The income statement presents information on the financial results of a company’s business activities over a period of time. The income statement communicates how much revenue and other income the company generated during a period and the expenses it incurred to generate that revenue and other income. Revenue typically refers to amounts charged for the delivery of goods or services in the ordinary activities of a business. Other income includes gains, which may or may not arise in the ordinary activities of the business. Expenses reflect outflows, depletions of assets, and incurrences of liabilities that decrease equity. Expenses typically include such items as cost of sales (cost of goods sold), administrative expenses, and income tax expenses and may be defined to include losses. Net income (revenue plus other income minus expenses) on the income statement is often referred to as the “bottom line” because of its proximity to the bottom of the income statement. Net income may also be referred to as “net earnings,” “net profit,” and “profit or loss.” In the event that expenses exceed revenues and other income, the result is referred to as “net loss.”
Income statements are reported on a consolidated basis, meaning that they include the income and expenses of subsidiary companies under the control of the parent (reporting) company. The income statement is sometimes referred to as a statement of operations or profit and loss (P&L) statement. The basic equation underlying the income statement is Revenue + Other income – Expenses = Income – Expenses = Net income.
In general terms, when one company (the parent) controls another company (the subsidiary), the parent presents its own financial statement information consolidated with that of the subsidiary. (When a parent company owns more than 50 percent of the voting shares of a subsidiary company, it is presumed to control the subsidiary and thus presents consolidated financial statements.) Each line item of the consolidated income statement includes the entire amount from the relevant line item on the subsidiary’s income statement (after removing any intercompany transactions); however, if the parent does not own 100 percent of the subsidiary, it is necessary for the parent to present an allocation of net income to the minority interests. Minority interests, also called non-controlling interests, refer to owners of the remaining shares of the subsidiary that are not owned by the parent. The share of consolidated net income attributable to minority interests is shown at the bottom of the income statement along with the net income attributable to shareholders of the parent company.