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  • Writer's pictureArvind Dang

Strengthening the Accuracy of Financial Reporting: 17 Heads of “Income  or Revenue” -P&L


The prime objectives of financial reporting are as follows:

·      To provide meaningful information to, equity investors-present and potential, lenders, and creditors about the financial health and performance of the company, enabling them to evaluate/assess the value of the company

·      To help the company raise finances

·      To enable meet regulatory requirements about a true and fair picture of the financial health of the company



This article covers the following aspects.


A) An overview of different types of financial reports


B) Necessity of Chart of Accounts


C) Seven (7) essential features for all types of financial reports


D). Narration  of 17- Revenue & expense heads  (out of 62  heads in P&L heads) relevant to Income or revenue


E). Listing of Eleven (11) common operational + unethical operational + unethical Potential causes that affect the accuracy of financial reporting in P& L and  Balance Sheet.



F)  Identification of  65 potential causes that can adversely affect the financial reporting of 17 heads of Revenue or expense

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Different types of financial statements depict different purposes, as shown below.


·      Income statement

·      Balance sheet, including statement of stockholder’s equity

·      Statement of cash flows.


These represent the following:


·      The income statement =Net income i.e. Revenues less expenses

·      Balance Sheet represents= Cash assets plus Non-cash assets

                              which is also  equal to

       Liabilities plus Contributed Capital plus  Earned Capital


·      Statement of cash flows equal to

cash flows from  business operations

plus cash flow from investment activities

plus  cash flow from financing activities

plus free cash flows

The statement of cash flows is not included in this article as already covered in the author’s other article dated Oct 27,2023, with the title “Developing KPIs for Finance & Accounts Functions” on my website.


The table below includes  62 Revenue & expense heads of Profit and Loss (P&L) accounts and 88 Line items of the Balance sheet (BS).


This article details the financial reporting aspects of “Income or revenue” as listed in the 1st column -1st row in the table below.

P&L- Revenue & Expense heads


BS -Line items


Income or revenue


Equity/Shareholder’s funds


Purchase related expenses


Non-current liabilities


Employee related expenses


Current liabilities


Manufacturing related expenses


Fixed assets-tangible


Sales & marketing-shipping & promotion expenses


Intangible assets


Finance  & Accounts related expenses


Other non-current assets


Overheads related expenses


Current assets-current Investments


Current assets-Inventories


Current assets-Receivables


Current assets-Cash & cash equivalent


Current assets-others


Total Revenue or Expense heads


Total Balance sheet -Line items


The above table is developed considering a typical large manufacturing and selling products company, but concepts apply to all industries. The F&A team can customise this to suit the company's industry and the applicable statutory requirements.


B) Necessity of chart of accounts


Before preparing any financial reports, it is essential that accounts are recorded properly in the General Ledger.

In any typical midsize or large organization with multiple products, plants, and diverse sale territories, thousands of accounts may be required.


A “Chart of accounts” is essential for this as it serves the following purposes.

  • Organizes accounts for recording financial transactions: 

  • Provides a framework for financial reporting of financial statements like income statements and balance sheets.

  • Facilitates internal control procedures from authorisation perspectives: 

  • Enables classification of transactions into meaningful categories: 

  • Improves the accuracy and efficiency of financial recordkeeping: 


An illustration of the chart of accounts (COA) capturing account titles/heads-(estimated 150 codes) and their description is tabulated below under five (5) categories (based on the above table)

·      Revenue & income =17

·      Expenses:estimated= 45

·      Assets:estimated=67

·      Liabilities:estimated=16

·      Equity/shareholder funds=5



                   Descriptions of sub-heads

Illustrated Code for COA  **


Revenue & Income

1Income from sales revenue-End products & Spares

2. Income from sales revenue-Services

3. Incentives paid to channel partners,customers (as an expense)

4. Rebates /discounts  given to channel partners and customers (as an expense)

5. Revenue towards export incentives

6. Revenue towards dividend income from investments

And so on











 151 ….


And so on



1.    Purchase related expenses

2. Employee-related expenses

3.    Manufacturing related expenses

4.    Sales & marketing-shipping & promotion expenses

5.    Finance  & Accounts related expenses

6.        Overheads related expenses

And so on







251 …

And so on.



1.    Current assets-current Investments

2.    Current assets-Inventories

3.    Current assets-Receivables

4.    Current assets-Cash & cash equivalent

5.        Current assets-others 

6.        Other non-current assets

7.        Fixed assets-tangible

8.        Intangible assets

and so on









And so on



1.        Non-current liabilities

2.        Current liabilities

And so on






1.Shareholder funds

2. Retained earnings

And so on



And so on

 Note: ** The estimated 150 Code number above for COA is just for simple understanding. Each ERP solution or accounting software can have unique code numbering schemes for COA, and the CFO can choose the coding schema at his/her absolute discretion.


C)  Seven (7) essential features for financial reports of all types (including Income or revenue)


i)Investor Protection & Transparency by applying appropriate accounting standards for ensuring.

