How to determine the completeness of a financial statement

How to determine the completeness of a financial statement

How to Determine the Completeness of a Financial Statement

A financial statement is a vital element that showcases the financial position and performance of an organization. It is a mandatory requirement that publicly traded organizations must provide to their stakeholders and the general public. Financial statements help organizations make sound financial decisions and enable stakeholders to evaluate the financial well-being and strength of an organization. But how can we determine the completeness of a financial statement? In this article, we will explore different aspects to determine the completeness of a financial statement.

1. The Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is an essential component of a financial statement that shows the assets, liabilities, and equity of a company. To determine the completeness of a balance sheet, you need to ensure that the assets and liabilities are accurately represented. The assets should include all the properties, investments, and receivables of the company. On the other hand, the liabilities should include all the debts and obligations of the company. If all these items are explicitly represented, then the balance sheet is complete.

2. The Income Statement

The income statement shows the revenue, gains, expenses, and losses of a company. To ensure completeness, you need to examine whether all the revenues earned by the company are recorded. If there are any unrecognized revenues, it will result in an incomplete financial statement. Similarly, you need to ensure that all the expenses incurred by the company are recorded, including depreciation, amortization, and interest expenses. If any significant expense is not recorded, it will lead to an incomplete financial statement.

3. Cash Flow Statement

A cash flow statement is crucial to determine the financial viability of a company. It shows the cash inflow and outflow of a company, indicating how much cash a company generated or expended during a specific period. To ensure completeness, you need to ensure that all cash inflows and outflows are represented in the statement accurately. Some significant inflows can include cash from the sale of assets, investment income, or cash from financing activities, such as borrowing money. On the other hand, some significant outflows can include purchase of assets, paying down debt, or dividends paid to shareholders.

4. Notes to Financial Statements

Notes to financial statements provide additional information about the financial statements to the users. To ensure completeness of notes to financial statements, you need to ensure that all significant transactions that took place during the period are included. There should be no discrepancy in the narrative, and the notes should provide an accurate explanation of the financial statement.

5. Account Reconciliations

Account reconciliations are an essential aspect of determining completeness of financial statements. The process involves comparing a company's internal records with external records, such as bank statements. Reconciling accounts can help uncover discrepancies between what the company reports in its internal records and what the bank reports. If account reconciliations are not performed, it could result in an incomplete financial statement.

6. Review of Audit Findings

External auditors conduct audits to ensure that a company's financial statements are accurate, complete, and comply with accounting principles. Reviewing audit findings is another essential component of determining the completeness of financial statements. If external auditors have identified any weaknesses in the financial statement, it could signify that the financial statements are incomplete.


In conclusion, completeness of financial statements is crucial for making informed financial decisions. To ensure completeness, make sure that all financial statements are reviewed thoroughly. Check if the balance sheet shows all assets and liabilities of the company, if the income statement includes all gains and losses, and if the cash flow statement shows all cash inflows and outflows accurately. Also, review notes to financial statements, perform account reconciliations, and review audit findings. These are some of the significant elements to determine the completeness of a financial statement.