How Do I Prepare a Balance Sheet for Business Startup?

Preparing a Startup Balance Sheet
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When you start a business and apply for a startup loan, you may be asked for several specific startup financial statements, including a profit and loss statement, cash flow or sources and uses of funds statement, and a balance sheet. Creating these financial statements may seem pointless because you don't have an ongoing business at this point. What profits? What assets?

The balance sheet is an important document that provides information for a lender, who looks for specific information about the business to use in consideration for a startup loan.

For a business startup without a history, the balance sheet shows the financial position of the business as of the startup date, including what has actually happened at the current stage of startup and what will happen before the date the business starts.

What is a Balance Sheet? 

A balance sheet is a business statement that shows what the business owns, what it owes, and the value of the owner's investment in the business. The balance sheet is calculated at specific points in time, such as at business startup, at the end of each month, quarter, or year, and at the end of the business.

A balance sheet is organized into two sections.The first section lists all of the company's assets. The second sections lists the firm's liabilities and owner's equity. The company's total assets must equal the sum of the total liabilities and total owners equity; that is, the totals must balance. This formula, Assets = Liabilities + Owner's Equity, is called the accounting equation.

 

Steps in Preparing a Business Startup Balance Sheet

All the calculations in this spreadsheet are done as of the date of startup.

First, list the value of all the assets in the business as of the startup date. This includes cash, equipment, and vehicles, supplies, inventory, prepaid items (insurance, for example), the value of any buildings or land owned.

(Usually accounts receivable are included as an asset, but since the business has not started, there should be no amounts owed to the business).

Next, list all liabilities (amounts owed by the business to others), including business credit cards, any loans to the business at startup, any amounts owed to vendors at startup. Add up the total liabilities.

The difference between assets and liabilities is shown on the balance sheet as "Owner's Equity" (for an unincorporated business) or "Retained Earnings" (for a corporation). This amount is your investment in the business.

A Balance Sheet Example: Before and After a Loan

One way to present your balance sheet to a lender is to create two versions to show the financial position of your new business before and after the loan you are requesting. 

The first balance sheet shows that the owner has already invested $13,500 into the business, in the form of cash, prepaid insurance, and furniture and fixtures. 

Simple Startup Balance Sheet: Before the Loan

Assets Amount 
 Cash$3,000
 Inventory$0
 Prepaid Insurance$2,500
 Furniture & Fixtures$8,000
Total Assets$13,500
  
Liabilities & Owner's Equity 
 Current Liabilities$1,000
 Loans & Long-Term Liabilities$0
 Owner's equity$12,500
Total Liabilities & Owner's Equity $13,500

                         

 Simple Startup Balance Sheet: After the Loan

The second balance shows a $50,000 loan, which is being used to buy an inventory of products to sell and to add more furniture and fixtures. 

Assets Amount 
 Cash$3,000
 Inventory$40,000
 Prepaid Insurance$2,500
 Furniture & Fixtures$18,000
Total Assets$63,500
  
Liabilities & Owner's Equity 
 Current Liabilities$1,000
 Loans & Long-Term Liabilities$50,000
 Owner's equity$12,500
Total Liabilities & Owner's Equity $63,500

 

An analysis of this balance sheet shows that the owner has contributed $13,500 in equity (mostly in cash and furniture/fixtures) to the startup of the business. 

Offsetting the assets are the liabilities and owner's equity. The current liabilities of $1,000 might be small debts owed to vendors for some of the office furniture.

The long-term liabilities and loans would more likely be for the inventory and furniture. 

This balance sheet gives the lender q picture of the position of the business as of the startup date. This is a simplified example. Preparing a balance sheet is often complicated, and a CPA can help with this exercise. 

Startup Balance Sheet vs Profit and Loss Statement

A profit and loss statement shows the sales and profit activity in a business over time. That is, what was the income and what were the expenses over that time? A balance sheet, on the other hand, is a snapshot of the business financially at a specific point in time. Since a business is ever-changing, both statements are needed to give a complete picture of the financial status of the business.