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

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 Sprint had $32 billion of net debt on its balance sheet at the end of March. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "AT&T, Sprint Boost Customer Fees," 29 June 2018 If millions of people carry FedAccounts, the Fed’s balance sheet would grow, as would the earnings, even after factoring in the cost of account maintenance and fraud prevention. David Dayen, The New Republic, "Give Everyone Government Bank Accounts," 13 June 2018 ASM Sports balance sheets and Dawkins’ own expense reports, obtained by Yahoo Sports, revealed thousands of dollars in payments made to current and former college basketball players from programs scattered across the country. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Alarm sounding on college basketball corruption," 1 Mar. 2018 About 3% of foundations reported any notes or loans receivable on their balance sheets, The Wall Street Journal found in an analysis of more than 60,000 fiscal-year 2016 foundation tax returns filed in electronic form. Andrea Fuller, WSJ, "Pistachio Billionaires’ Foundation Lends Millions to Business Associates," 28 June 2018 It is intended to measure the ability of banks to withstand severe economic distress, and the test punishes companies for a heavy reliance on borrowed money and for exposure to assets that are not on their balance sheets. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "Biggest Banks Pass Fed’s Stress Tests," 21 June 2018 By making contributions in employer stock to their retirement plans, companies are obviously trying to conserve the cash on their balance sheets. Robert Pozen, Fortune, "Having Too Much Employer Stock in Your 401(k) Is Dangerous. Just Look at GE," 20 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of balance sheet

circa 1771, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about balance sheet

Share balance sheet

Statistics for balance sheet

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balance sheet

The first known use of balance sheet was circa 1771

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on balance sheet

What made you want to look up balance sheet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!