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Understanding Financial Statements in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

29 September 2023

Editor: Enda Tarigan

Mastering the art of interpreting financial statements

In the dynamic and thriving business landscape of Singapore, financial statements play a pivotal role in assessing a company's health, growth prospects, and financial stability. For both investors and business owners, a firm grasp of financial statements is crucial for making informed decisions and ensuring long-term success. In this article, we will delve deep into the intricacies of financial statements, with a focus on the key components: the balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and statement of changes in shareholder equity.

Introduction to Financial Statements

Financial statements are comprehensive reports that provide an overview of a company's financial performance and position over a specific period, typically annually or quarterly. They are essential tools for assessing the company's profitability, liquidity, and solvency. In Singapore, financial statements are prepared in accordance with the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (SFRS) and must comply with the guidelines of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

1. Balance Sheet

Definition: The balance sheet, also known as the statement of financial position, provides a snapshot of a company's financial condition at a specific point in time. It consists of three main sections: assets, liabilities, and shareholders' equity.

  • Assets: This section lists the company's resources, both current and non-current, such as cash, inventory, property, and investments. In Singapore, businesses are encouraged to classify assets based on their liquidity, ensuring compliance with SFRS.

  • Liabilities: Liabilities encompass the company's obligations, including loans, accounts payable, and accrued expenses. They are categorized into current and non-current liabilities based on their maturity.

  • Shareholders' Equity: Shareholders' equity represents the residual interest in the assets after deducting liabilities. It includes common stock, retained earnings, and additional paid-in capital.

2. Income Statement

Definition: The income statement, also known as the profit and loss statement, summarizes a company's revenues, expenses, gains, and losses over a specific period. It provides insights into the company's profitability.

  • Revenues: Revenues represent the total income generated from the company's primary operations, such as sales of goods or services.

  • Expenses: Expenses encompass all costs associated with generating revenue, including operating expenses, interest, and taxes.

  • Gains and Losses: Gains and losses are non-operating items that can include income from investments or losses from asset sales.

3. Cash Flow Statement

Definition: The cash flow statement reports a company's cash inflows and outflows during a specific period. It is divided into three categories: operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities.

  • Operating Activities: This section details cash flows from the company's primary operations, such as cash received from customers and payments to suppliers.

  • Investing Activities: Investing activities include cash flows from buying and selling assets, like property or investments.

  • Financing Activities: Financing activities involve cash flows related to the company's capital structure, including loans, equity issuance, and dividends.

4. Statement of Changes in Shareholder Equity

Definition: The statement of changes in shareholder equity tracks changes in the equity section of the balance sheet over a specific period. It includes items like net income, dividends, and additional capital investments by shareholders.


In Singapore's competitive business environment, understanding financial statements is essential for making informed investment decisions and managing a successful business. The balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and statement of changes in shareholder equity are indispensable tools that provide valuable insights into a company's financial health.

To ensure accurate financial reporting and compliance with Singaporean regulations, businesses often enlist the services of certified accountants or financial experts. By mastering the art of interpreting financial statements, stakeholders can navigate the intricate world of finance with confidence, contributing to the growth and prosperity of businesses in Singapore and beyond.


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