What does closing balance mean? What is the closing balance formula?

10 months ago   •   .11 min read

.By Gouri Choubey
.Table of contents

If you have been running your own business for some time, you are no stranger to financial jargon. One such term that often pops up in your balance sheet is "closing balance."

Now, if you have an accountant managing the financial well-being of the company - then you don't really need to worry a lot about this financial jargon. But, if you have just stepped into the business world and don't have enough financial backing to hire an accountant, it's you who would be managing your finances - at least initially. So, it's important to know about this often-used accounting term.

By the end of this blog, you'll be armed with the knowledge to calculate and understand the closing balance like a seasoned financial wizard - so let's get started.

So, What's the Definition and Significance of Closing Balance?

In accounting, a closing balance is either a positive or negative balance left at the end of a given period - such as a day, week, month or year. It is the total value of a company's assets, liabilities, or equity at the end of the financial period - usually a year-long period.

Now, since your business is involved, it's important to differentiate between the accounting perspective and the banking perspective.


Closing balance in accounting

From an accounting standpoint, the closing balance refers to the financial position of a business at the end of an accounting period, such as a month, quarter, or year. The accounting closing balance is determined by considering various factors, including revenue, expenses, assets, and liabilities, as recorded in the financial statements.

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Unlike personal banking, the closing balance in accounting is different. Here, the closing balance is only determined once all the transactions for that specific period have been recorded. The calculation involves subtracting the debits from the credits - and the difference between the two becomes your business' closing balance. Whatever the difference is, whether negative or positive amount - that will be the closing balance of a business.

Now this closing balance transitions into the opening balance. Here's how!

When your accounting period is over, your closing balance is carried forward as the opening balance of the new accounting period. This balance may be referred to as 'c/f' or carried forward.  

Closing balance helps stakeholders understand the financial health of the company and evaluate its performance over time. Accounting closing balances are typically calculated using accounting principles and practices.

Explore the concept of closing balance and its formula. Enhance your financial literacy with our informative blog post

Closing banking balance

Now, there are also closing balances maintained by your banks. It refers to the remaining funds in your bank account after considering all transactions - deposits, withdrawals, transfers and the occasional fees imposed by the bank. This closing balance, updated by the bank gives a peek of actual cash or cash equivalents residing in your account. Note that, ignoring these balances is not a good idea - as it is an important metric for managing cash flow, reconciling bank statements, and monitoring the liquidity of an individual or business's bank account.

Calculating it is a breeze—just refer to your bank statement. Typically placed at the top of the statement, the closing balance lets you keep a check of money available to you. It's important to note that banking closing balances may not account for outstanding transactions, unlike their counterparts in accounting. These outstanding transactions, however, would be factored into the accounting closing balance.

It's important to note that while the accounting closing balance reflects the overall financial position of the business, the banking closing balance focuses specifically on the available funds in a bank account.

Banking closing balances are crucial for cash management, reconciling bank statements, and monitoring the liquidity of a business. They provide an accurate picture of the available funds that can be used for payments, investments, or other financial activities. Banking closing balances are determined by the bank based on the transactions and activities within the account.

Business banking terms
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Why are closing balances important?

Closing balances hold a significant place in the realm of finance and business. They serve as valuable indicators of a company's financial health and provide crucial insights into its performance. Let's uncover the reasons why closing balances are important:

  1. Financial Snapshot: It offers a snapshot of a business's financial position. The balance provides a quick overview of the resources, liabilities, and equity held by the company, enabling business owners and stakeholders to gauge its financial standing.
  2. Performance Evaluation: You can compare closing balances easily by going through the different accounting periods. It's the best way to assess the performance and progress of your business. Positive trends, such as an increasing closing balance over time mean healthy growth and profitability. Conversely, declining closing balances highlight areas that require attention and improvement.
  3. Cash Flow Management: Your closing balances are trusty guides that help to track the inflow and outflow of funds. This is a smart way to ensure that your business maintains a perfect rhythm of liquidity. By keeping a watchful eye on closing balances, you have control to spot cash surplus or shortage, plan for future expenditures and make informed money-related decisions!
  4. Decision-Making: Closing balances hold the key to smart decision-making! Whether you plan to expand, are on the lookout for investment opportunities or pondering strategic moves - closing balances come in quite handy! Understanding these figures uncover a business' financial stability and risks luring behind your choices. It helps to make informed decisions that align with your business's financial goals.
  5. Compliance and Reporting: Accurate closing balances are essential for financial reporting, tax compliance, and audits. They demonstrate the completeness and accuracy of your financial records, ensuring transparency and accountability. Lenders, investors, and regulatory bodies often rely on closing balances to assess the financial stability and credibility of a business.
  6. Forecasting and Planning: Closing balances serve as a foundation for financial forecasting and planning. By analysing historical closing balances and considering future projections, you can develop budgets, set financial targets, and create strategies to achieve your business objectives. Closing balances provide a starting point for financial projections and assist in estimating future resource requirements.
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Let's Understand the Components of Closing Balance

