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

The credit crunch in 2008 triggered a panic when people throughout the financial system wondered whether the numbers on balance sheets meant what they were supposed to mean. John Lanchester, The New Yorker, "The Invention of Money," 29 July 2019 To think this way is to see oneself through a company’s eyes—as a piece of data on a balance sheet. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The short but destructive history of mass layoffs," 12 July 2019 To make sure the good times keep rolling, the Kane household balance sheet has quarterly targets over a five-year horizon. Thomas Heath, Washington Post, "One man wanted financial certainty and fun in retirement. Here is his formula.," 7 June 2019 That's after the total number of renters declined for two straight years as household balance sheets finally improved enough to allow people to buy homes. Lydia Depillis, CNN, "The rent is still too damn high and 2020 candidates finally want to do something about it," 25 June 2019 Yet, the actual decline has been in the reserves of banks held at the HKMA that appear on the HKMA’s balance sheet as liabilities, not as the currency board’s foreign assets. John Greenwood And, WSJ, "Hong Kong’s Economy Is Going Strong," 24 June 2019 To calculate a company's current ratio, go to its balance sheet and divide current assets by current liabilities. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: Skyrocketing Shopify shares, teaching teens about money and this week's trivia," 7 July 2019 That said, the tech company’s balance sheet, combined with government subsidies and other financial sources, could lead to an unprecedented amount of new housing, according to experts. Melia Russell,, "Google wants to build 20,000 homes. It may need more than $14 trillion," 1 July 2019 Victory financed the transaction with a combination of cash and debt on its balance sheet. Patrick Danner,, "Victory Capital completes purchase of USAA’s asset management business," 1 July 2019

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

9 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for balance sheet

The first known use of balance sheet was circa 1771

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with balance sheet

Britannica English: Translation of balance sheet for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about balance sheet

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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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