Purpose of Financial Statements
The objective of financial statements is to provide information about the financial position, performance and changes in financial position of an enterprise that is useful to a wide range of users in making economic decisions (IASB Framework).
Financial Statements provide useful information to a wide range of users:
Managers require Financial Statements to manage the affairs of the company by assessing its financial performance and position and taking important business decisions.
Shareholders use Financial Statements to assess the risk and return of their investment in the company and take investment decisions based on their analysis.
Prospective Investors need Financial Statements to assess the viability of investing in a company. Investors may predict future dividends based on the profits disclosed in the Financial Statements. Furthermore, risks associated with the investment may be gauged from the Financial Statements. For instance, fluctuating profits indicate higher risk. Therefore, Financial Statements provide a basis for the investment decisions of potential investors.
Financial Institutions (e.g. banks) use Financial Statements to decide whether to grant a loan or credit to a business. Financial institutions assess the financial health of a business to determine the probability of a bad loan. Any decision to lend must be supported by a sufficient asset base and liquidity.
Suppliers need Financial Statements to assess the credit worthiness of a business and ascertain whether to supply goods on credit. Suppliers need to know if they will be repaid. Terms of credit are set according to the assessment of their customers' financial health.
Customers use Financial Statements to assess whether a supplier has the resources to ensure the steady supply of goods in the future. This is especially vital where a customer is dependant on a supplier for a specialized component.
Employees use Financial Statements for assessing the company's profitability and its consequence on their future remuneration and job security.
Competitors compare their performance with rival companies to learn and develop strategies to improve their competitiveness.
General Public may be interested in the effects of a company on the economy, environment and the local community.
Governments require Financial Statements to determine the correctness of tax declared in the tax returns. Government also keeps track of economic progress through analysis of Financial Statements of businesses from different sectors of the economy.