In order to decode the closing balance equation, we must know its components. Think of it as a puzzle where every piece plays an important role in completing your business' financial landscape. So, let's roll up our sleeves, and dive into the key components that shape the closing balance:

  1. Opening Balance: Imagine your business's finances as a kickstart to your production, and the opening balance sets the scene. It represents the amount of funds or resources available in the account at the beginning of the accounting period. It's like the starting point of a journey, reflecting the carryover from the previous period.
  2. Inflows: Inflows are the funds that enter your account during the accounting period. These can include revenue from sales, investments, loans, or any other source of income that boosts your financial resources. Inflows add energy to your financial performance, fueling growth and potential.
  3. Outflows: Outflows represent the funds that leave your account during the accounting period. These outflows include expenses, payments, and withdrawals made for various purposes, such as salaries, operating costs, loan repayments, and other necessary expenditures. Your cash outflows give a clear picture of your business's financial situation and active liabilities.
  4. Adjustments: Sometimes, the financial world throws a curveball, and adjustments are needed to keep things in balance. Adjustments account for any changes or corrections made to the financial records to ensure accuracy and adherence to accounting principles. This can involve rectifying errors, accounting for depreciation, or addressing any extraordinary events that impact your financial standing.
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Calculating Closing Balance: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we've explored the components of the closing balance equation, it's time to put these components into action. Here's a step-by-step guide to calculating your closing balance.

Step 1: Begin with understanding the opening balance

To kick off the calculations, you'll need to start with the opening balance. This is the amount of funds or resources available in the account at the beginning of the accounting period. Refer to your financial records, balance sheet or bank statements to find this amount.

Step 2: Next, add the inflows

Sum up all the funds that have entered your account, such as revenue from sales, investments, loans, or any other source of income. Ensure you account for all relevant inflows to get an accurate picture.

Step 3: Subtract the outflows

Now, let's consider the outflows. Subtract the total amount of funds that have left your account during the accounting period. This includes expenses, payments, and withdrawals for various purposes like salaries, operating costs, loan repayments, and other necessary expenditures. Take care to include all relevant outflows.

Step 4: Don't forget the non-cash items!

In some situations, the closing balance may involve non-cash items like depreciation or changes in accounts payables. Don't forget to pay attention to these items!

Step 5: Make Those Adjustments

Review your financial records for any changes or corrections made to ensure accuracy and adherence to accounting principles. Adjustments could involve rectifying errors, recognizing depreciation, or accounting for any extraordinary events that impacted your financial standing. Incorporate these adjustments into your calculation.

Step 6: Apply the Closing Balance Formula

Closing Balance = Opening Balance + Incoming Funds – Outgoing Expenses ± Non-Cash Items ± Outstanding Transactions.

Step 7: Reconcile

Once you've added the opening balance, inflows, subtracted the outflows and factored in adjustments, you've reached the closing balance - it is the number of funds or resources remaining in the account at the end of the accounting period. It provides a snapshot of your business's financial position at that specific point in time. reconcile this closing balance with other financial statements such as income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets.

Factors Affecting the Closing Balance Formula

Now, there are some factors that shape your closing balance and may also affect your end results. Embracing their influence and keeping a watchful eye on them can help you to foresee changes, make smart choices and keep your finances moving forward. So, what are these factors?

