Which Account does not Appear on the Balance Sheet?

Are you wondering which account does not appear on the balance sheet? Balance sheets are a key financial statement for businesses, providing an overview of their assets, liabilities and equity. While most accounts appear on the balance sheet, there are some that do not.

In this article, we’ll discuss which accounts do not appear on the balance sheet and why it is important to understand them. We’ll also explain examples of non-balance sheet accounts, the advantages, and disadvantages of non-balance sheet accounting as well as tips for managing your non-balance sheet accounts.

What is the Balance Sheet?

The balance sheet is a financial statement that summarizes a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. It is used to measure the financial health of a business and to determine its value.

Assets are items of value owned by a company and can include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, property, and equipment. Liabilities are obligations that a company must fulfill and can include accounts payable, loans, and taxes. Shareholders’ equity is the difference between assets and liabilities and represents the owners’ stake in the business.

Which Accounts Appear on the Balance Sheet?

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) require companies to present information on the balance sheet in a certain format.

The most common accounts appearing on the balance sheet include:

  • Assets: This includes cash, inventory, fixed assets (such as buildings and equipment), investments, accounts receivable and other current assets.
  • Liabilities: These include short-term debt (e.g., loans payable), long-term debt (e.g., bonds payable), accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities.
  • Equity Capital: This includes common stock, retained earnings and other equity accounts such as accumulated other comprehensive income.

In addition to these basic accounts, some companies may include additional accounts such as deferred taxes or employee benefit assets/liabilities. By presenting all this information on one statement, the balance sheet provides a snapshot of a company’s financial position at a given moment in time.

Which Accounts Do Not Appear on the Balance Sheet?

While the balance sheet provides a comprehensive overview of a company’s financial position, not all accounts appear on this statement.

Some types of information, such as certain costs or expenses (e.g., depreciation or amortization), are not required to be included. Additionally, certain non-monetary items (e.g., goodwill and brand names) may also not appear on the balance sheet. Such information is known as off-balance sheet (OBS) assets or non-balance sheet assets or accounts.

The following accounts typically do not appear on the balance sheet –

  • Revenue: Revenue is recognized as it is earned, so it does not appear on the balance sheet until it has been collected in cash.
  • Expenses: Expenses are considered part of net income, and since this information appears after the balance sheet on the income statement, these costs do not appear here.
  • Dividends Paid: Dividends paid to shareholders are deducted from retained earnings and thus do not appear directly on the balance sheet.
  • Equity Securities: Equity investments by a company are reflected as assets but are generally reported under “available-for-sale securities” instead of having their own separate line item.

Because the balance sheet only reflects data at a specific moment in time, some accounts may temporarily disappear until they are updated with more recent data. For example, accounts receivable may be omitted if they have yet to be recorded for that period.

Examples of Non-Balance Sheet Accounts

Off-balance-sheet or non-balance sheet financing can be an attractive alternative for businesses that wish to avoid the onus of a large loan and the subsequent increase in their debt-to-equity ratio.

In such cases, leasing assets is the favored option as it allows companies to pay for the equipment without needing to display assets or liabilities on their balance sheets. This ensures that the investors remain unaffected and thus, their trust and confidence in the company is maintained.

Additionally, these rental payments will appear on the income statement allowing businesses to effectively keep track on cash flow and forecasting.

Off-balance-sheet financing can thus be an effective method of getting access to needed resources without risking investor trust.

Besides it, loan commitments, letters of credit, and revolving underwriting facilities are some other examples of off-balance sheet items.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Non-Balance Sheet Accounting

Non-balance sheet accounting can be beneficial for businesses, as it provides flexibility in reporting and allows for the exclusion of certain sensitive information.

Additionally, it enables companies to more accurately report items such as long-term investments or value-based costs.

However, non-balance sheet accounting also has its drawbacks. It can make it harder for investors or other stakeholders to gain a complete understanding of a company’s financial position as certain accounts may not appear on the balance sheet. This type of accounting can lend itself to misreporting or manipulation if done improperly.

As such, it is important that non-balance sheet accounts are properly monitored and reported.

Tips for Managing Your Non-Balance Sheet Accounts

Here are some tips for managing your non-balance sheet accounts:

  1. Always ensure accuracy and monitor any changes to the accounts regularly.
  2. Pay attention to trends in each account to determine if there are any potential issues or discrepancies.
  3. Review your non-balance sheet accounts alongside your balance sheet accounts for a more complete picture of your financial position.
  4. Consider engaging an accountant or other professional to ensure accuracy and compliance with accounting regulations.
  5. Utilize technology solutions such as software programs that can automate processes related to non-balance sheet accounting, making it easier to stay up-to-date on changes in your accounts.

FAQs Related to Non-Balance Sheet Accounts

1. What is the Off Balance Sheet Risk?

Off balance sheet risk refers to the potential financial losses a company may incur due to obligations that don’t appear on its balance sheet, such as debts, lease agreements, and loan guarantees. Off balance sheet risks can take many forms and can be more difficult to identify than traditional balance sheet liabilities. Companies must factor in these risks when assessing their overall financial position.

2. Is Off Balance Sheet Financing Legal?

Yes, off balance sheet financing is legal. This type of financing involves businesses seeking alternative methods of borrowing money and raising capital outside of the traditional balance sheet format. Off balance sheet financing can be an effective way for companies to raise capital without being overburdened by debt or needing additional equity investments. However, it is important to ensure that any off-balance-sheet transactions are conducted in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Wrapping it up…

In conclusion, non-balance sheet accounts can be beneficial for businesses as they provide flexibility in reporting and allow for the exclusion of certain sensitive information.

However, it is important to ensure that these accounts are properly monitored and reported so that investors or other stakeholders have a complete understanding of a company’s financial position. With proper management, companies can make use of off balance sheet financing without risking investor trust or running afoul of applicable laws and regulations.

Martin Miller


Martin Miller is a dedicated retirement expert with over 12+ years of experience in helping individuals achieve their retirement goals. Martin has extensive knowledge and expertise in retirement planning, investment management, and wealth preservation strategies. Keep reading his blog Save10 which can be considered as an encyclopedia for retirees or who are planning their retirement goals.