10 Reasons Why Profit And Loss Account Is Important To Your Business


I have, on several occasions, met many business owners some of who asked me “what is profit and loss account”?

Yet another curious person asked me “what is the importance of profit and loss account”?

A good number of business owners get terribly frightened at the mention of word “loss”.

To answer their questions, I usually tell them that the statement is one of the three important parts of annual financial statements that every business is expected to prepare yearly.

However, you can prepare profit and loss account for shorter period of time, depending on the needs of your business.

It will show whether your business made profits or losses at the end of the year.

This article is, therefore, focusing on the structure and importance of profit and loss account and how the contents can help you in decision making.

Profit and loss account: Total income 

The profit and loss account typically begins with the gross profits  brought down from the trading account section of the financial statements. 

It can be prepared be prepared every three, six or 12 months, depending on the needs of your business.

In the statement, incomes from all sources are added to the gross profits to give you total income.

Examples of the items you can find in it include, among others:

  • Interests received
  • Dividends received
  • Rents received
  • Profits from sale of fixed assets
  • and lots more

Please always bear in mind that the items you can find in many profit and loss accounts may vary from industry to industry.

Therefore, you can follow the practice in the industry you belong to.

General Expenses

The general expenses comprise all the actual costs of running the business during the year.

Examples of such expenses include, among others:

  • Salaries and wages
  • Transport and traveling expenses
  • Rents
  • Printing and stationery
  • Transport and traveling expenses
  • Entertainment
  • And lots more.

At the end of the year, the total of general expenses must be deducted from the income for the year.

Profit and loss account: Special Notes On Depreciation

In all profit and loss accounts, you will find an item called ‘depreciation of fixed assets’.

It represents the estimated costs or the amount you would have paid if you were to hire  the equipment during the year.

That explains why it is written off to the profit and loss account at the end of the year.

Remember that  depreciation does not involve cash outflow.

The Importance of profit and loss account

Firstly, one of the most important advantages of profit and loss account is that it can show the performance of your business during the year.

Secondly, it can throw up some interesting stats that will help you in decision making.

Most importantly, it can reveal the results of your business activities during the accounting period.

Profit And Loss Account: Control expenses

The profit and loss account can help you to identify operating expenses that are sucking your profits.

In particular, you will be able to know:

  • The expense items that can be eliminated:
  • Those that can be closely monitored and controlled
  • Retained because the business needs them to run smoothly

Thus, the profit and loss statement is the best place for you to weed out expenses that are not adding value to your business.

Enables you to make comparisons

In the first place, the Profit and loss account can provide you with info that will enable you to:

  • Compare this year’s performance with that of the previous year(s).
  • Compare the trading results with similar businesses in your industry
  • To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your business and financial management skills.
  • Make better plans that can make your business more competitive fast track growth.

Secondly, an In depth analysis of the profit and loss account can even help you to verify whether you are in the right business.

Calculate ratios

In particular, the statement will provide you with stats that will enable you to calculate important ratios.

An example of such ratios include:

  • gross profit to sales
  • Earning per share
  • Dividend yield.

Most importantly, investors and lenders can use them when it is time for them to decide whether or not to do business with you.

Helps you to make better decisions

The profit and loss account can contain useful data that can  help you to make better decisions for your business.

For example, it can enable you to consider:

  • Whether to diversify into other businesses or stay where you are
  • How to be more competitive in your industry 

Keeps employees and shareholders informed

Firstly, your employees might want to know:

  • How well the business they work in has performed
  • Whether or not the strategies they adopted during the period has yielded the desired results.

Similarly, shareholders will want to know:

  • How well or badly you have managed their investments in your business
  • Whether or not to stay with you
  • Or move their investments to where they will get better returns.

Earning capacity of your business

It is an important document that  investing public and lenders will certainly want to look at.

This is because investors will want to look at the earning capacity of your business before they can invest in your business

Similarly, financial institutions will like to evaluate the performance of your business before considering whether to fund your business or not.

More importantly, the statement the most  important financial statement that you must prepare for your business.

It is will show you the way to go: the path to profitability and growth.

Related: 13 Basic Accounting Records You Need To Keep For Your Small Business


By Samuel Ijenhi

B. Sc. Accounting [University of Benin]

Benin City, Nigeria.

Founder: Ijenhi Business Solutions


About Samuel Ijenhi

A graduate in Accounting, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
View all posts by Samuel Ijenhi →

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