1. Relevance & Reliability

2. Comparability 

3. Disclosure Requirements

ii)Financial Statement Construction must be based on:

4. Going Concern Assumption

5. Accrual Accounting based on  revenue earned  and expenses incurred

6. Materiality Principle

iii)Ensure shareholder Reliance & Decision Making:

7. Investment Decisions based on the company's financial health, profitability, and growth potential.

D)Narration of 17 Income or revenue heads for reporting

 (out of 62  heads of revenue and expenses  in P&L heads)


1. Income from sales revenue-End products & Spares

2. Income from sales revenue-Services

3. Incentives paid to channel partners/customers (as an expense)

4. Rebates /discounts  given to channel partners,customers (as an expense)

5. Revenue towards export incentives

6. Revenue towards dividend income from investments

7. Revenue towards the sale of investments

8. Revenue towards the sale of investments in foreign currency

9. Revenue towards. interest  on deposits

10. Revenue towards. interest   on loans & advances given by our


11. Revenue towards. interest   on receivables  

12. Revenue towards  interest income on current investments in

     Subsidiaries or JV or associate cos

13. Revenue towards   rental income on properties

14. Revenue towards   rental income on equipment leased

15. Revenue towards the sale of fixed assets

16. Revenue towards the sale of scrap

17. Revenue towards  miscellaneous income


E) List of 11 common operational + unethical Potential causes that can affect the accuracy of financial reporting of P & L or Balance Sheet(including Income or revenue)


1. Lack of transparency in the computation of value

2. Missing out a few transactions inadvertently.

3. Inconsistency in financial reporting from year to year

4. Insufficient or non-availability of supporting documents for proper accounting.

5. Insufficient disclosures

6. Non-implementation of segregation of duties in terms of the maker-checker-approver concept

7. Applying incorrect accounting standards

8. Weak internal controls

9.Deliberate manipulation of the following (as applicable to line item) in the algorithm that determines  value by ERP or software solution vis a vis

§  Selling Prices, Purchase rates or Tax rates (GST, income tax, customs duty, etc, as relevant ), or Deductions or additions in the formula/conditions, Classification, Accounting heads in the General ledger, and Other commercial terms impacting financial and so on

10. Maliciously accessing & making unauthorised changes in the following

a)Master data tables and field

b)Configuration tables and fields

c)Data tables from the back end and fields

d)Financial Accounting documents and fields  from the back end

11. Compromises on statutory compliances.

For additional inputs on various heads captured in 1st table ( Profit and Loss (P&L) accounts and of the Balance sheet (BS).), please refer to my second book, Profitability and Ethics: The Key Ingredients for Business Success, is available on Amazon, as per the links below.

Paper back-amazon link: India

Paper back-amazon link: Global



 F) Identification of 65 potential causes that can adversely affect the financial reporting   of  17 heads in “Income or revenue” in the P &L accounts


 1) Revenue head - Income from sales revenue-End products & Spares


Potential Cause =6

·      1. Not ensuring that revenue or income is correctly reported without overstating revenue by premature reporting

  • 2. Likewise, ensuring that the sale invoice is promptly raised (to avoid under-reporting sales)for items that have already been shipped out against the gate pass is important.

  • 3. Pursuing billing even if the physical sale is held back (not yet shipped) and not reversing any such sale invoice where end products or spares are yet to be shipped

  • 4. Likewise, for export sales, counting sales merely based on the company’s invoice  rather than after  the shipping bill for “boarding on the ship” is prepared

  • 5. Not recognizing the sales revenue after it is earned & after associated costs are incurred

  • 6. Non-prompt accounting for all authorised sales returns


2) Revenue  head -Income from sales revenue-Services


Potential Cause =2

·      1. Similar  aspects apply to services rendered as above, substituting the word “Service” for “End product.”


  • 2. Inaccurate Measurement of Service Value, particularly  services that are complex and are rendered on a long-term basis


3)Expense head – Deduction towards Incentives paid to channel partners/customers


Potential Cause =3

  • 1. Allowing incentives without ensuring that  criteria for qualifying is met

  • 2. Allowing incentive schemes, though  not applicable for the reporting  period

  • 3. Non-validation of Complex computation done by channel partner/customer   vis a vis incentive scheme


4) Expense head – Deduction towards rebates /discounts  given to channel partners/customers


Potential Cause =1

1. The same points apply here as for incentives. Therefore, substitute “rebate/discount ” for “incentive” in line item 3


5) Revenue head – Addition revenue towards export incentives


Potential Cause =4

  • 1. Reporting not-eligible incentives receivable for the applicable reporting period, i.e., the actual export period.

  • 2. Calculating the incentive amount inaccurately for claiming in the Incentive application to be made to the Government body

  • 3. Making insufficient financial disclosure of the export  incentives

·      4. Applying the incorrect foreign currency conversion factor

6) Revenue head – Addition revenue towards dividend income from investments


Potential Cause =4

·      1Dividend income should be treated as the return on investments and not part of regular revenue income.

  • 2. Export incentives receivable are not reported as applicable to the reporting period /the actual export period.

