FishBiz Project

Financial and business tools for Alaska commercial seafood harvesters brought to you by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program

Financial Statements

Kuskokwim. Photo credit Alaska Sea Grant.

Effective management of a commercial fishing business is based on complete annual data (expenses, income, taxes), a record-keeping system, and accurate accounting and financial statements. Once these systems are in place, a snapshot of your business financial status is at your fingertips, and you can work more effectively on your own or with other professionals to tackle more complex business decisions.


Three common financial statements are “cash-flow statements”, “balance sheets”, and “income statements”. Each serves a different function, and each reflects different aspects of a business operation.

The University of Minnesota in partnership with several Sea Grant programs around the country, created downloadable spreadsheets to assist in generating financial statements for fishing operations. These spreadsheets are available in two versions: a non-Macro version for OpenOffice users or those not be able to run macros in Excel. A second version includes macros. An excellent series of short videos accompany the spreadsheets explaining how to build and use these  statements. The final set of videos describes how to use the information you've compiled in the statements to conduct advanced analysis for valuing your business operation using financial ratios, a common business evaluation method.

Another publication you might find useful is Alaska Sea Grant's, "The Business of Fishing: Managing Finances" which contains a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement for a sample Alaskan fishing business.

The Business of Fishing: Managing Finances HOT

This publication outlines the basic building blocks for financial management for fishermen, including bookkeeping systems and accounting methods. All fishermen, even those who hire an accountant to keep the books, will benefit from mastering the basics of financial record-keeping. In the big picture, financial management involves developing accurate business records, controlling finances for better business decisions and analyzing future opportunities.

Author Glenn Haight File Size 503.14 KB Download