balance sheet


Definition of balance sheet 

: a statement of financial condition at a given date

Examples of balance sheet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Between its bailout and 2017, the bank lost £58 billion, paying for fines and massive balance sheet cleanup. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Ex-RBS Chief, a Symbol of British Banking Excess, Retires to Life in Scotland," 7 July 2018 The big payouts make the balance sheet cap imposed by the Fed less painful for the bank’s shareholders. Peter Eavis, New York Times, "Wells Fargo Sailed Through Its Stress Test. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Not So Much.," 29 June 2018 Critics warned that the bond purchases, which eventually swelled the Fed's balance sheet five-fold to $4.5 trillion, could trigger high inflation. Martin Crutsinger, Houston Chronicle, "What Yellen's Fed tenure will be remembered for," 3 Feb. 2018 Critics warned that the bond purchases, which eventually swelled the Fed's balance sheet five-fold to $4.5 trillion, could trigger high inflation. Martin Crutsinger, USA TODAY, "Leadership transition: What Yellen's Fed tenure will be remembered for," 1 Feb. 2018 First, let’s look at the debt side of the balance sheet. Andrew Menachem, miamiherald, "Balancing debt and savings? Look at your finances as if you were CEO of a business," 28 Jan. 2018 The Fed lifted its benchmark rate three times last year -- while also beginning to slowly trim its balance sheet. Christopher Condon,, "Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, Says Inflation Close to Target," 2 May 2018 Critics of the industry say the banks should be lending that money out or retaining it to strengthen their balance sheets. Peter Eavis, New York Times, "What Stress? It's Good to Be a Bank," 22 June 2018 The move aims to simplify Dell’s tangled corporate structure without weighing on its balance sheet. Bloomberg,, "Dell stock will trade publicly again, five years after leveraged buyout," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'balance sheet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of balance sheet

circa 1771, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for balance sheet

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for balance sheet

The first known use of balance sheet was circa 1771

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More Definitions for balance sheet

balance sheet


Financial Definition of balance sheet

What It Is

The balance sheet is a financial report that lists a company's assets (what it owns), liabilities (what it owes to others), and equity.

How It Works

The first section of the balance sheet gives a detailed list of a company's assets, including long-term assets (such as real estate and machinery), current assets (anything that can easily be converted to cash in less than a year), and cash.

The second section goes over the company's liabilities, or what it owes others. This is always an important section for investors to read because even the most stable of companies will face problems if it has an unusually high amount of debt on its books (especially if it has to pay it back sooner rather than later).

The third section outlines stockholders' equity, and provides information on common and preferred stock, retained earnings, and capital surplus.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: 10 Things You Need to Know About Every Balance Sheet]

Why It Matters

A balance sheet can help both business owners and investors understand the financial health of a company. And because companies generally include the corresponding balance sheet figures from previous quarters, balance sheets can be a useful way for investors to track trends in the way a business pays off its debts, builds its assets, or improves its financial standing.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: Financial Statement Analysis for Beginners -- The Balance Sheet]

Source: Investing Answers

balance sheet


English Language Learners Definition of balance sheet

: a statement that shows the financial condition of a company at a particular time by listing the amount of money and property that the company has and the amount of money it owes

balance sheet

bal·​ance sheet

Legal Definition of balance sheet 

: a statement of financial condition at a given date

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Comments on balance sheet

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