Trend Analysis Of Financial Statements

horizontal analysis formula

We can perform horizontal analysis on the income statement by simply taking the percentage change for each line item year-over-year. You can apply the formulas to a variety of financial statements and accounts. A typical balance sheet horizontal analysis, for instance, compares one year’s balance sheet with the previous year. The analysis looks at multiple sections of the balance sheet such as cash, accounts receivable, fixed assets, accounts payable and retained earnings. A horizontal income statement analysis compares sales, cost of goods sold, different expense categories and net profits from year-to-year.

For instance, a manager might compare cost of goods sold and profit margin over a two or three-year span to see how efficient the company is becoming. This comparison of income statements will give the manager not only a benchmark for future performance; it will also help him understand what needs to be changed in the future. 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.

horizontal analysis formula

In Horizontal Financial Analysis, the comparison is made between an item of financial statement, with that of the base year’s corresponding item. On the other hand, in vertical financial analysis, an item of the financial statement is compared with the common item of the same accounting period.

Drawbacks Of Using Horizontal Analysis

The correct answer is option d) minus the base year amount divided by the base year amount. Gain in-demand industry knowledge ledger account and hands-on practice that will help you stand out from the competition and become a world-class financial analyst.

Comparability constraint, on the other hand, dictates that a company’s financial statements and other documentation be such that they can be evaluated against other similar companies within the same industry. Financial statements should be prepared in a standard vertical format in accordance with accounting standards. The main use of vertical analysis is to calculate the financial ratios which in turn are key metrics in evaluating company performance.

A balance sheet vertical analysis usually reports entries as a percentage of total assets. Federal authorities have put laws in place that make sure companies report their financials truthfully while protecting the best interests of investors. But while there are protections in place, it also helps that investors know what they need to look out for when reviewing a company’s financial statements. Knowing the red flags can help individuals detect unscrupulous accounting practices and stay one step ahead of bad actors attempting to hide losses, launder money, or otherwise defraud unsuspecting investors.

horizontal analysis formula

It can also be performed on ratios such as earnings per share , price earning ratio, dividend payout, and other similar ratio. 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. With metrics like the cash flow to debt ratio, coverage ratios, interest coverage ratio, and other financial ratios, the horizontal analysis can determine whether sufficient liquidity can service the company. It can also be used to compare growth rates and profitability over a period of time, across companies in the same industry. Vertical analysis is another way to mine your financial statements for insights. This approach looks at every item on a financial statement as a percentage of another item.


I am requested to make vertical and horizontal analyses of the Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet for a company.How to get Comparative balance for three year’s for horizontal analysis. Horizontal analysis is a financial statement analysis technique that shows changes in the amounts of corresponding financial statement items over a period of time.It is a useful tool to evaluate the trend situations. We note that in the income statement, Colgate has not provided segmental information; however, as additional information, Colgate has provided some details of segments on Page 87 Source – Colgate 2013 – 10K, Page 86. In other words, it indicates the change either in absolute terms or as percentage change year over year (Y-o-Y) in each of the line items.

  • This lesson explores the model and its use to make accurate comparisons of stock issued by companies in varied industries.
  • A useful way to analyze these financial statements is by performing both a vertical analysis and a horizontal analysis.
  • The main difference is that the percentages in a vertical analysis do not represent the percentage of change.
  • Expressing changes as percentages is usually straightforward as long as the amount in the base year or period is positive—that is, not zero or negative.
  • There are many different numbers that investors look at when deciding whether to invest in a company, including the earnings per share.
  • This can obviously be a big barrier to entry to investors wanting to get in on a business like Google.

Horizontal analysis is the comparison of historical financial information over various reporting periods. How do I compute for the percentage when years 2011, 2012 and 2013 are involved? For liquidity, long term solvency and profitability analysis, read financial ratios classification article. To know about strengths and weaknesses of a company, different combinations of financial ratios are used. Whether you do a horizontal analysis quarterly or yearly, it’s worth the time and effort to perform this calculation regularly.