  • 3. Improper accounting of withholding tax on dividends 

  • 4. Not making adequate  disclosures about the source and amount of dividends to assess a company's investment performance


7) Revenue head – Addition revenue towards the sale of investments 


Potential Cause =4

  • 1. Inappropriate recording of the sale of an investment (gain vs revenue )

  • 2. Improper classifying the type of investment sale (e.g., short-term vs. long-term) for tax purposes

  • 3. Incorrect timing of recognition, ie too early or too late,

  • 4. Inaccurately stating the dividend income received after incorporating foreign exchange fluctuations.


8) Revenue head – Addition revenue towards the sale of investments in foreign currency


Potential Cause =5

  • 1. Incorrectly treating foreign currency dividends (revenue vs return of capital)

  • 2. Converting foreign currency sales realization proceeds to the INR /reporting currency using an incorrect exchange rate.

  • 3. If the company uses a hedge to mitigate currency risk, the gain or loss on the hedge must be offset against the gain or loss on the foreign currency investment sale itself. Not ensuring this.

  • 4. Not treating income on a net basis after subtracting costs towards commissions,  bank fees, etc.

·      5. Not ensuring compliance with accounting standards in other countries

9) Revenue head – Addition revenue towards. interest  on deposits


Potential Cause =5

  • 1. Including interest income on deposits in the financing activity rather than in sales revenue.

  • 2. Improper accounting for withholding taxes applied to the interest income.

  • 3. Not ensuring recording of accrued interest income (not yet received) at the end of the accounting period.

  • 4. Calculate the interest earned due using incorrect interest rates or periods. 

  • 5. Improperly capitalizing interest costs earned on deposits, wherever  applicable


10) Revenue head – Addition revenue towards. interest   on loans & advances given by our company


Potential Cause =7

  • 1. Misclassifying interest on loans and advances in the financing activity rather than as sales revenue.

  • 2. Using the incorrect  interest rate to calculate the interest

  • 3. Not accounting for any bad debts associated with loans and advances

  • 4. Not recording accrued interest on loans and advances at the end of the accounting period, i.e., interests due but not yet received

  • 5. Improperly netting interest income on loans and advances given with interest expense on loans taken.

  • 6. Including interest income from non-performing loans and advances, as likely to be received.

  • 7. Improper disclosures of likely provisions


11)Revenue head – Addition revenue towards. interest   on receivables  

Potential Cause =4

·      1Including interest income on receivables in financing activity rather than sales revenue.

  • 2. Not accounting for uncollectible receivables that may reduce interest income.

  • 3. Calculate the interest earned using an incorrect interest rate or period.

  • 4. Making inaccurate interest rate assumptions


12) Revenue  head – Addition revenue towards  interest income on current investments in subsidiaries or JV or associate co 


Potential Cause =4

·      1 Mis-classifying the interest income as investment income, not sales revenue.

·      2 Using an unfair valuation method  for the investment

·      3 Improper accounting for impairment of the investment.

·      4 Considering foreign currency fluctuations incorrectly



13) Revenue  head – Addition revenue towards   rental income on properties


Potential Cause =4

  • 1. Under-reporting or Overstating rental income

  • 2. Improper accounting for accrued rentals

  • 3.  Considering  security deposits from tenants as income, as it is  refundable

  • 4. Not ensuring deductions towards  repair and maintenance  and insurance of property rented from rental income


14) Revenue  head – Addition revenue towards   rental income on equipment leased


Potential Cause =5

  • 1. The same points apply as  in line item 13th 


  • 2. If the lease agreement transfers equipment ownership to the lessee at the end of the term, the lessor does not record the residual value as an asset in the P&L account.

  • 3. Asset valuation not done precisely

  • 4. Not reporting potential risks of unearned rent or repossession of equipment due to issues at the lessee.

  • 5. If the leased equipment is owned by the lessor and subject to depreciation, the lessor does not ensure proper accounting for depreciation expenses while computing rental income.


15) Revenue  head – Addition revenue towards the sale of fixed assets 


Potential Cause =3

  • 1. Improper Classification of income from fixed asset  sale as non-operating income rather than  operating income

  • 2. Not giving disclosures about the details on the sale of fixed assets, like the type of asset sold, its age, and the reason for disposal

  • 3. Inaccurate Calculation of Gain or Loss due by improper  valuation of the net fixed asset cost


16) Revenue  head – Addition revenue towards the sale of scrap


Potential Cause =2

  • 1. Not subtracting  disposal Costs such as transportation or labor for sorting, etc, while reporting income from the sale of scrap

  • 2. Reporting scrap income by not ensuring the scrap sale is against a proper invoice and payment is made through cheque /UPI/Online method, not cash.


17)Revenue  head – Addition revenue towards  miscellaneous income


Potential Cause =2


  • 1. Not providing adequate details related to description/sub-description and associated tax implications

  • 2. Not ensuring consistency in financial reporting from year to year


Thus, this article has identified 65 potential causes that can adversely impact financial reporting of “ Income or revenue. “


The financial reporting aspects for the remaining 45 (62-17) P&L heads and 88 Balance sheet heads will be covered in separate articles in the future.



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