Horizontal Analysis Of Financial Statements

Horizontal Analysis

Peggy James is a CPA with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments. She most recently worked at Duke University and is the owner of Peggy James, CPA, PLLC, serving small businesses, nonprofits, solopreneurs, freelancers, and individuals. Year 1 sales revenues are considered our base, which is why we have an index of 100. We take the actual revenues for Year 2 and divide by actual revenues for Year 1 ($21,862/$18,627).

Financial statement analysis is the process of examining a company’s financial statements to assess its financial health and performance. It includes the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow information. Another similarity to horizontal analysis is vertical analysis’ utility during external as well as internal analysis. In vertical analysis, one line on the financial statement shows a base figure of 100%, and the other lines represent a percentage of the base figure. For example, when you perform vertical analysis on a balance sheet, the base figure is the total assets or liabilities. Another example is using total sales as the base value and restating each sales category as a percentage of the base value. Horizontal analysis, or trend analysis, is a method where financial statements are compared to reveal financial performance over a specific period of time.

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Conversely, less favorable readings may be isolated using this approach and investigated further. For example, if a company starts generating low profits in a particular year, expenses can be analyzed for that year. This makes it easier to spot inefficiencies and specific areas of underperformance. For example, in Safeway Stores’ balance sheets, both sales and the cost of sales increased from 2018 to 2019. Horizontal analysis of income statements also produces worthwhile information.

Horizontal Analysis

By comparing historical financial information you can easily determine your growth and position compared to your competitors. From that comparative statement, you highlight increases or decreases within that time frame. This way, you can quickly see growth, as well as any red flags that require attention. Both horizontal and vertical analysis can be used by internal and external stakeholders. QuickBooks Online is the browser-based version of the popular desktop accounting application.

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Horizontal analysis allows investors and analysts to see what has been driving a company’s financial performance over several years and to spot trends and growth patterns. This type of analysis enables analysts to assess relative changes in different line items over time and project them into the future. It helps investors analyze and ascertain whether the company has had consistent growth over the years and if they are utilizing fund available in a balanced way. The horizontal analysis as the name suggest is the analysis done on horizontal basis for the same item of a company’s financial statements generally for two or more years. It analyses the trend of the company by calculating the change percentage between the same line item for various years. On the other hand the vertical analysis is done by comparing the line items vertically in a financial statement with the total of either sales or assets .

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  • The intent is to see if any numbers are unusually high or low in comparison to the information for bracketing periods, which may then trigger a detailed investigation of the reason for the difference.
  • The horizontal analysis is helpful in comparing the results of one financial year with that of another.
  • Indeed, sometimes companies change the way they break down their business segments to make the horizontal analysis of growth and profitability trends more difficult to detect.
  • You use horizontal analysis to find and monitor trends over a period of time.

This analysis helped companies to fix their goals and also helpful for the shareholders to highlight the weakness of the business programs and to find the way for their improvement. The https://www.bookstime.com/ is conducted on both the balance sheet and profit/ loss account. I just want to ask if how can we do an income statement if the given data are in ratios and percentage only? Prepare a vertical analysis of the income statement data for SPENCER Corporation in columnar form for both years. First calculate dollar change from the base year and then translate it into percentage change.

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In some cases, it may happen that an attempt to increase the sales results in lower net profits. Suppose a company spends $50,000 in a year to increase its sales by $30,000. Also, suppose that $30,000 worth of sales gives a net profit of $15,000. In this case, the net profit of that company will come down by $35,000 as an expenditure of $50,000 could only add $15,000 to the company’s net profits.

An investor can see if a business is expanding and becoming more valuable or becoming less efficient and less valuable. For example, an investor can use the horizontal analysis of the balance sheet to track the earnings per share ratio on a company he is thinking about investing in. If the ratio continues to grow year over year, the investor’s analysis would show a positive trend and he would probably choose to invest in the company granted other metrics are equally as positive. To see the trend of various income statement and balance sheet figures of a company. For example, if management expects a 30% increase in sales revenue but actual increase is only 10%, it needs to be investigated.


Now we can compare our index in Year 2 to the index in Year 1 ( ), which equals 27. Show bioTammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master’s of business administration in finance. Let us understand this analysis with the help of the following balance sheet. By understanding how your company performs over time, you can make more informed decisions about allocating your resources. There are two horizontal analysis methods- Dollar Analysis and Percentage Analysis. In a Horizontal Analysis, we state both the dollar amount of change and the percentage of change, because either one alone might be misleading. No company lives in a bubble, so it is also helpful to compare these results with those of competitors to determine whether the problem is industry-wide, or just within the company itself.

Horizontal Analysis

A horizontal line proceeds from left to right Horizontal Analysis on a chart, or parallel to the x-axis.

Horizontal Analysis Of Balance Sheets And Financial Statements

The following analysis shows that the portion of the cost of sales has increased by over 4% comparing the records of 2017 and 2016. For the balance sheet, the items of the sheet are divided by total assets. The percentage change is determined by dividing the dollar difference between the comparison year and the base year by the line item value in the base year, then multiplying the result by 100. Horizontal Analysis can be used to misguide or manipulate the outside parties. Usually, the purpose of such manipulation is to artificially make the results of this year appear good. This can be done by comparing the current period’s performance with that period which will make the current period’s performance look good. E.g., if I compare the sale of greeting cards this Christmas season with the last year’s Christmas season, growth in sales may not look great.

