Google is in a good phase of business at the moment, and will likely continue to expand and announce new products and tech as they normally do. This causes difficulties since it’s hard to compare companies of different sizes. Whether you perform this analysis every fiscal year or every quarter, the information it provides is well worth the time and effort required. The decrease in sales has a bigger impact on the net income decline, when dollars are considered. Alan Anderson, PhD is a teacher of finance, economics, statistics, and math at Fordham and Fairfield universities as well as at Manhattanville and Purchase colleges. Outside of the academic environment he has many years of experience working as an economist, risk manager, and fixed income analyst. \nOn the other hand, the sales decline was $25,000 ($500,000 to $475,000).

This can occur when the analyst alters the number of comparison periods utilized to make the results appear exceptionally excellent or unfavorable. Let us understand this analysis with the help of the following balance sheet. Profitability Ratios – Determine how well a company produces returns on investment. The analysis assumes that everything outside will more or less stay the same.

## Business Insights

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. The horizontal analysis technique uses a base year and a comparison year to determine a company’s growth. The example from Safeway Stores shows a comparative balance sheet for 2018 and 2019 following a similar format to the income statement above. You can also choose to calculate income statement ratios such as gross margin and profit margin. Financial Modeling And ForecastingFinancial modeling refers to the use of excel-based models to reflect a company’s projected financial performance.

As we see, we can correctly identify the trends and develop relevant areas to target for further analysis. Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

## Spotting Trends

Although the absolute amount of current liabilities has increased tremendously over the amount of current assets, the percentages reveal that current assets increased .5 per cent, while current liabilities increased 8.6 per cent. Thus, current liabilities are increasing at a faster rate than current assets. This fact indicates that the company will be able to pay its debts as they come due. The business will need to determine which line item they are comparing all items to within that statement and then calculate the percentage makeup. These percentages are considered common-size because they make businesses within industry comparable by taking out fluctuations for size.

The ideal number is 1 or higher, where a company can completely meet its current liabilities with its current assets, but, depending on the industry, a lower number might be the norm. In the case of Airbnb, the trend shows increasingly solid working capital. A horizontal analysis of the trends in profitability ratios will reveal if the company is increasing its profitability, remaining stable or decreasing. Worthy of note at this time is that for a trend analysis to be truly meaningful, it must include multiple periods, be they months, quarters, or years. The above is only meant to illustrate the process and, being for one term only, cannot be seen as decisive. Now that you have the percentage change values for your chosen variables – both for your company and others in the same industry – it’s time to analyze your company’s values and those of your competitors. This will allow you to interpret these results within as comprehensive a context as possible.

## Example of Vertical Analysis of a Balance Sheet

Such a statement merely combines the income statement and the statement of retained earnings. Columns and in Exhibit 134 show the dollar amounts for the years 2010 and 2009, respectively.

- The value of horizontal analysis enables analysts to assess the company’s past performance and current financial position or growth and project the useful insights gained into the future.
- Mary Girsch-Bock is the expert on accounting software and payroll software for The Ascent.
- We have no way of knowing, because we don’t know the cash positions of Companies A and B, how profitable Companies A and B are, etc.
- This increase in capital expenditures is also reflected on the liability side of the balance sheet.
- When the same accounting standards are used over the years, the financial statements of the company are easier to compare and trends are easily analyzed.
- Assume that ABC reported a net income of $15 million in the base year, and total earnings of $65 million were retained.

Elisabeth has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pace University in New York City. After more than a decade in the administration side of the business world, she transitioned into Education in 2013. She has taught English and Business English to university students in Mexico, China horizontal analysis and Brazil. 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. Insert a column to the right of ‘2022’ and click on the cell corresponding to the first revenue line item.

## Horizontal or trend analysis of financial statements

Since horizontal analysis is expressed in percentage change over time, it is often confused with vertical analysis. The two are entirely different with the primary difference between them being that horizontal examines the relationship between numbers across various periods and vertical analysis is only concerned with a single period. Looking at horizontal analysis, you can easily see why it’s also known as trend analysis. It helps you compare the financial position and performance of your business from one period to the next. Using your findings, you know what’s working well, and can easily see areas that need improvement and require attention. The level of detail in your financial statements depends heavily on the accounting software you use.

- Horizontal analysis shows a company’s growth and financial position versus competitors.
- For useful trend analysis, you need to use more years , but this example gives you all the info you need to prepare a horizontal analysis for an unlimited number of years.
- Horizontal and vertical analysis are two types of analysis you can do that use simple mathematical formulas.
- Then examine Columns and which show the horizontal analysis that would be performed on the company’s comparative statements of income and retained earnings.

This indicates the company is performing well but it should use the cash in settling the current liabilities or invest it to maximize the return. 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.