What Is a Comprehensive Income Statement?

K.C. Bruning

A comprehensive income statement shows all gains, minus losses, for a certain period. Overall, it is a statement of financial performance. It will usually have two major sections, one for income and the other for expenditures. A typical statement will be prepared annually.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

In most cases a comprehensive income statement will be presented in a table. These are typically prepared in spreadsheet programs. Often a column down the left side of the document will detail categories and subcategories, while a horizontal field over the top will indicate different time periods. Other kinds of reports may have different entities within the organization across the top of the document.

The level of detail and number of categories on a comprehensive income statement can vary widely, depending upon the size and complexity of the organization. Common income categories include gains for products and services, interest on investments, and miscellaneous income such as tax refunds. Categories commonly found in expenditures include expenses for administration and production, losses on investments, and any write-offs from that period.

A comprehensive income statement can be used to report on a wide array of entities. Most commonly, it is a method of demonstrating the financial performance of a company. In some cases, it could also be used to report performance of a group of companies. This is known as a consolidated comprehensive income statement. The report may also be used to detail the performance of a specific group or department, but this is less common.

In many cases a comprehensive income statement will be accompanied by an analysis of expenses from that period. Typically an organization will choose whether to conduct the analysis based on the nature or function of the expense. The nature of an expense is essentially the name of the item, such as cost of materials or employee benefits. When analyzing the function of an expense, it is put into the general category to which it applies. For example, all expenses related to sales, whatever their type, are put under that category.

The proper format for a comprehensive income statement depends upon a variety of factors, including company procedure and government regulations. While the essential format is generally the same for different organizations and nations, there are often details that must be reported a certain way for particular entities. It is typically advisable to keep apprised of various requirements and potential changes in structure as they affect an organization.

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