Consolidated financial statements vs combined financial statements: Which should I use for my business?

consolidated vs unconsolidated financial statements

Consolidated financial statements are not designed to provide separate information about the assets, liabilities, equity, income and expenses of any particular subsidiary. It’s also important to note that combined financials consolidated vs unconsolidated financial statements don’t necessarily include a larger reporting entity operating as the star within the financial solar system. Often times, they consist of a group of individual planets held together by their common interests.

When a subsidiary or affiliated entity is a sizable operation, a parent company’s financial statements may not fully reflect its true exposure to all attached elements of its business. By analysing the standalone financials the investor will not be aware of the position of its subsidiaries which might affect its investment decisions. After all, you can consolidate/combine leftover pizza, Pokémon card collections, bank accounts, and a whole slew of other things. But when it comes to your company’s financial statements, there’s an important difference between the two, no matter how similar the terminology might seem.

Publications and resources

The consolidated financial statements consist of the income statement, Statement of Financial Position, Statement of Cash Flow, and Statement of Change in Equity. It provides information about income, expense, asset, liability and equity of the parent and subsidiary in a set single report. IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements outlines the requirements for the preparation and presentation of consolidated financial statements, requiring entities to consolidate entities it controls. Control requires exposure or rights to variable returns and the ability to affect those returns through power over an investee. If a company has ownership in subsidiaries but does not choose to include a subsidiary in complex consolidated financial statement reporting then it will usually account for the subsidiary ownership using the cost method or the equity method.

One of the biggest issues we see in combined financial statements results from a group’s reporting processes and systems. Let’s say you’re a new controller for a group and inherit the existing accounting systems and processes. Shortly after you start your new job, new regulatory requirements come out, mandating combined financials for the different entities in your group. Without something as basic as segmented general ledgers across those various entities, trying to extract data designed for consolidated reporting and apply it to the new combined statement requirements could be a monumental task.

What Is the Difference Between Combining vs. Consolidating Financial Statements?

An automaker, for example, might own the company that makes its transmissions, but it still pays that company for the transmissions it provides. Or if a subsidiary is struggling financially, its parent company may loan it money, with the expectation that it will be paid back with money from the subsidiary’s operations. Transactions like these will appear on stand-alone financial statements because they affect the profitability of the individual units, which is important for internal bookkeeping and evaluation. But such transactions would not show up on consolidated statements because they don’t affect the overall state of the larger company.

  • There are a variety of reasons it may do so, including creating joint ventures (JVs) to split costs with another company or special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to segregate revenues, costs, and profits for special projects from that of the parent company.
  • It sounds easy enough, but as practitioners can attest, the standards are extensive and a bit confusing, which continues to result in ‘diversity in practice’.
  • Similarly, consolidated financials don’t include transactions occurring between different consolidated subsidiaries under the parent.
  • They’re prepared in accordance with US GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles), specifically, ASC 810 and its discussion on how to consolidate the financials and when to use them.
  • A consolidated financial statement covers the activities of the parent company and its subsidiaries in a single report, as if they were all a single company operating under one roof.

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