Definition of Balance Sheet

What is a Balance Sheet?

A balance sheet is a financial statement that shows the financial health of a business at a specific point in time. It provides a snapshot of a company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity, and helps investors and stakeholders understand the overall financial position of the business.


The concept of a balance sheet originated centuries ago with Italian mathematician and Franciscan monk Luca Pacioli. He introduced the famous double-entry bookkeeping system in the late 15th century, where every financial transaction is recorded in at least two separate accounts to maintain the balance between assets and liabilities.

Everyday Life

While balance sheets are most commonly used by businesses, the principles of balancing assets and liabilities can be found in everyday life as well. For example, if you make a budget for your allowance, you may track your expenses by dividing them into various categories like buying toys, saving money, or giving it to charity. Your budget sheet will help you monitor and balance your income and expenses, just like a balance sheet does for businesses.


A balance sheet is also known by alternative names such as Statement of Financial Position or Statement of Net Worth. These terms all refer to the same financial statement.


A balance sheet can be compared to a personal health check-up. Just like a doctor examines your physical health by analyzing different aspects like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and organ function, a balance sheet evaluates the financial health of a business. It helps determine if a company has enough assets to cover its debts and obligations.


In conclusion, a balance sheet is a financial statement that shows a snapshot of a company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity at a specific point in time. It originated from the double-entry bookkeeping system and is used to understand the financial position of a business. By balancing assets and liabilities, it helps investors, stakeholders, and even individuals maintain a healthy financial state. Understanding the balance sheet is essential for making informed financial decisions and evaluating the overall financial health of a company.