  • The presentation of the changes from year to year for each line item can be analyzed to see where positive progress is occurring over time, such as increases in revenue and profit and decreases in cost.
  • The year against which you compare a subsequent year becomes the base year.
  • The most widely used financial statements to complete a horizontal analysis are the balance sheet and income statement.
  • The Horizontal Analysis Formula is a very useful tool for comparing different years and understanding how a company is performing.
  • The statements for two or more periods are used in horizontal analysis.
  • There are multiple forms of financial statement analysis—including variance analysis, liquidity analysis and profitability analysis—but two commonly used types are horizontal and vertical analysis.
  • For instance, if management establishes the revenue increase or decrease in the cost of goods sold is the reason for rising earnings per share, the horizontal analysis can confirm.

Expenses seem to be more aligned with the set’s trend, but with revenues lagging far behind the average, this isn’t very good news either. In the end, compared to your competitors’ 15.3 percent increase, your humble 2.7 percent gain in GOP leaves a bitter aftertaste. Your accounting team has prepared the P&L statement for the year 2018, and you want to assess how the current performance compares to that of 2017. Vertical Analysis refers to the analysis of the financial statement in which each item of the statement of a particular financial year is analysed, by comparing it with a common item.

Perhaps your competitive set does not really match your operation and you need to reassess it. Therefore, the Illustration Hotel achieved a 0.1% increase in Rooms Revenue in 2018 compared to 2017. The two analysis are helpful in getting a clear picture of the financial health and performance of the company. If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to horizontal analysis, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will discuss what horizontal analysis is, why it’s important, and how to perform it correctly. Through the use of percentages of Total Sales, you can see that Sale Returns and Allowances is a whopping 20% of Total Sales in 2014.

The investor now needs to make a decision based on their analysis of the figures, as well as a comparison to other similar figures. Alhtough this comparison is useful on its own, investors and management typically use both horizontal andvertical analysistechnuques before making any decisions.

We take the actual assets for year 2 and divide by actual assets for year 1 ($15,201/$12,012). My boss, Patty, welcomes the new hires and asks, ‘What is horizontal analysis? She said she was a little surprised that no one knew what horizontal analysis was, or maybe we were just shy. Datarails’ FP&A solution replaces spreadsheets with real-time data and integrates fragmented workbooks and data sources into one centralized location. This allows users to work in the comfort of Microsoft Excel with the support of a much more sophisticated data management system at their disposal. Calculate the absolute change by deducting amount of base year from the amount of comparing year. Find out how absorption costing works and its benefits, formula, and alternatives.

Nevertheless, it indicates that the company has witnessed continuous growth in the last two years. Further, operating income and net income have also witnessed higher growth due to a lower increase in SG&A expense and income tax respectively. Step 2 – You can assume future growth rates based on the YoY or QoQ growth rates.

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Both horizontal and vertical analysis each have a role to play in a company’s financial management, business process management, and overall strategic and competitive planning. Because horizontal analysis is conducted on financial statements across periods of time, start by gathering financial statements from different quarters or years. There are multiple forms of financial statement analysis—including variance analysis, liquidity analysis and profitability analysis—but two commonly used types are horizontal and vertical analysis. How detailed your initial financial statements are depends largely on the accounting software application you’re using. If you’re using an entry-level application, it’s likely you’ll need to use spreadsheets in order to complete the horizontal analysis.

The analysis of the different items in income statement is also done following the similar procedure. As a financial statement, balance sheet is concerned with summarizing assert owned by the firm and sources of borrowing and owned funds in acquiring these assets.

The Common Size Analysis Of Financial Statements

Analysts are often concerned with a business’s performance over time and as a result, have a need to perform analysis over a period of time. Calculate the percentage of each item as a percentage of sales or total assets but dividing the amount of the selected item with sales/total assets and multiplying it by 100. Horizontal analysis is the comparison of historical financial information over a series of reporting periods, or of the ratios derived from this financial information. The intent is to see if any numbers are unusually high or low in comparison to the information for bracketing periods, which may then trigger a detailed investigation of the reason for the difference. For the income statement, the items of the statement are divided by revenue. The Horizontal Analysis Formula is a very useful tool for comparing different years and understanding how a company is performing.

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In Horizontal ratio analysis, some firms take into consideration all current liabilities but completely ignore the bank overdraft. The firm can make some year-end changes to its financial statement to improve its ratios. How do I compute for the percentage when years 2011, 2012 and 2013 are involved? If the base year amount is zero or negative, percentage change is not calculated. The percentage change cannot be computed if base year figure is zero. For liquidity, long term solvency and profitability analysis, read financial ratios classification article. Hi, my teacher also asked me to use horizontal analysis to identify the strength and weaknesses, and he said “You are looking at the changes from base year to the current year.

It is always easy to understand the change in percentage terms rather than in terms of actual values. E.g., If Smith tells his friends that he has increased his ice-cream sales by an amount of $20,000, they may not be much impressed. However, if Smith tells his friends that he has increased the sales by 66.67%, now he is talking! A 66% increase in sales in a year speaks that the business is growing rapidly. Horizontal Analysis calculates the amount and percentage changes in financial figures from one period to another period of time. In other words, it compares financial data for at least two years/months/quarters/periods. The objective is to find out the change in financial figures and the direction of such change.

The repair expense is the largest percentage change — an increase in costs. But note that the dollar amount of change is only $1,650 ($4,150 to $5,800). The percentage change in gross profit has been relatively higher than that of net sales due to a lower increase in the cost of goods sold. Let us assume that we are provided with the income statement data of ABC Co. We need to perform a horizontal analysis of the income statement of this company. To calculate the percentage change, first select the base year and comparison year. Subsequently, calculate the dollar change by subtracting the value in the base year from that in the comparison year and divide by the base year.