Comprehensive Income: Definition & Examples

What is Comprehensive Income?

Comprehensive income is a broader financial metric beyond the traditional net income to capture a company’s total economic performance. It incorporates all changes in equity during a period from non-owner sources.

It includes all items typically part of net income: revenues minus expenses from the company’s usual operations, interest, taxes, and more, i.e., the standard components of the income statement.

Comprehensive income brings in additional elements not captured by net income, categorized as other comprehensive income (OCI). These elements are generally more irregular and harder to predict, such as unrealized gains and losses from available-for-sale investments or foreign currency translation adjustments.

These OCI elements may not affect the company’s cash flows directly or immediately. However, they can still significantly impact the company’s financial position and are outside the purview of the income statement.

The comprehensive income is, therefore, a critical tool for stakeholders as it provides an all-encompassing view of the company’s financial performance, offering insights into trends and potential issues that may not be immediately apparent from the net income alone. It is typically reported in a standalone Statement of Comprehensive Income or combined with the income statement and thus referred to as a comprehensive income statement.

By presenting a comprehensive income statement, financial statements adhere to the principle of full disclosure, providing a more nuanced and thorough perspective on a company’s financial health.


Example 1: ABC Tech Inc.

ABC Tech Inc., a US-based company, has operations in Europe. It reports net revenue of $1 million for the fiscal year. However, due to foreign currency translation adjustments, it experienced an unrealized gain of $200,000.

The comprehensive income for ABC Tech Inc. would be $1.2 million ($1 million net revenue + $200,000 unrealized gain from foreign currency translation).

This example shows how comprehensive income includes unrealized gains that are not part of the net income but still affect the company’s financial position. In this case, the income statement fails to represent total income.

Example 2: XYZ Manufacturing

XYZ Manufacturing has invested in debt securities classified as available for sale. The company reports net revenue of $500,000 for the fiscal year in its income statement.

During the same period, the market value of its debt securities increased, leading to an unrealized gain of $50,000. This gain doesn’t affect the net revenue as it’s unrealized and not yet booked. But, it’s included in the comprehensive income, which for XYZ Manufacturing is $550,000 ($500,000 net revenue + $50,000 unrealized gain from available-for-sale securities).

This example demonstrates how comprehensive income can provide the complete picture of a company’s financial performance by incorporating unrealized gains or losses from investments and reading it along with the income statement.


Comprehensive income is divided into two primary components: net income and other comprehensive income (OCI). These two elements together provide a complete picture of a company’s financial performance and changes in equity that are not a result of transactions with owners.

Net Income

Net or earned income is derived from the company’s regular operations. It includes revenues, expenses, gains, and losses that affect the company’s income statement. The company’s income statement mentions the total profit or loss generated from its operations.

Other Comprehensive Income (OCI)

Other comprehensive income is a collection of items not included in the net income but directly affect a company’s equity. OCI includes unrealized gains and losses that have yet to be realized.

The main components of OCI include:

  • Unrealized Gains and Losses: These arise from changes in the fair value of available-for-sale securities and certain derivative instruments. They become realized once the company sells the asset or settles the liability.
  • Foreign Currency Translation Adjustments: These arise from translating the annual statements of foreign subsidiaries into the parent company’s reporting currency.
  • Pension Plan Adjustments: These are actuarial gains, losses, and previous service costs or credits related to post-employment benefit plans.
  • Cash Flow Hedges: These arise from derivative instruments used as hedging mechanisms in cash flow hedges to the extent that they are effective.

Significance of Comprehensive Income

  • Complete Picture: Comprehensive income provides a complete picture of a company’s financial health by reflecting all changes in the company’s net assets. This includes operating and financial events, which are not captured in net revenue alone. It includes all sources of income, including those from non-owner activities.
  • Informed Decision Making: By reviewing the statement of comprehensive income, stakeholders such as investors, lenders, and company management can make better-informed decisions. For instance, unrealized gains or losses on available-for-sale securities or foreign currency translation adjustments can significantly impact a company’s financial health. Recognizing these changes in the comprehensive income statement can help stakeholders understand potential risks and rewards.
  • Investment Evaluation: Comprehensive income can be especially useful for evaluating investments in companies with significant investments or debt securities available for sale or those with substantial foreign operations. The fluctuations in the value of these investments and the impact of foreign currency transactions are captured in the comprehensive income but not in net revenue.
  • Equity Valuation: Comprehensive income directly affects the shareholder’s equity section of the balance sheet. Accumulated other comprehensive income, a component of comprehensive income, is reported in the stockholders’ equity section of the balance sheet, influencing a company’s book value.
  • Regulatory Requirements: For regulatory and tax purposes, comprehensive income is necessary. Certain jurisdictions require companies to disclose comprehensive income in their financial statements(along with the income statement), ensuring transparency and adherence to accounting standards.


Comprehensive income offers an in-depth view of a company’s financial well-being, going beyond the confines of net income. It captures all company net asset changes from non-owner sources, providing valuable insights to stakeholders.

From unrealized gains or losses on available-for-sale securities to foreign currency translation adjustments, it offers a clear understanding of a company’s financial events.

For business owners, investors, and financial analysts, a comprehensive income statement is essential for informed decision-making and effective financial analysis. Learn more about topics on Akounto’s blog and make informed decisions.

All-in-one accounting software, Akounto helps generate comprehensive income statement and other business related reports that help in a deeper analysis of a company’s financial health. Visit Akounto Website for more information.


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