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written by | August 2, 2022

Limitations of Financial Statements, Features and Importance

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Table of Content


Before placing an undue amount of reliance on accounting records, users must be aware of their limits. Knowing these characteristics might lead one to spend less money on a company or investigate them further. Below are some of the limitations of financial statements.

Did you know? You may see from financial statements what resources are available and how they were financed as of a particular date. Also, learn how assets, liabilities, and owner equity are displayed (essentially, what it owes, owns, and the amount invested by shareholders).

What Are the Limitations of Financial Statements?

Although financial statements are tremendously helpful to a business, there are nonetheless many limitations of the financial statements

Also read: Know the Basics of Managerial Accounting

  • Financial Statements Are Derived from Historical Costs

The company records the worth of a business initially. While looking at the balance sheet, in which the valuations of the assets and debts may alter over the period, it is an issue. Other elements, like fixed assets, remain the same while certain things, like capital assets, fluctuate to reflect changes in actual market prices. Therefore, if a significant portion of the sum shown is dependent on prior prices, the balance sheet may be deceptive.

  • Financial Statements Are Not Adjusted for Inflation

The quantities linked to withholdings and net debt will seem excessively low if the annual inflation is exceptionally high because of not considering inflation. The majority of long-term investments fall under this.

  • Financial Statements Do Not Contain Some Intangible Assets

Another disadvantage of financial statements is that intangible assets are frequently not counted as property. Any costs incurred to produce intangible resources, however, they charge directly into expenditure. This strategy can grossly undervalue a company, particularly one that has invested heavily in creating a strong brand identity or developing new goods. Startup businesses that have developed intellectual property but who have been making a small number of sales thus far are particularly affected.

  • Financial Statements Only Cover a Specific Period

A limitation of a financial statement is that by focusing just on a single financial quarter, a viewer of accounting records may obtain an inaccurate impression of a company's financial performance or working capital. Either one quarter may deviate from a company's typical operational results, whether as a consequence of a sharp increase in sales or the impacts of periodicity. To get a better understanding of current performance, it is preferable to study a lot of successive financial statements.

  • Financial Statements May Not Be Comparable

Since organisations have multiple accounting processes, financial statements from various firms may not always be equivalent if a person wants to analyse their performance. Reviewing the disclaimers that go along with the financial statements will help you find these problems.

  • Financial Statements Could be Wrong Due to Fraud

In this limitation of financial statement analysis, we can find that the management may manipulate a company’s financial results. This problem may arise when there is excessive pressure to produce successful outcomes in situations when a bonus plan stipulates that the employees will be getting rewards only when the sales levels rise. Whenever the latest numbers jump to the point that is over the industry average or significantly above a firm's previous line graph of published results, one can question the existence of this problem.

Also read: What is Accounting Cycle: Definition and Steps in the Accounting Cycle Process.

  • Financial Statements Do Not Cover Non-Financial Issues

The environmental consciousness of a firm’s activities or how everything collaborates with the local area is an example of non-financial aspects that the company does not cover in the financial statements. Even a company with stellar financial success could struggle in all those other aspects.

  • Financial Statements May Not Have Been Verified

There might be cases where no one audits the financial statements and checks the bank's accounting rules, procedures, and safeguards to ensure that the company's financial statements are correct. The financial statements accompanying the auditor's report prove such scrutiny.

  • Financial Statements Have No Predictive Value

A collection of financial statements contains information that one can use to learn about the past performance or the current financial health of an organisation. A team's predictions using the statements may or may not be useful in foretelling the future. For instance, a company may declare substantial earnings one month but have almost zero sales the following month since a deal upon which it was dependent has expired.

The factors listed above are all the limitations of financial statements, which each company and individual must be aware of.

