Definition of Interim Financial Statements

Understanding the definition of interim financial statements is important for your business to succeed. An interim financial statement is a summary of your company's financial activities for an accounting period of less than one year. Businesses generally release annual financial statements, but many also opt for reporting financial statements on a more frequent basis.

How often should my company prepare financial statements?
If you want a close look at your businesses, you should consider preparing interim financial statements on a quarterly basis or on a monthly basis. Interim financial statements are used to illustrate a business's financial fitness at the time the statement is prepared. Interim financial statements are generally made up of four reports: the balance sheet, the income statement, the statement of cash flow and the statement of shareholder's equity.

Keep in mind that, if you start preparing these statements, you need to keep preparing them. Missing an interim financial statement might trigger alarm among investors.

How are these financial statements used?
A number of interested parties may be interested in reading financial statements, such as managers, lenders and future investors, in order to evaluate the fiscal health of a business. Because interim financial statements can be analyzed in order to evaluate a business's performance over a number of months and years, the information can be used in number of ways. You can use the information in an interim financial report as a reason to improve the business's performance, such as increasing production, cutting costs or going after a new market. Lenders and investors may use an interim financial statement to figure out whether or not to give money to a business.

How current is the information?
The information used in reporting financial statements applies only to the time period for which they were prepared. However, reading financial statements from another time period may prove to be enlightening. For example, comparing a company's financial statements before and after the holiday shopping season may reveal that a company makes most of its money during that time and may depend too much on the holidays for profit.

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