How profitable is a firm? What did it earn on the assets that it invested in? These are the fundamental questions we would like financial statements to answer. Accountants use the income statement to provide information about a firm's operating activities over a specific time period. In terms of our description of the firm, the income statement is designed to measure the earnings from assets in place. In this section, we will examine the principles underlying earnings and return measurement in accounting, and the methods that they are put into practice.
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