.Recommended: Guide to Change in Net Working Capital

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 accounting software, you may have the ability to create a balance sheet statement directly from that software. If you’ve accurately input your income and expenses, the software will automatically generate a report that includes your assets, liabilities, and equity.

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 both long- and short-term assets and liabilities, as well as equity.

Small Business Balance Sheet Example

Let’s look at an example of a balance sheet for a small business so you get a sense of what yours might look like.
Assets Liabilities
Current Assets Current Liabilities
Cash$3,000Wages Payable$5,000
Accounts receivable$7,500Accounts Payable$5,500
Inventory$13,320Taxes Payable$10,000
Total Current Assets$23,820Short-Term Loans Payable$3,000
Total Current Liabilities$23,500
Property & Equipment
Office Equipment$5,000Long-Term Liabilities$20,000
Real Estate$25,000Long-Term Debt$30,000
Total Property & Equipment$30,000Total Long-Term Liabilities$50,000
Owner’s Equity$20,000
Total Equity$20,000
This sample balance sheet small business resource gives you a general idea of what yours might look like. The key is getting the assets and liabilities to balance.

Pro Forma Balance Sheet

Just as a balance sheet gives you an idea of the health of your business right now, a pro forma balance sheet can give you an idea of what your finances will look like in the future.Why should you care? If you can project how much money you have in the future, it can help you make important financial decisions, like whether to expand your business, increase your small business marketing budget, or take on a loan.You can create a pro forma invoice for a five-year period rather than the one year you typically look at with a traditional balance sheet.

The Takeaway

Now that you understand how to make a balance sheet for a small business and interpret it, you should have a better handle on your finances.Ready to grow? Making small business loan comparisons with Lantern by SoFi is fast and easy. With just a single application, you’ll receive an offer from a top small business lender, all with no obligation to you.
Photo credit: iStock/kate_sept2004

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Su Guillory is a freelance business writer and expat coach. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.
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