The Features of Financial Statements

  • They must be suitable for the target users. Avoid superfluous or misleading information, and ensure the audience knows all pertinent and important disclosures.
  • They should provide complete and accurate details about a company's performance, status, development and aspirations. It is also crucial that people who create and display the financial figures prevent misrepresenting the facts because of their own biases. 
  • They have to be comparable to earlier assertions or those who create issues or industries similar to yours. The usefulness of financial statements is increased through comparability.
  • They must provide a classified format to enable more accurate and insightful analysis.
  • The team has to prepare the financial statements within the schedule. The importance and usefulness of these comments diminish when the team prepares them with excessive lag time.
  • They have to be generally acceptable and understandable. They accomplished this only by using specific "generally accepted accounting principles" throughout their compilation.
  • They should not be affected by the accountant's professional judgement and decision-making.

The Importance of Financial Statements

Let us read the importance of financial statements in different contexts:

To Management 

The importance of financial statements in addressing the diverse interests of various parties, including administration, lenders, the general public, etc., is what gives them significance. Modern commercial enterprise management needs a practical and analytical strategy due to the growth in size and complexity of the variables that determine operations. The organisation also needs current, precise, and organised financial data for the objectives. Financial statements help the management in understanding the status, development, and future growth of the firm. The management can create policy recommendations and action plans if given the reasons for organisational outcomes. The management only informs some groups of its performance and justifies its actions and its survival.

Also read: What is an Accounting Voucher? Know Meaning and Types of Accounting Vouchers.

To the Shareholders

In the context of businesses, ownership and management are distinct. Shareholders cannot directly participate in daily corporate operations. The company has to use the financial statements to display the data of these efforts to investors at the yearly board meeting. These disclosures give shareholders information on the management's performance and quality, the company's income ability and financial stability. The potential shareholders could determine whether to further invest in the company by evaluating the financial statements to determine the firm's ability to make a profit, its current status and its future opportunities.

To Lenders/Creditors

The financial statements act as a valuable guideline for a firm's potential and current and future vendors. These parties can learn about a firm's cash, competitiveness, and long-term health status by critically analysing its financial statements. They could use this information to determine their plan of action moving forward.

To Employees

Employees are eligible for bonuses depending on the amount of revenue shown by an auditor's profit and loss statement. P & L accounts become quite significant to the employees as a result. The number of revenues and competitiveness realised are also quite important in pay negotiations.

To the Public

The world of business is sociable. Despite not having a direct connection to the business, many societal groups are curious about a company's state, direction and future. They include financial experts, attorneys, trade groups, labour unions, and financial media. Only by using these publicly available financial accounts can anyone evaluate, assess and make remarks on company enterprises.

To the National Economy

The rise and expansion of the business sector significantly affect a nation's economic development. Untrustworthy and dishonest corporation managements undermine the citizens' faith in joint-stock businesses, which is crucial for socio-economic development, and impede the nation's economic development. Financial statements help the public by giving them information that they can use to investigate and evaluate the firm's true value and prevent being taken advantage of by dishonest people.

Also read: Know the Basics of Managerial Accounting

Conclusion

Financial statements vary in how they highlight various aspects of financial success. Stakeholders and creditors assess a firm's financial position using the financial details available in its annual report. Financial reports are crucial for business managers. These statements allow managers to share the organisation’s progress with relevant parties by releasing financial figures. Even though this statement is useful in all types of businesses, you will find many limitations of financial statements, which each company must keep in mind.
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FAQs

Q: Mention two advantages of financial statements?

Ans:

  • Bridging the gap in management
  • Availing credit from lenders

Q: Define the limitation of financial statements?

Ans:

The limitations of financial statements include issues with information theft during recording, reliance on previous expenses, absence of comparison and non-inflation adjustment that experts cannot ignore.

Q: Mention a few disadvantages of financial statements?

Ans:

  • No predictive value
  • May not be comparable
  • Do not contain some intangible assets

Q: What is a financial statement?

Ans:

Financial statements are documents that describe a firm's operations and financial status.

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The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.
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Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.