Opening the Cornucopia of Reports

In This Chapter

^ Reviewing the importance of financial reports ^ Exploring the different types of financial reporting ^ Discovering the key financial statements r rn**inancial reports give a snapshot of a company's value at the end of a particular period, as well as a view of the company's operations and whether it made a profit. The business world couldn't function without financial reports. Yes, fewer scandals would be exposed because companies wouldn't be tempted to paint false but pretty financial pictures, but you'd still need a way to gauge a firm's financial health.

At this point in time, nothing's available that can possibly replace financial reports. Nothing can be substituted that'd give investors, financial institutions, and government agencies the information they need to make decisions about a company. And without financial reports, the folks who work for a company wouldn't know how to make it more efficient and profitable because they wouldn't have a summary of its financial activities during previous business periods. These financial summaries help companies look at their successes and failures and help them make plans for future improvements.

This chapter introduces you to the many facets of financial reports and how internal and external players use them to evaluate a company's financial health.

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