Shareholders’ equity and liabilities

Level of difficulty: Moderate On the Internet, or in the library, find the annual reports of four companies from different sectors of activity in a given country or in different countries.


1 How are liabilities presented in the balance sheet? What decisions on the basis of this information can investors or shareholders take? What decisions would be difficult to take on the basis of just this information?

2 Are there any Notes relating to liabilities? How do they enlarge the decision analysis possibilities offered to shareholders and investors?

3 What are the accounting treatments applied to these liabilities?

4 What is the weight of liabilities as a percentage of total shareholders’ equity and liabilities? What strategic implications do you derive from this ratio?


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