Income Statement vs
Profit and Loss Account
Q: What is the difference between the income statement and the profit and loss account?
A: The income statement is a statement (a report) and forms part of the financial statements.
The profit and loss account ("account" not "statement") is a T-account - a special kind of T-account with a special role. The balance of the profit and loss account represents the net profit or loss for the year - the same figure we show as the net profit or loss in the income statement. This balance is then transferred to the owners equity accounts, as profits (or losses) belong to the owner.
For a business that sells products, the net profit or loss in the profit and loss T-account (the balance of the account) is calculated by transferring the gross profit from another account called the trading account and then transferring all other business expenses into this profit or loss account too. This then gives a balance which is the net profit or loss for the year. See the lessons on inventory on accounting for businesses that sell products (inventory).
The profit and loss statement ("statement" not "account") is the same as the income statement - it's another term for the same report (click the link here for an example of the income statement / profit and loss statement).
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