Hello [newsfield name=”name”],
It’s J. Taiwo Popoola, with your third course in Grow Your Business with Accounting Challenge. Today we are going to talk about users of financial statements or your business stakeholders.
The objective of accounting is to provide information to users for decision-making. But, who exactly are these “users of financial statements”? What information do they need?
Users of financial statement may be classified into internal and external.
Internal users refer to managers who use accounting information in making decisions related to the company’s operations.
External users, on the other hand, are not involved in the operations of the company but hold some financial interest.
The external users may be classified further into users with direct financial interest – owners, investors, creditors; and users with indirect financial interest – government, employees, customers and the others
Here is a quick overview of the users of financial statements:
- Owners and investors
Stockholders of corporations need financial information to help them make decisions on what to do with their investments (shares of stock), i.e. hold, sell, or buy more.
Prospective investors need information to assess the company’s potential for success and profitability. In the same way, small business owners need financial information to determine if the business is profitable and whether to continue, improve or drop it.
In small businesses, management may include the owners. In huge organizations, however, management is usually made up of hired professionals who are entrusted with the responsibility of operating the business or a part of the business. They act as agents of the owners.
The managers, whether owners or hired, regularly face economic decisions – How much supplies will we purchase? Do we have enough cash? How much did we make last year? Did we meet our targets? All those, and many other questions and business decisions, require analysis of accounting information.
Lenders of funds such as banks and other financial institutions are interested in the company’s ability to pay liabilities upon maturity (solvency).
- Trade creditors or suppliers
Like lenders, trade creditors or suppliers are interested in the company’s ability to pay obligations when they become due. They are nonetheless especially interested in the company’s liquidity – its ability to pay short-term obligations.
Governing bodies of the state, especially the tax authorities, are interested in an entity’s financial information for taxation and regulatory purposes. Taxes are computed based on the results of operations and other tax bases. In general, the state would like to know how much the taxpayer makes to determine the tax due thereon.
Employees are interested in the company’s profitability and stability. They are after the ability of the company to pay salaries and provide employee benefits. They may also be interested in its financial position and performance to assess company expansion possibilities and career development opportunities.
When there is a long-term involvement or contract between the company and its customers, the customers become interested in the company’s ability to continue its existence and maintain stability of operations. This need is also heightened in cases where the customers depend upon the entity.
For example, a distributor (reseller), the customer in this case, is dependent upon the manufacturing company from which it purchases the items it resells.
- General Public
Anyone outside the company such as researchers, students, analysts and others are interested in the financial statements of a company for some valid reason.
That’s it for today’s course. In your next course we will be talking about what and how to dig for information from your financial statement to make informed judgement and decisions.
Yours in enhancing your profitability and growth
J. Taiwo Popoola