This Paper Is an Overview of Wal-Mart’s Annual Report

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Assignment 1: Annual Report Project
Due week 8

Darrin Ingraham
08/15/2012

ACCT 100 – Introduction to Accounting
Instructor: Professor Jerome Newman

Abstract

This paper is an overview of Wal-Mart’s Annual Report. The purpose of a corporate annual report is to communicate to stockholders and other interested parties its financial statements. The annual report is a summary of the corporation’s operations over the previous 12 month time period and states the corporation’s plans for the future. Many annual reports are created to resemble a corporate brochure, using lots of pictures, color, charts and graphs. Despite the fancy look, the main purpose of the report is to provide the year’s financial data, which comes from the corporation’s accounting system.

This paper identifies and explains the main sections of the annual report. I try to discuss the key factors that influenced the company’s financial performance during the year and the primary assets held by the company. Lastly, I explain how management characterizes the internal control environment of the company.

Identify and explain the main sections of the annual report. A company's annual report is a comprehensive report of its activities throughout the preceding year. They help in understanding the past performance of the company and making future predictions about the company. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders, employees, potential investors, banks, government agencies and other parties who are outside the business information about the company's financial performance. The most common components of the annual report are the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows, and the owner's equity statement. A balance sheet reports the assets, liabilities, and owner's equity at a specific date. An income statement presents the revenues and expenses and resulting net income or net loss for a specific period of time. A statement of cash flows summarizes information about the cash inflows and outflows for a specific period of time. The owner's equity statement summarizes the changes in owner's equity for a specific period of time. I chose Wal-Mart to illustrate annual reports within corporate America. This year Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), celebrates its 50th Anniversary of existence. Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton in Rogers, AR; today Wal-Mart is an American multinational retailer corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's third largest public corporation, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2012. It is also the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees serving over 200 million customers and members every week. It is the largest retailer in the world, operating more than 10,000 retail units under 69 different banners in 27 countries. [Downes and Elliot] Wal-Mart’s operations are organized into three divisions: Wal-Mart Stores U.S., Sam's Club, and Wal-Mart International.[http://stock.walmart.com/annual-reports] The company does business in nine different retail formats: supercenters, food and drugs, general merchandise stores, bodegas (small markets), cash and carry stores, membership warehouse clubs, apparel stores, soft discount stores and restaurants.[http://stock.walmart.com/annual-reports] Their fiscal year ends on January 31 for our United States (“U.S.”) and Canadian operations and on December 31 for all other operations. Below I will identify and explain the core components of Wal-Mart’s annual report: the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows, and the owner's equity statement.

Wal-Mart’s Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2012
Wal-Mart’s Consolidated Balance Sheet depicts the company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity as of January 31, 2012. Assets totaling $193,406,000,000 include Cash, Net Receivables, Inventories, Net Property and equipment,...
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