Horizontal Analysis: What It Is vs Vertical Analysis

A company’s financial statements – such as the balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statement – can reveal operational results and give a clear picture of business performance. In the same vein, a company’s emerging problems and strengths can be detected by looking at critical business performance, such as return on equity, inventory turnover, or profit margin. This means Banyan Goods saw an increase of $20,000 in net sales in the current year as compared to the prior year, which was a 20% increase.

What are the benefits of horizontal analysis in financial reporting?

FP&A software helps you see the trends and changes in your finances over time, offering a clearer picture of where your business stands. Essentially, it’s about making your life easier and your business decisions sharper, without disrupting the workflow you’re already comfortable with. FP&A software (like Cube) stands out as a practical choice for those looking to simplify their horizontal analysis. It’s designed to fit right into your existing processes, making it super user-friendly. What’s great about this software is how it automates the tedious parts of gathering and analyzing financial data.

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However, investors should combine horizontal analysis with vertical analysis and other techniques to get a true picture of a company’s financial health and trajectory. Liquidity ratios show the ability of the company to pay short-term obligations if they came due immediately with assets that can be quickly converted to cash. Lenders, for example, may consider the outcomes of liquidity ratios when deciding whether to extend a loan to a company. A company would like to be liquid enough to manage any currently due obligations but not too liquid where they may not be effectively investing in growth opportunities. Three common liquidity measurements are working capital, current ratio, and quick ratio. Financial analysis plays a crucial role in assessing the performance and financial health of a company.

Horizontal Analysis of Financial Statements FAQs

There seems to be a relatively consistent overall increase throughout the key totals on the balance sheet. Even though the percentage increase in the equipment account was 107%, indicating the amount doubled, the nominal (just the number) increase was just $43,000. This increase in relation to total assets of $3.95 million is only 1% and could easily be just one piece of equipment, or a vehicle. Horizontal analysis permits investors and analysts to see what has been driving a company’s financial performance more than several years and to spot trends and growth designs.

  1. Horizontal analysis is important because it allows you to compare data between different periods and makes it easier to identify changes in trends.
  2. The analysis can be conducted on both the income statement and the balance sheet, comparing the figures for multiple years or quarters.
  3. The growth rates of 20%, 25%, 20%, and 11.11% indicate a positive trend in the company’s revenue generation.

Solvency Ratios

For example, a company’s management may establish that the robust growth of revenues or the decline of the cost of goods sold as the cause for rising earnings per share. By exploring coverage ratios, interest coverage ratio, and cash flow-to-debt ratio, horizontal analysis can establish whether sufficient liquidity can service a company. Horizontal analysis can also be used to compare growth rates and profitability over a specific period across firms in the same industry. The primary difference between vertical analysis and horizontal analysis is that vertical analysis is focused on the relationships between the numbers in a single reporting period, or one moment in time. Vertical analysis is also known as common size financial statement analysis. For our discussion of financial statement analysis, we will use Banyan Goods.

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Most horizontal analysis entail pulling quarterly or annual financial statements, though specific account balances can be pulled if you’re looking for a specific type of analysis. Utilize financial ratios, such as profitability ratios, liquidity ratios, and solvency ratios, to compare the company’s financial performance with industry benchmarks and competitors. This provides a comprehensive view of the company’s relative strengths and weaknesses. There’s a reason horizontal analysis is often referred to as trend analysis. Looking at and comparing the financial performance of your business from period to period can help you spot positive trends, such as an increase in sales, as well as red flags that need to be addressed. 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.

The analysis provides insight into the relative importance of each item in the financial statement. If you want to conduct trend analysis on gross profit or revenue, you’ll want to conduct horizontal analysis of income statements; or, if it’s assets or liabilities, you’ll want the balance sheet. Secondly, in the second type of horizontal analysis, we are interested in knowing about the underlying trends in the line items of the income statement. For this, we compare the absolute change ($) and percentage change (%) in all the line items from one period to the other. One should ideally take three or more accounting periods/years to identify trends and how a company is performing from one year/accounting period to the next year/accounting period.

The amounts from the most recent years will be divided by the base year amounts. 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. Contingent upon which accounting period an analyst begins from and the number of accounting periods are picked, the current period can be made to show up curiously positive or negative. For instance, the current period’s profits might seem great when just compared with those of the previous quarter however are entirely poor whenever compared to the outcomes for a similar quarter in the first year. Horizontal and vertical analysis are two types of analysis you can do that use simple mathematical formulas.

The image below shows the common-size calculations on the comparative income statements and comparative balance sheets for Banyan Goods. To be sure, sometimes companies change the manner in which they break down their business segments to make the horizontal analysis of growth and profitability trends more hard to distinguish. Accurate analysis can be impacted by one-off events and accounting charges.

Horizontal analysis also makes it easier to compare growth rates and profitability among multiple companies in the same industry. A stakeholder needs to keep in mind that past performance does not always dictate future performance. Attention must be given to possible economic influences that could skew the numbers being analyzed, such as inflation or a recession. is unearned revenue a liability Additionally, the way a company reports information within accounts may change over time. For example, where and when certain transactions are recorded may shift, which may not be readily evident in the financial statements. Many companies do not split credit and cash sales, in which case net sales would be used to compute accounts receivable turnover.

Let’s take an example of a company that has generated an income statement for the last two years. If you make any alterations to the way your figures are calculated, make sure you take a note of that in your horizontal analysis. For example, going from $10,000 in debt to $50,000 will show a 500% increase. That’s not really a problem if the company is generating $1 million in revenue.

The income statement, statement of retained earnings, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows, among other financial information, can be analyzed. The information obtained from this analysis can benefit decision-making for internal and external stakeholders and can give a company valuable information on overall performance and specific areas for improvement. The analysis can help them with budgeting, deciding where to cut costs, how https://www.simple-accounting.org/ to increase revenues, and future capital investments opportunities. Horizontal analysis of financial statements involves comparison of a financial ratio, a benchmark, or a line item over a number of accounting periods. Horizontal analysis allows the assessment of relative changes in different items over time. It also indicates the behavior of revenues, expenses, and other line items of financial statements over the course of time.