What Is an Interim Statement?

An interim statement is a financial report covering a period of less than one year. Interim statements are used to convey the performance of a company before the end of normal full-year financial reporting cycles. Unlike annual statements, interim statements do not have to be audited. Interim statements increase communication between companies and the public and provide investors with up-to-date information between annual reporting periods.

These may also be referred to as interim reports.

Key Takeaways

  • Interim statements are financial reports produced by firms covering a period of less than one year.
  • The goal is to keep shareholders and analysts more up-to-date and in regular communication with corporate management, and to alert the public to material changes to the company in a timely fashion.
  • Quarterly reports are commonly used by companies, and may sometimes be mandated by the SEC.

Understanding Interim Statements

A quarterly report is an example of an interim statement because it is issued before year end.

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) suggests certain standards be included while preparing interim statements. These include a series of condensed statements covering the company's financial position, income, cash flows, and changes in equity along with notes of explanation.

The IASB also suggests that companies should follow the same guidelines in their interim statements as they use in preparing their annual reports (which are audited), including the use of similar accounting methods.

Interim statements offer a more timely look into a business’s operations, rather than waiting until year-end statements, which do not officially become available for months after year-end close anyway. Investors find the periodic snapshots helpful when allocating investment capital – all of which leads to greater market liquidity – a prime goal of capital markets.

These reports can also alert investors and analysts to recent changes that meaningfully affect the corporation. A form 8-K, for instance, is used to report unscheduled material events or corporate changes at a company that could be of importance to the shareholders or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The report notifies the public of events reported including acquisition, bankruptcy, resignation of directors, or a change in the fiscal year. Form 8-K reports may be issued based on other events up to the company's discretion that the registrant considers to be of importance to shareholders.

Example: Quarterly Reports

The most common interim statement may be the quarterly report. A quarterly report is a summary or collection of un-audited financial statements, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, issued by companies every quarter (three months). In addition to reporting quarterly figures, these statements may also provide year-to-date and comparative (e.g., last year's quarter to this year's quarter) results. Publicly-traded companies must file their reports with the Securities Exchange Commission. This form, known as a 10-Q, does not include all the detailed information, such as background and operations detail that the annual report (known as a 10-K) would.

The SEC also mandates that investment companies file quarterly reports if they manage more than $100 million, using a form 13F.

Most companies have an accounting period that ends with the calendar year: Dec. 31 and quarters that end on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31. Quarterly reports are typically filed within a few weeks of a quarter's end.