Small Business Owner's Primer- Understanding the Balance Sheet

small business balance sheet

Demystifying the balance sheet and its components.


The balance sheet is a crucial tool in your company’s financial management. By looking at your balance sheet, you are able to see a snapshot of your company’s finances at a single point in time.

The balance sheet highlights:

  • What you own (assets)
  • What you owe (liabilities)
  • Your net worth (assets minus liabilities)
  • The simple formula is: Assets minus Liabilities equals Owner’s Equity or Net Worth.

Assets include:

  • Current or short-term assets – These include those assets that will be used up or changed into cash within a year. In this category, you can include assets such as cash, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses and inventory.
  • Fixed assets – These include assets for long-term use. In this category, you can include assets such as buildings and equipment.

Liabilities include:

1.  Debt (money owed to others)

a) Current or short-term debt (such as lines of credit) is expected to be paid off within a year.

b) Long-term debt (such as mortgages or loans) will take more than one year to pay off.

2.  Owner’s equity or net worth (the proportion of asset value that represents money invested by the business owner/s).

Next- 5 common financial ratios small business owners need to know


About the author

Marjorie Weber

Marjorie Weber has been educating entrepreneurs and guiding them in their search for capital for the past 16 years: combining business training programs with one-on-one mentoring. Marj is currently the executive director of Primed2Grow, a Miami based consultantcy. Most recently Maj was a financial advisor for Florida SBDC at FIU. She was Chair of SCORE Miami Dade from 2010 to 2014. She also serves as an advisor to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and the SBA Emerging Leaders Program and provides training for Veterans seeking an entrepreneurial path upon retirement from the service. She has  facilitated workshops under the auspices of Miami Bayside Foundation, Little Haiti Cultural Center and .local banks. She commenced her career as a real estate investment banker in New York and Miami..She uses these long term relationships to assist her clients in accessing capital. She knows both the process and the people and has assisted in providing financing for hundreds of businesses in Miami Dade.