Comprehensive income

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Comprehensive income includes both net income and other revenue and expense items that are excluded from the net income calculation.

Comprehensive income is the sum of net income and other items that must bypass the income statement because they have not been realized, including items like an unrealized holding gain or loss from available-for-sale securities and foreign currency translation gains or losses. These items are not part of net income, yet are important enough to be included in comprehensive income, giving the user a bigger, more comprehensive picture of the organization as a whole.

The following table is from the Statement of Stockholders' Equity section of the 3M's 2001 annual report.

This section describes the composition of comprehensive income. It begins with net income and then includes those items affecting stockholders' equity that do not flow through the income statement. For 3M, these items include:

  • Cumulative translation adjustment.
  • Minimum pension liability adjustment.
  • Unrealized gains (losses) on available-for-sale investments.
  • Unrealized gains (losses) on derivative investments.

FASB has taken the position that income for a period should be all-inclusive comprehensive income. Comprehensive income may be reported on an income statement or separate statement, but is usually reported on a statement of stockholders' equity.


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