What do you Have to Know about Financial Statements? | International Franchise Association

What do you Have to Know about Financial Statements?

Financial statements


Financial statements are the track record of the franchise. They are provided for you in the FDD and contain important information about the franchisor’s financial status and strength.   

The two most important financial statements you need to review:  

Balance Sheet                        Income Statement  


A balance sheet is a snapshot summary of how much a company is worth on any given day. It reports the financial condition (solvency) of the franchisor. 

Balance sheet categories include:  

  • assets - what a company owns: current, fixed, and intangible assets.   
  • liabilities - what a company owes: current and long-term debt.   
  • stockholders' equity - the company's net worth; it is the money the company has taken in from the sale of stock plus any accumulated profits:  

Stockholder’s Equity = Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth  

Things you want to see on a franchisor's balance sheet:  

  • increasing assets 
  • increasing stockholders' equity 
  • more cash than debt 
  • amount of current debt < (less than) 1/2 of the total assets   
  • amount of current debt < 1/3 of the stockholders' equity  


An income statement reports a company’s profit or loss. It shows a company’s income, expense and net income—also known as the “bottom line” or earnings.  

Other names for an income statement include:  

  • profit and loss statements 
  • Statement of income 
  • Statement of operation 
  • Statement of earnings 
  • Results of operations 
  • Statement of consolidated income  


Income statement categories include:  

  • revenues  
  • costs and expenses: cost of sales, selling, general administrative, interest expenses  
  • income before taxes 
  • provision before taxes 
  • net income (earnings) 
  • net income (earnings) per share   

Things you want to see on a franchisor's statement:  

  • increasing profit 
  • more revenue derived from royalties and system income than from selling franchises  
  • increasing revenue trends, usually > 15% 
  • increasing net income trends, usually > 15% 
  • a profitable franchisor!   

What you should know about these financial statements:  

  • The financial statements should be audited financial statements.   
  • The statements should contain three years of financial data ( unless the franchisor has less than 3 years of operating history).    

You should take these to an accountant experienced in franchising for evaluation. 



The International Franchise Association has over 1,400 franchisor members, representing 100 unique business categories, listed on our site.  If you are considering whether or not to go into business for yourself, but not by yourself, we are confident that you will find a number of franchise systems that might be a good fit for you.  To begin your search, visit our franchise opportunties section - click here 

For more information on the franchising business model, click here   

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