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Dollars and Sense: Navigating Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Income, and Expenses

Navigate the financial maze of your capital elements; assets, liabilities, income, and expenses with a touch of humor in our engaging guide.

Dear Fellow Business Enthusiasts,

When I ventured into the realm of bookkeeping, the lines distinguishing income from assets and expenses from liabilities were as intricate as a maze. While not quite as labyrinthine as the complexities of double-entry bookkeeping – a topic we'll explore another day – and not nearly as daunting as the enigmatic dance of journal entries (which, I must admit, I'll need some convincing to tackle!) Now it's safe to say that understanding these distinctions have become as clear as a blank excel sheet! However, if you're anything like me, you tend to ponder every detail. If you have read any of my previous blog posts, I don’t think you will argue with the rumor that I can be a bit intense! I fancy myself as precise, striving for accuracy in every aspect. But don't worry, whether you're a fellow seeker of intricate details or someone who prefers a broader perspective, I'm here to provide you with guidance. I'll untangle these concepts with an exceptional level of detail, illuminating the path for you.


Assets find their place within the 1000 category in the chart of accounts—a designated section for these vital components of your financial landscape. Essentially, assets are the financial seeds you've sown into your business. They encompass a diverse range, from the currency nestled in your checking account to the funds residing in your cash register. And it doesn't stop there. Your assets extend their embrace to encompass the monetary value resting within vehicles, mechanical equipment, and every corner of your business infrastructure. Not to be forgotten, they also account for the sums your clients owe you, forming a testament to your entrepreneurial endeavors. But not all assets are the same. Enter the dynamic duo: current and non-current assets.

  • Current Assets: These are the assets with a swift revolving door—they'll transform into cash within a year or your operating cycle. Picture them as the MVPs of your business's daily operations. From cash and accounts receivable to inventory and short-term investments, these assets are your financial workhorses. They keep your wheels turning, ensuring you have the resources needed to keep things running smoothly.

  • Non-Current Assets: Now, meet the steadfast pillars of your business—non-current assets. These are the assets in it for the long haul, sticking around for more than a year or a full operating cycle. Think property, plant, and equipment, as well as intangible assets like patents and copyrights. They provide stability and continuity, like the structural framework of that metaphorical building we mentioned earlier.


Liabilities, on the other hand, find their designated spot within the 2000 category of the chart of accounts. These are the financial commitments that your business owes to external parties, akin to promises that need to be fulfilled. Just as assets represent the resources your business possesses, liabilities embody the responsibilities your business carries. They range from loans that need repaying to outstanding invoices and obligations that loom on the horizon. Essentially, liabilities are the financial threads that tie your business to its financial obligations, creating a delicate balance between what's owed and what's owned. They too can be separated into Current and non-current.

  • Current Liabilities: These are the financial obligations that need attention in the near term—usually within a year or the operating cycle. It's like bills that are due soon, including accounts payable, short-term loans, and accrued expenses. They remind us that, while running a business, staying on top of your financial commitments is key.

  • Non-Current Liabilities: On the flip side, we have non-current liabilities—obligations that are stretched over a longer timeline. They're not knocking on your door for immediate payment but are still part of your financial story. Think long-term loans, mortgages, or bonds. Non-current liabilities represent the commitments that require strategic planning and sustainable management.

“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson


Proudly takes its place in the 3000 category, equity commands attention as a cornerstone of your financial structure. It's a dynamic compilation of various elements, each contributing to the colorful tapestry of your business's financial story. From the initial investments made by owners and the accrued retained earnings that signify your journey's progress, to the impact of depreciation on fixed assets and the fluctuations caused by gains or losses from asset sales – all these threads are interwoven to form the fabric of equity. It's a financial entity that reflects your business's history, growth, and the value it holds in the world of commerce.

Income and Expenses

Falling to 4000 and 5000 respectfully, income and expense are your day to day operations. Income represents the various sources of revenue your business generates. This includes income from sales, services, and other sources like investments or royalties. On the flip side, expenses encompass the costs incurred to operate your business. This includes expenses like salaries, rent, utilities, and costs related to production. Both income and expenses are essential components that shape your business's financial landscape.

Weaving it all together

As we weave these threads together, a remarkable web of financial understanding emerges. The pieces fall into place, and the puzzle takes form. It's a puzzle that holds the potential for informed decision-making, strategic planning, and a deeper grasp of your business's financial tapestry. With these newfound insights, you're better equipped to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship and chart a course for lasting financial success. Feel free to embark on this financial adventure, armed with the knowledge of how these pieces interact and contribute to the grand picture (that we will tackle when we talk about statements!). And hey, if you find yourself yearning for a bit more guidance on this journey, remember that you're not alone. Polished Bookkeeper is here to assist you every step of the way – offering expertise, support, and a compass to navigate the seas of financial management. So, whether you're diving into the details or admiring the view, always remember: you're the captain of your financial ship.

Feel free to reach out if you'd like more assistance or content, and don't hesitate to explore the resources (with a few tailored Chart of Accounts currently in the works) at Polished Bookkeeper for an extra dose of financial empowerment!


Caila Carreno

Founder, Polish and Precision

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Always consult a qualified accountant or financial expert before making any decisions based on the content presented here.

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