Profit and Loss Statement (P&L) : Definition & How to read it?

Trading concepts

Profit & Loss Statement

The profit and loss statements or p and l is a term that refers to the financial statement. To summarize the cost, revenues, and expenses, companies use them. These expenses, costs, and revenues incur during a special period of time. Most of the time, businesses do them in the fiscal year or quarter.

The records of profit and Loss provide information on a company’s ability. Or its inability to generate profit. This information of the company is provided by the records. The statements represent on a cash or accrual basis.

A Brief Introduction about Profit or Loss Statement

The profit and loss statement is the statement that shows the finances of a company. It is one of the three very important financial statements that every public company issues. Companies issue the statement quarterly or annually. Moreover, they also issue the cash flow statement and balance sheet.

When P/L statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheets use together, they provide deep know-how about the financial performance of a company. The statements for each of them prepare by using the cash method of accounting.

You must know that it is really important for comparing the Profit and Loss statements to different periods of accounting. Any slight changes can become meaningful in the future.

How does the Profit and Loss (P/L) Statement work?

Most of you don’t know about the P/L statement. Well, it is one of the three financial statements that every company must issue. The profit and loss statements are some of the most common financial statements.

Just like the cash flow statement, the P/L statement, which is also the income statement, shows changes in accounts. These changes in accounts set over a period of time. Do you know that it is really important to compare the cash flow statement with an income statement?

Explanation of Profit and Loss Statement Document

The document has a general form. There is an entry for revenue at the beginning. It is at the top line. Then it subtracts the cost of business doings. It includes the goods, tax expenses, interest expenses, and operating expenses. The net income is the difference that a company calculates. You can also say it is profit or earning.

When it comes to P/L management, it refers to how companies handle the Profit or Loss statement. Revenue and also cost management handle it most of the time.

Why Calculating of Statements is Necessary?

It is necessary to calculate the income statements from different accounting periods. The main reason behind all this is because if any change occurs in revenues, research, and development (R&D) spending, operating costs, and net earnings occur, it will become more meaningful.

If the organization is nonprofit. Then it tracks the revenue and expenses using the financial report, which is also the statement of activities. Moreover, many people also call this report a statement of financial activities or a statement of support sometimes.

Types of Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement

There are different ways through which the company prepares P&L statements. The types are cash methods and accrual methods. Below is their explanation:

Cash Method

The cash method is also the cash accounting method. It is a method that a company uses when cash goes in and out of business. It is one of the simplest methods that includes the cash received or cash paid.

Every business records the transactions as revenue whenever it receives the cash. You might know that the companies also record liabilities in this whenever you pay the bills. Small companies use this method usually.

Accrual Method

In the accrual method, the company records the revenue while earning. It means that any business that uses the accrual method accounts for money it expects that it will receive in the future. Let’s take an example. If the company delivers any service or product to its customer, it will record the revenue using the profit and loss statement.

These values are recorded even if the payment is not received.

Why Are Profit and Loss Statements Important for Any Business?

The profit and loss statements are one of the three top financial and most important statements that any company makes.

The information on P/L statements is used to assess any company’s profits. Most companies also combine these statements with the other two financial statements.

What Is the Main Difference Between a P&L Statement and a Balance Sheet?

The P and L of any company show the expenditures, income, and profitability for a while. When we talk about the balance sheet. Then a business typically presents on the last day of a company’s fiscal year.

Investors use the balance sheet in understanding the financial strength of any company. It is used to compare the amount. And also the quality of the assets against the liabilities of a company.

Is it Necessary for Every Company to Create a P/L statement?

It varies from company to company. Those companies that trade publically are must require to make a P/L statement. Every company must file the financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These are essential that can be scrutinized by investors, regulators, and also analysts.

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) is a set of guidelines and also rules that each company must comply with and prepare the statements according to them.

When we talk about private companies, they are not required to comply with GAAP. Even there are many small companies that do not make financial statements at all. The reason is that they do not need them at all.

What is Unrealized Profit and Loss?

You might have come through a name of unrealized P/L. What is it, and what is it used for? We will tell you in this section. Unrealized P/L is also called “Floating P/L.”

When a company is trading, there are two main types of P/L. These profits or losses are very important. They are slightly different from each other. Now, we will tell you what are these and how they help in trading?

Unrealized P/L

Those Profits or Losses in the current open positions of the company holds currently active trades are Unrealize P/L. These are equal to those P/L that is “realized” in the case when all the open positions close immediately.

“Floating P/L” is another name of Unrealized P/L. The reason behind this is that the value constantly changes since the positions are open in your trading.

What is main Factor?

The main and most important difference between realized and unrealized profit is indirect. But it can make a lot of difference between any losing trade or profitable trade.

As a trader, you must clearly know the difference between “realized” P/L and also the “unrealized” P/L.

Let’s sum up both realized losses and realized profits.  When we talk about realized profits, these are gains that are covert into cash and add to the account balance.

The losses are convert into cash. And then the company deducts from the account balance. These are Realized losses.


To run any business, you must know the key difference of all financial statements. Profit and Loss play a vital role in making the business grow and know how to manage it.

Russell Crane

Russell Crane

Russell is an Algorithmic & Technical Analyst Trader @ PatternsWizard.
His passion is to share his knowledge about TA, patterns & more. Why hope for your trading to work when you can precisely know the performance stat of every pattern?

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