Explain the difference between general purpose financial statement and comprehensive annual financial report.
This question is somewhat confusing. There is no widely accepted concept like general purpose financial statement. Every financial statement is, or at least should be, prepared to serves one or more intended purposes. If we understand general purpose to mean serving a wide variety of purposes for many different type of users, then annual financial reports would perhaps qualify as the most general financial statement used commonly in business. So, I will just describe the main features of annual financial report.
Annual financial report refers to a formal document released by top management of a company giving annual statement of accounts and other information about the operation and situation of the company during an accounting year. This documented is meant to be used by stakeholders in the company not regularly involved in management or operation of the company. Main group of the stakeholders are the shareholders. In addition they may include any one who is legitimately interested in affairs of the company, for example, intending investors, crdditors, customers, and general public affected by the company.
Typically, an annual financial report of a company will contain, in addition to the annual profit & loss account, and balance sheet at end of the year,the director's report and auditor's auditor's.
For joint stock companies and many other types of organizations, managed by people who are not owners, the government lays down rules regarding essential information and its form that mus be included.