Updated: Jun 14
Every successful business owner knows how important it is to keep an eye on their business's finances. One indispensable tool for this purpose is the balance sheet. However, if you own a construction company, you might find the term "construction balance sheet" a little intimidating. Let's demystify it!
What is a Construction Balance Sheet?
Imagine a balance sheet as a financial selfie your business takes at a specific moment. It shows you three things: what your business owns (that's the assets), what it has to pay (those are the liabilities), and the equity of the owners. In the fast-paced world of construction, where costs for projects, materials, and people can swing up and down fast, getting the hang of your balance sheet is a big deal.
Along with the income statement and the cash flow statement, it is one of the most important ways to see how well your business is doing. But remember, while the other two track stuff over time, your balance sheet gives you the full picture for a specific date. Pretty important, huh?
The Importance of a Construction Balance Sheet
Construction is a volatile industry. A balance sheet helps you see your company's financial standing. It also tracks changes in your finances. This information is critical for making business decisions. Plus, a strong balance sheet can attract investors and secure financing.
Preparing Your Balance Sheet: The Basics
Preparing your balance sheet may seem complex, but we will break it down into three main components:
Assets: These are valuable resources that your business owns. They include cash, accounts receivable, equipment, and inventory.
Liabilities: These are amounts your company owes to others. They encompass accounts payable, salaries, taxes, and loans.
Equity: This is the owners' stake in the business. It's what's left after subtracting liabilities from assets.
One key balance sheet example to remember is the fundamental accounting equation:
Assets = Liabilities + Equity
This equation must always hold true. If it doesn't, that's a red flag that your numbers are wrong.
Understanding the Classified Balance Sheet
A classified balance sheet provides more detail. It breaks down assets and liabilities into two groups: current and long-term.
Current Assets and Liabilities: Items that will be used or paid within 90 days, like cash or bills to be paid.
Long-term Assets and Liabilities: Things that will be used or paid after 90 days, like equipment or business loans.
And if you're wondering, "Which account does not appear on the balance sheet?" The answer is income and expenses, which appear on the income statement, another crucial financial document.
Download Your CFMA Balance Sheet Template
Balance sheets can be hard to make, especially for people who haven't done it before. The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) offers a helpful template for construction businesses. It's a great starting point for your balance sheet.
Download the CFMA balance sheet template today, on pages 2 and 3.
If you need help, you can talk to one of our bookkeeping pros for free for 15 minutes.
How to Read a Balance Sheet to Make Smart Business Decisions
So, you've prepared a balance sheet using the CFMA template. Now what? It's time to decode the story your balance sheet tells about your business. Here's a list of engaging questions to help you interpret the numbers:
1. How's the Debt Situation?
Check the debt-to-equity ratio. If it's high, it might mean your construction business is heavily reliant on borrowed money. Is it time to pay down some loans?
2. Are Clients Paying on Time?
Review your accounts receivable. Are your clients settling their bills promptly? If not, perhaps it's time to revisit your payment terms or chase late payments.
3. Is Money Coming In?
Look at your cash assets. Are they growing or shrinking? A steady cash flow is essential to cover the high upfront costs of materials and labor in the construction industry.
4. Are You Holding Too Much Inventory?
Check your inventory turnover. Do you have excess construction materials that are slow to move? It might be time to reevaluate your inventory management.
5. Are Profits Being Put to Work?
Look at retained earnings. Are you reinvesting profits back into the business to fund new projects or equipment? Or are the profits dwindling over time?
Remember, your construction balance sheet is more than numbers on a page. It is a treasure trove of information about your business's financial health. Using it effectively can help you identify trends, spot potential issues, and make proactive decisions to guide your business toward success.
If interpreting a balance sheet feels like decoding a foreign language, CCA is here to help. Our construction bookkeeping services can translate the numbers into actionable insights, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
Running a successful construction business involves more than just great projects. It's about understanding your financial position at all times. This is where balance sheets come in handy. Construction Cost Accounting (CCA) can be useful if all of this feels like too much.
We offer expert construction bookkeeping services. Our professionals can prepare your balance sheet for you, so you can focus on your business. Visit our blog for more insights, and contact us anytime. Remember, your financial health is our top priority!