Multi-Step Income Statement Financial Accounting

operating expenses
key differences

Multi-step income statement format is any day better than a single-step statement as it provides proper detailing. The company’s management might shift the expenses from the cost of goods sold to the operations to improve their margins artificially. It is very significant to view the comparative financial statements over time so that one can see and judge the trends and then possibly catch the misleading placement of the expenditures. A multi-step income statement reports much of the same information as a single-step income statement, such as a business’s revenue, expenses, and profits.

calculate gross profit

Comparing this to previous periods and industry standards helps you determine how well your business is generating profit on sales. An income statement, also called an earnings report or a profit-and-loss statement, shows a company’s fiscal operations during a specified time period. These income statements, typically produced quarterly or annually, display the company’s revenues, expenses and the difference between the two. Companies with specific business structures, such as corporations, must produce a multiple-step income statement, while other companies have the option of presenting a single-step income statement.

What is the difference between a single step and a multi-step income statement?

Investors and financial analysts often use the data from multiple-step income statements to determine a company’s overall health, such as its gross margin and profit margin. The multi-step income statement details the gains or losses of a business, in a specific reporting period. It offers an in-depth analysis of a business’s financial performance. Its format separates a company’s operating revenue and operating expenses from its non-operating revenue and non-operating expenses. A multi-step income statement is an income statement that segregates total revenue and expenses into operating and non-operating heads.

Add your revenues and expenses from non-operating activities, including interest and the sale or purchase of investments. The header of your multi-step income statement conveys important information to readers. It states the name of your company, it identifies the document as an income statement and it defines the reporting period covered by the document. Gross profit is the result of subtracting the cost of providing the company’s goods or services (i.e., cost of goods sold) from the revenues earned by selling these goods or services.

Gross Profit Calculation

Net Sales are the revenues generated by the major activities of the business—usually the sale of products or services or both less any sales discounts and sales returns and allowances. Once the non-operating section is totaled, it is subtracted from or added to the income from operations to compute the net income for the period. To calculate the gross profit, subtract the cost of goods sold from the net sales. Add the final number as a line item under the cost of goods sold and title it Gross Profit. Any Extraordinary ItemsExtraordinary Items refer to those events which are considered to be unusual by the company as they are infrequent in nature.


Multi-step income statements are one of the two income statement formats businesses can use to report their profits. A multi-step income statement reports a company’s revenues, expenses and overall profit or loss for a specific reporting period. It is a more detailed alternative to the single-step income statement and uses multiple equations to calculate a business’s net income. As a small business, you have two options for preparing an income statement — a single-step income statement or a multi-step income statement. Both types of income statements will show the profits, expenses, and revenues of your business for a given reporting period. A multi-step income statement is an important financial statement that provides detailed information about a company’s financial performance.

To prepare a multi-step income statement, you must first calculate the gross profit by subtracting the cost of goods sold from the revenue. You must then calculate the operating income by subtracting all the expenses from the gross profit. The final figure is the net income, which is calculated by subtracting all non-operating items from the operating income. While the multiple-step income statement provides some extensive information on the company’s operations, the processes involved in producing details in these statements can be complex and time-consuming. Accountants must specify categories for each type of revenue and expense, then record each transaction and place the proper amounts in each category. If a transaction is entered into an improper category, the mistake could affect how the income statement displays its results.

Single-Step vs Multi-Step Income Statement

Each type of income statement presents both advantages and disadvantages. The non-operating and other section lists all business revenues and expenses that don’t relate to the business’ principle activities. For example, our retailer isn’t in the business of receiving insurance proceeds. If a tree hit the building and the insurance company paid out a small settlement, the income would not be reported with total sales. It would be reported in the non-operating and other section because it doesn’t have anything to do with sales. Another consequence of the detail and length of the multi-step income statement is an increased likelihood of confusion in its interpretation.

If you’re as meticulous an investor as you are student of income statements, head on over to our broker centerto find the best-matched broker for your needs. Notice where the three calculations mentioned take place from top to bottom. Here’s the difference between the two main types of income statements companies use. Now to check them, all expenditures and incomes cannot be clubbed together but are to be listed separately into some proper heads, which are meaningful and easy to understand. Understand a multi-step income statement by comparing a single-step vs multi-step income statement. Learn how to prepare a multi-step income statement with examples.

  • Non-operating head covers revenues and expenses that are not directly related to the primary business activities.
  • Advance PaymentAdvance payment is made by a buyer to the seller before the actual scheduled time of receiving the goods and services.
  • It is very significant to view the comparative financial statements over time so that one can see and judge the trends and then possibly catch the misleading placement of the expenditures.
  • Here, operating expenses and operating revenues are separated from non-operating and non-operating revenues and separately in different steps.
  • The main purpose of preparing a multi-step income statement is to provide insights into a company’s overall financial performance.
  • Non-operating items are those revenues and expenses that do not pertain to the company’s normal operations such as dividend income, interest income and expense, and income tax expense.