Undistributed expenses show more mixed results, albeit the total has remained nearly stable. Of course, you will want to take a more detailed look at the revenues of Other Operated Departments, and A&G and P&M expenses, to understand why they show results that differ from the trend. However, data by itself offers limited aid for the evaluation and decision-making processes that every business strategy needs. The depth of analysis performed on the available data is therefore the key to identifying the issues that a company faces, and the necessary steps to overcome them. The quality of the analysis of “what gets measured” will then define the success of the action plans designed to “get it managed”.

Horizontal Analysis Calculator

Learn the definition of the accounting cycle, and explore the process, including its 10 basic steps, and how when they are done a new accounting period begins. There are many different numbers that investors look at when deciding what are retained earnings whether to invest in a company, including the earnings per share. In this lesson, we will learn what earnings per share means and how to calculate it. Companies often need to utilize financing to cover shortfalls in cash flow.

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horizontal analysis formula

This high percentage means most of your Assets are liquid, and it may be time to either invest that money or use it to purchase additional Plant Assets. For instance, a large increase in Sales returns and allowances coupled with a decrease in Sales over two years would be cause for concern.

Suppose your income statement for the year shows you turned a profit. The horizontal income-statement analysis shows how the year looks compared to the previous year or the last three years. It may turn out your income has dropped or, more happily, trended upwards. In a horizontal analysis the the changes in income statement and balance sheet items are computed and compared with the expected changes. For example, you start an advertising campaign and expect a 25% increase in sales.

Unit 18: Financial Statement Analysis

For instance, if you run a comparative income statement for 2019 and 2020, horizontal analysis allows you to compare the revenue totals for both years to see if it increased or decreased, or remained relatively stable. If possible, you should aim to add 2018 to the mix, so you’ll be able to see if it was a trend or just a fluke.

All you need is diligence, attention to details, and a logical mind to decipher why the change happens. A positive change means that the line item has increased and a negative change means it has decreased. In our sample Balance Sheet, we want to determine the percentage or portion a line item is of the horizontal analysis formula entire category. By seeing the trend, which is a remarkable growth of over 100% from one year to the next, we can also see that the trend itself is not that remarkable of only 10% change from 2013 at 110% to 120% in 2014. Which could show, that perhaps growth is starting to stagnate or level-off.

How Horizontal Analysis Works

Horizontal analysis uses a line-by-line comparison to compare the totals. For example, if you run a comparative income statement for 2018 and 2019, horizontal analysis allows you to compare revenue totals for both years to see if it increased, decreased, or remained relatively stagnant. Horizontal analysis looks at certain line items, ratios, or factors over several periods to determine the extent of changes and their trends. Generally accepted accounting principles are based on the consistency and comparability of financial statements. Using consistent accounting principles like GAAP ensures consistency and the ability to accurately review a company’s financial statements over time. Comparability is the ability to review two or more different companies’ financials as a benchmarking exercise.

Trend analysis provides a means to analyze company data over a period of time by focusing on the change in specific line items within the income statement and balance sheet. Trends over several years can be evaluated by calculating the trend percentage as the current year divided by the base year. Good horizontal horizontal analysis formula analysis doesn’t just eyeball the trends; it crunches the numbers to keep things objective. One way is to look at the dollar change of an item such as total assets or net income. For example, suppose a company’s sales in year 1 were $250,000 and in year 2 were $287,500, using year 1 as the base year.

Choosing the same base period every time you make an analysis can avoid this inaccuracy. This can happen when the analyst modifies the number of comparison periods used to make the results appear unusually good or bad. For example, the current period’s profits may appear excellent when only compared with those of the previous month, but are actually quite poor when compared to the results for the same month in the preceding year. There are various formats for creating a Horizontal Analysis but the most popular is to display the variance between Income Statements in dollar amounts and percentage. The difference in percentage is computed by taking the dollar difference in an Income Statement item and dividing it by the base year.