I'm working my way through some accounting textbook and struggling to understand why some balance sheets on Yahoo Finance don't balance, as in:

total assets - total liabilities != total shareholders equity

Take for example https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/AAPL/balance-sheet?p=AAPL - it balances perfectly.

But some dont: neither https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/CHK/balance-sheet?p=CHK , https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/BABA/balance-sheet?p=BABA nor https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/BHC/balance-sheet?p=BHC balance.

Could anyone please explain why?

Thanks!

  • 1
    Check your math on your AAPL link again. 134,047 Equity + 241,272 Liabilities = 375,319 Assets. I think you might be looking at 'Net Tangible Assets' instead of Equity. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Nov 8 at 13:43
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It appears to be a flaw in the normalized data set. For CHK, If you look at their raw 2017 annual report, you'll see that everything balances. The difference seems to be treasury stock (1,671,000) and non-controlling interests (124,000), and their treasury stock is off by about 30 (88 vs 57). If you add those to shareholder equity, you get a total of -372, which causes the statement to balance.

  • Thanks for your help! Really appreciated. I just assumed yahoo wouldn't have data issues on 3 major companies like alibaba, valeant and chesapeake. – Nick Nov 9 at 1:11

It’s a data error. Given the name of the financial statement, you know something is wrong when it doesn’t add up.

Check out the same tickers on investing.com/marketwatch.com and the BS for those add up.

It seems to be the handling of "minority interest". I did the math on BHC.

For 2017: Liabilities of $31,553k + minority interest of $95k + stockholder equity of $5,849k = $37,497k. Which matches the total assets.

For 2016: Liabilities of $40,271k + minority interest of $106k + stockholder equity of $3,152k = $43,529k. Which matches the total assets.

I have learned something new today about how to read the balance sheet. Thanks!

  • It's not just minority interests. Their data for CHK is wrong for preferred stock and treasury shares as well. – D Stanley Nov 8 at 16:58
  • I too can't make CHK's balance sheet add up. For that matter, I can't make their income statement add up either. I'd avoid CHK like the plague. – Codes with Hammer Nov 8 at 17:06
  • 2
    It balances if you make the adjustments in my answer. It's not CHK's fault - it's Yahoo's. – D Stanley Nov 8 at 17:08

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