  1. Revenue and sales performance: Revenue and sales performance is that dynamic duo which can directly affect your closing balance. A higher volume of sales and increased revenue will likely contribute to a larger closing balance. On the flip side, lower sales figures can result in a smaller closing balance. That's why it's important to keep a watchful eye on your sales performance, exploring clever strategies to boost it.
  2. Expenses and cost management: Expense management is the secret sauce of shaping a perfect closing balance. Keeping expenses under control, optimising costs, and implementing efficient financial practices can positively impact your closing balance. At the same time, monitor your expenses and identify areas for cost reduction - it can help bolster your financial position.
  3. Investments and financing: A generous addition to your capital from your investor or external financing can increase your closing balance. This enables a boost to your business's financial resources. On the flip side, when loans are repaid or divestments occur, the closing balance may experience a gentle decline.
  4. Seasonality and Business Cycles: Many businesses experience seasonality or fluctuations in demand throughout the year. Different seasons have a different impact on your closing balance. For example, businesses that thrive during holiday seasons may have higher closing balances during those periods. That's why it's vital to understand these seasonal patterns, as they shape the destiny of your closing balance.
  5. Economic Factors and Market Conditions: External economic factors and market conditions can exert their influence on the closing balance. Factors like inflation rates, interest rates, changes in consumer behaviour, or shifts in the competitive landscape can impact your business's financial performance and, consequently, the closing balance.
  6. Accounting Practices and Policies: The closing balance is also influenced by the accounting practices and policies used in your business. Consistency and adherence to accounting standards mean that you have an accurate recording of financial transactions. This shows a true picture and gives a precise overview of the closing balance.
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Practical Example of Closing Balance Calculation

If you are wondering how to work out the closing balance for personal banking -the good news is that it’s really not  that hard. In fact, it's equivalent to checking your monthly bank statement, where your closing amount is clearly mentioned. On the other hand, if you have business accounting involved, then you'll be using a formula for the closing balance.  

Let's bring the concept of closing balance to life with a practical example.

Imagine you own a café called "Brew & Bites." To calculate the closing balance for a specific month, let's consider the following scenario:

The opening balance of your company: £10,000 (these are the funds available at the beginning of the financial year)

Inflows

  • Sales Revenue: £25,000
  • A loan from a bank: £5,000

Outflows

  • Rent: £4,000
  • Salaries and wages: £8,000
  • Supplies and ingredients: £6,000
  • Utilities: £2,000

Now, let's put these numbers to work!

  • Step 1: Begin with the Opening Balance

Opening Balance: £10,000

  • Step 2: Add the Inflows

Sales Revenue: £25,000 Loan: £5,000 Total Inflows: £30,000

  • Step 3: Subtract the Outflows

Rent: £4,000 Salaries and wages: £8,000 Supplies and ingredients: £6,000 Utilities: £2,000 Total Outflows: £20,000

  • Step 4: Calculate the Closing Balance

Closing Balance = Opening Balance + Inflows - Outflows Closing Balance

£10,000 + £30,000 - £20,000

Closing Balance = £20,000

This represents the remaining funds available in the Brew & Bites café account at the end of the month. It provides insights into the financial position of the café, considering the inflows, outflows, and opening balance.

Another way?

There another way of calculating the closing balance is = net cash flow + opening balance.

Here, net cash flow is the difference between all cash inflow and outflow (within an accounting period)

If your debit side is more than your credit, the closing balance is a debit balance. And if your credit is bigger, it's a credit balance!

Final word

Whether you are a fresh startup or a well-established brand, closing balances hold immense importance for your business. By giving your closing balance a regular check up, you ensure your business stays on the right course.

Also, make sure that your closing balance needs to be accurate in order to be useful and relevant. So, keep a close check of every transaction - you can do this by maintaining a spreadsheet or cash book, or joining the team of savvy-business owners who automate the process with accounting software.

FAQs

Q1: How do you find the closing balance?

To find the closing balance, you need to consider the opening balance, inflows, outflows, and any adjustments made during the accounting period. The formula for calculating the closing balance is:

Closing Balance = Opening Balance + Inflows - Outflows + Adjustments

Add the opening balance, sum up the inflows (such as revenue, investments, or loans), subtract the outflows (including expenses, payments, and withdrawals), and incorporate any adjustments made to the financial records. The resulting figure represents the closing balance, indicating the funds or resources remaining in the account at the end of the accounting period.

Q2. How do you calculate opening and closing balance?

The opening balance is the amount of funds or resources available at the beginning of an accounting period, carried forward from the previous period. It serves as the starting point for financial calculations. The closing balance, on the other hand, represents the remaining funds or resources at the end of the accounting period, considering all inflows, outflows, and adjustments. To calculate the opening balance, use the closing balance from the previous period. To calculate the closing balance, add the opening balance, sum up the inflows, subtract the outflows, and incorporate any adjustments. Accurate calculation of these balances is crucial for financial reporting and decision-making.

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