Financial Statements


Effective management of a commercial fishing business is based on complete annual data (expenses, income, taxes), a record-keeping system, and accurate accounting and financial statements.

Once these systems are in place, a snapshot of your business financial status is at your fingertips, and you can work more effectively on your own or with other professionals to tackle more complex business decisions.

Common financial statements

Three common financial statements are:

  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Income statements

Each serves a different function, and each reflects different aspects of a business operation.

Financial spreadsheets

The University of Minnesota, in partnership with several Sea Grant programs around the country, created downloadable spreadsheets to assist in generating financial statements for fishing operations.

These spreadsheets are available in two versions: a non-Macro version for OpenOffice users or those not be able to run macros in Excel. A second version includes macros.

An excellent series of short videos accompany the spreadsheets explaining how to build and use these statements. The final set of videos describes how to use the information you've compiled in the statements to conduct advanced analysis for valuing your business operation using financial ratios, a common business evaluation method.

Another publication you might find useful  is "The Business of Fishing: Managing Finances" (below), published by Alaska Sea Grant. It contains a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement for a sample Alaskan fishing business.


The Business of Fishing: Managing Finances

This publication outlines the basic building blocks for financial management for fishermen, including bookkeeping systems and accounting methods. All fishermen, even those who hire an accountant to keep the books, will benefit from mastering the basics of financial record-keeping.

In the big picture, financial management involves developing accurate business records, controlling finances for better business decisions and analyzing future opportunities.