What is a Multi-Step Income Statement?: Format, Explanation, Examples

multiple step income statement

We will discuss the formula for the same in the following topic of this article. 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. Small businesses and companies in the service industry prefer the single-step income statement. Complicating procedures with just a few revenue streams isn’t conducive in accounting.

multiple step income statement

The gross profit is too separately calculated and shown in such an income statement. Here, we separate operating expenses and operating revenues from non-operating expenses and non-operating revenues separately in different steps. A multi-step income statement will use multiple equations to determine the final net income figure. A multi-step income statement will use three formulas to determine the final net income figure.

Multi-step income statement definition

If a company’s operations are strong, it will almost always show a profit at the bottom line, but not all companies with a profitable bottom line have strong operations. It might have lost money from its operations but had a huge insurance settlement that pushed a profit to the bottom line. Companies with many different sources of revenue should create a multi-step income statement. This would include large manufacturing businesses as well as large, complex retailers. Publicly traded companies should also create multi-step income statements, because they’re required by law to disclose more detailed financial reports to show their earnings. The siloed breakdowns in multiple-step income statements allow for deeper analysis of margins and provide more accurate representations of the costs of goods sold.

In a true single-step income statement with no subtotals, line items for net revenues and costs and expenses are listed with a single total for Net income (loss). Businesses may include a subtotal for Total expenses in a single-step income statement. Single-step income statements are easier to prepare and require less calculations. For many small businesses, the single-step income statement provides all the details you’ll need to assess the financial health of your company. The non-operating and other section lists all business revenues and expenses that don’t relate to the business’ principle activities.

Single-Step vs. Multi-Step Income Statements

However, for larger companies with more diverse revenue streams, a multi-step income statement is often preferred for better analysis and presentation. The income statement, which is also known as a profit and loss statement, presents an overview of a company or business’s financial performance during a specific period. It includes various elements such as revenue or sales, cost of goods sold, gross profit, operating expenses, depreciation and amortization, interest expenses, taxes, net income, and earnings per share. This statement enable an assessment of business’s profitability, operational efficiency, and overall financial condition by providing details on sources of revenue, expense incurred, and resulting net income or loss.

multiple step income statement

The multi-step income statement categorizes operating and non-operating incomes and expenses. The users will know the profit earned from the primary activities of buying and selling goods and how it differs from the non-operating activities. The statement shows the line items gross profit and operating income, which are metrics commonly looked at by management, investors, and creditors.

What’s on an Income Statement?

Such specificity gives stakeholders a sharper view of how a company runs its business, by detailing how the gross, operating, and net margins compare. One of the biggest differences between a single-step income statement and a multi-step income statement is the ability to calculate gross profit. This metric is important for business owners that need more detailed information on both business profitability and financial performance. In this section, you are finding your operating income after essential expenses.

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The final step in creating a multi-step income statement is calculating net income. Another measurement available from the multi-step income statement is operating income. Like gross profit, operating income provides business owners with more detailed information on company profitability rather than focusing solely on net income. Businesses that use multi-step income statements are typically larger and more complex companies. When it comes to a publicly-traded company, they are required by law to file a multi-step income statement to give greater detail to the users of the financial statement. The multi-step income statement is preferred because it provides more granular financial data.

How to Prepare a Multi Step Income Statement

Most small businesses and sole proprietorships can get by with just a single-step income statement, since their operations and accounting tend to be straightforward. Users can gain insights into how a company’s primary business activities generate revenue and affect costs compared to the performance of the non-primary business activities. A multi-step income statement is an alternative to the single-step income statement. The multi-step (short for multiple-step) income statement is the counterpart to the single-step income statement and is used by a business to report its earnings or losses for a reporting period. It is called the multi-step because of the multiple steps taken to arrive at the net income amount. Follow along with our quick guide to build your own multi step income statement.

multiple step income statement

In a perpetual system, the Cost of Goods Sold is added at the time of the transaction instead of using a periodic difference. We subtract the cost of goods sold from the net sales to arrive at the gross profit number. Income statements enable you to choose a monthly, quarterly, or yearly income statement period, depending on your needs. If your operating items under performed and your non-operating items overachieved, being able to see the two can become a drawback.


Generally, eCommerce and large mid-level companies prefer the multi-step income statement because it translates the complexity of their high sales volume into a readable P&L. Companies that are publicly traded, in compliance with GAAP, have strict reporting rules for income statements. They are required to have multi-step income statements for each period, to show whether expenses are ordinary and necessary to the business.

The gross margin is then compared to the company’s past gross margins and other comparable entities’ gross margins to determine how efficiently the company is performing. 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.

This type of income statement allows businesses to conduct a detailed analysis of their financial performance in a specific accounting period. As discussed above, the multi-step income statement is like a single-step income statement, but the difference lies in the representation part. In a multi-step income statement, the calculation is broken down into several parts to arrive at the net income figure at the bottom line.

Creating a multi-step income statement compiles 3 accounting formulas to find net income. The balance sheet shows your present stance at the date of the report, across all accounts. The income statement for a merchandiser is expanded to include groupings and subheadings necessary to make it easier for investors to read early retirement packages and understand. We will look at the income statement only as the other statements have been discussed previously. Accountants can use the contribution margin to analyze the company’s break even point and its margin of safety. Margin of safety is the amount of a company’s profit after subtracting its break-even point.

Add Non-Operating Revenues and Expenses

Other income and expenses like interest, lawsuit settlements, extraordinary items, and gains or losses from investments are also listed in this section. Unlike the operating section, the non-operating section is not split into subcategories. Here the operating income obtained is added to the non-operating expense, revenue, gains, and losses, where the final resultant is the net income for the period. If you’re still struggling to track your business revenues and expenses in multiple ledgers, it may be time to move to accounting software.

  • In a multi step income statement,  business activities are separated into operating activities and non-operating activities.
  • It would be reported in the non-operating and other section because it doesn’t have anything to do with sales.
  • As discussed above, we saw how multi-step income statements are useful for investors and creditors to get a detailed insight into a company’s financial performance and its pros and cons.
  • A multi-step income statement will use multiple equations to determine the final net income figure.

The first section computes the gross profit of the business by subtracting the cost of goods sold from the total sales. This is a key figure for investors, creditors, and internal management because it shows how profitable the company is at selling its goods or making its products. The multi-step income statement provides detailed reporting of your company’s revenues and expenses using multiple steps to arrive at net income. Multi-step income statement items include revenue, cost of goods sold, and expenses, which are calculated to arrive at net income.

Contribution margin is also used internally to analyze or forecast product profitability for new product feasibility, pricing, and decisions on accepting orders with non-standard pricing. Moving forward, you should be able to compute the company’s Net Income before tax by adding the sum of operating income with non-operating income. The Revenue account shows the revenue generated by normal business activities that includes any deductions and discounts given to customers.