The sum of non-operating incomes and expenses is called a ‘non-operating item’. Being able to break the income statement up into segments provides more insight into what is going on with the company and is a core attribute of the multi-step income statement. The income statement for a merchandiser is expanded to include groupings and subheadings necessary to make it easier for investors to read and understand. We will look at the income statement only as the other statements have been discussed previously.

Types of Businesses that Use a Multi-Step Income Statement

Multi-step income statements, on the other hand, use multiple equations to calculate net income. In doing so, they also calculate gross profit and operating income, which aren’t included on a single-step income statement. In comparison, a single-step income statement gives a simple record of financial activity. On the other hand, some investors may find single-step income statements to be too thin on information.

A single-step income statement offers a simple report of a business’s profit, using a single equation to calculate net income. A multi-step income statement, on the other hand, separates operational revenues and expenses from non-operational ones and follows a three-step process to calculate net income. Income statements, also called profit and loss statements, are one of the major financial statements prepared by businesses. Additionally, the multi-step income statement segregates operating and non-operating income.

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First, add your operating revenues, which is the sales revenue generated from selling your goods or services. Both selling and administrative expenses are added together for computing total operating expenses. And the Company’s Operating income is calculated by deducting these total operating expenses from the gross profit in the first section. Non-operating revenues and expenses are then added to or subtracted operating income in order to calculate income before taxes. Non-operating items are those revenues and expenses that do not pertain to the company’s normal operations such as dividend income, interest income and expense, and income tax expense. Operating income is the profit that results from normal business operations.

The gross margin computes the amount of money the company profits from the sales of its merchandise. This is simply the cash flow in from the sales of merchandise and the cash flow out from the purchase of that merchandise. This section not only helps measure the profitability of the core business activities, it also helps measure the health of the business. Simpler business structures, such as sole proprietorships and partnerships, have the option of using either the single-step or the multi-step format. An income statement is an essential financial document that reports a business’s profits, revenue, and expenses over a period of time.

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The selling and administration expenses from operating activities are captured in the second section of a multi-step income statement. The selling expenses are the costs incurred when selling goods to consumers and may include marketing expenses, the salary of sales personnel, and freight charges. Many private companies elect to follow GAAP, even though they aren’t legally obligated to do so. In any case, GAAP gives companies the option of issuing either single-step or multiple-step income statements, depending on how they’re structured.

The gross profit relates to the core activity of a business and shows how profitable is a company in manufacturing its product. Gross profit is a simple way of studying a business model for a company. Potential investors and creditors may ask for such statements to get a detailed insight into the gross profit and operating income. This includes revenues and expenses from non-operating activities, including interest and the sale or purchase of investments. Operating expenses for a merchandising company are those expenses, other than COGS, incurred in the normal business functions of a company.

However, because of the useful metrics they contain, most voided checkes – especially those with investors – choose to use multiple-step income statements. Another useful income figure calculated by the multi-step format is operating income. A business’s operating income is calculated by subtracting its operating expenses from its gross profit. The top section of your multi-step income statement covers your total operating activities.

The Differences Between Gross Profit & Margin

These income statements are helpful for assessing the health and growth of a company and are normally reported with other metrics such as a company’s balance sheet and cash flow statement. One of the top three financial statements, the income statement measures company performance. Also known as a profit and loss statement, the income statement provides an overview of revenues and expenses incurred during a specific period of time.

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Gross margin or gross profit is the net sales COGS and represents the amount we charge customers above what we paid for the items. Finally, by adding or subtracting the total of the company’s non-operating items, we can arrive at the net income, which represents the actual amount of money a company made during the time period. The one you’ll use will depend on the financial decision you need to make, because a cash flow statement provides you with a different set of information from the information presented in an income statement.

Operating revenues and expenses are also known as indirect costs or generalized expenses that go toward a company’s general infrastructure. Examples of operating costs are salaries, marketing, research, legal fees, and rent. If you’re a sole proprietor or independent contractor, you can certainly get by using a single-step income statement.

It focuses on net income, so it is especially helpful if you need to make an assessment that is based on your business’s bottom line. Multiple-step income statements are used by most publicly-traded companies. Single-step statements offer a basic look at a company’s revenue and expenses, making record-keeping easier for accountants and investors. The key difference between a single and multi-step income statement is that a single-step statement uses only one step to calculate the net income, whereas a multi-step statement uses numerous steps. A single-step income statement shows only net income, whereas a multi-step income statement also shows a gross profit. For an expense or income to be called a non-operating activity, it should be an extraordinary item that is not part of the company’s operations.

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