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An income statement is one of the three important financial statements used for reporting a company’s financial performance over a specific accounting period, with the other two key statements being the balance sheet and the statement of cash flows. Also known as the profit and loss statement or the statement of revenue and expense, the income statement primarily focuses on the company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period.

The statement is divided into time periods that logically follow the company’s operations. The most common periodic division is monthly (for internal reporting), although certain companies may use a thirteen-period cycle. These periodic statements are aggregated into total values for quarterly and annual results.

This statement is a great place to begin the financial model, as it requires the least amount of information from the balance sheet and cash flow statement. Thus, in terms of information, the income statement is a predecessor to the other two core statements.

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