Difference Between Horizontal And Vertical Analysis Balance Sheet

balance sheet vertical analysis

Comparative statements may be prepared to increase the usefulness of the analysis. Horizontal analysis is used to examine changes in different balance sheet items over a period of time. For example, if the selling expenses over the past years have been in the range of 40-45% of gross sales. For the current year, they suddenly jump to say 50%, this is something that management should check. You can also use vertical analysis to identify business processes with exceptionally high costs or returns and use this to make decisions about the direction in which you choose to take your business in the future.

balance sheet vertical analysis

Horizontal analysis is useful because it helps a company identify trends and predict future performance. For vertical analysis, the firm compares the financial statement figures for a specific period. When comparing the figures in the income statement, the firm will use net sales as the base amount. To conduct a vertical analysis of balance sheet, the total of assets and the total of liabilities and stockholders’ equity are generally used as base figures.

The Common Size Analysis Of Financial Statements

Peggy James is a CPA with 8 years of experience in corporate accounting and finance who currently works at a private university.

balance sheet vertical analysis

However, in the case of the income statement, the same may be indicated as a percentage of gross sales, while in cash flow statement, the cash inflows and outflows are denoted as a proportion of total cash inflow. Financial statement analysis, when used carefully, can produce meaningful insights about a company’s financial information and its prospects for the future.

What Are The Types Of Financial Statement Analysis?

Comparative financial statements reflect the profitability and financial status of the concern for various accounting years in a comparative manner. It should be kept in mind that the data of two or more financial years can be compared only when the accounting principles are the same for the respective years. Monthly, quarterly, or yearly comparative evolution are the most common in this analysis. You’ll be able to compare the evolution of financial statements between different years of the current and noncurrent assets and liabilities. Variance, which is useful in establishing positive or negative changes between periods based on comparison to the average of the squared difference from the mean for the total time measured. Both express results as a percentageVertical analysis percentage expresses results as a percentage of total assets at the time the analysis was done.

  • Vertical analysis is used in order to gain a picture of whether performance metrics are improving or deteriorating.
  • This type of analysis allows companies of varying sizes whose dollar amounts are vastly different to be compared.
  • A vertical analysis is one way to make sense of your company’s finances, and you can use it to make decisions about the direction you take your business in.
  • Three of the most common types of financial statement analysis are horizontal, vertical and ratio analysis.
  • For example, if total assets equal $500,000 and receivables are $75,000, receivables are 15 percent of total assets.

The accounting conventions are not followed vigilantly in the vertical analysis. Different organization statements can be compared as the comparison is made in percentage. Top-down budgeting refers to a budgeting method where senior management prepares a high-level budget for the company. The company’s senior management prepares the budget based on its objectives and then passes it on to department managers for implementation. The more periods you have to compare, the more robust your data set will be, and the more useful the insights gathered.

That result, 24%, will appear on the vertical analysis table beside Salaries for year one. Vertical analysis, horizontal analysis and financial ratios are part of financial statement analysis. If a company’s net sales were $1,000,000 they will be presented as 100% ($1,000,000 divided by $1,000,000).

A vertical analysis is also the most effective way to compare a company’s financial statement to industry averages. Using actual dollar amounts would be ineffective when analyzing an entire industry, but the common-sized percentages of the vertical analysis solve that problem and make industry comparison possible. Although you use total assets as the basis of vertical analysis of the balance sheet, you can also change the denominator based on where you are on the balance sheet. You use total liabilities to compare all liabilities and total equity to compare all equity accounts. Comparing these numbers to historical figures can help you spot sudden shifts. Also known as trend analysis, this method is used to analyze financial trends that occur across multiple accounting periods over time—usually by the quarter or year. It’s often used when analyzing the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

Comparisons to industry statistics or competitors’ results can be complicated because companies may select different, although equally acceptable, methods of accounting for inventories and other items. Making meaningful comparisons is also hampered when a company or its competitors have widely diversified operations. This method compares different items to a single item in the same accounting period.

Ultimately, the way in which you apply a vertical analysis of your accounts to your business will depend on your organisational goals and targets. Find out a little more about vertical analysis in accounting, including horizontal analysis vs. vertical analysis, with our comprehensive article. Vertical analysis is the comparison of various line items within a single period.

Common-size balance sheets and income statements can be more easily compared, whether across the years for a single company or across different companies. In addition to comparing dollar amounts, the analyst computes percentage changes from year to year for all financial statement balances, such as cash and inventory. Alternatively, in comparing financial statements for a number of years, the analyst may prefer to use a variation of horizontal analysis called trend analysis. Trend analysis involves calculating each year’s financial statement balances as percentages of the first year, also known as the base year. When expressed as percentages, the base year figures are always 100 percent, and percentage changes from the base year can be determined. Another form of financial statement analysis used in ratio analysis is horizontal analysis or trend analysis.

You can find the balance sheets for public companies by searching the Securities and Exchange Commission database. Privately held companies often publish their financials in the investor relations section of their websites. Sage 50cloud is a feature-rich accounting platform with tools for sales tracking, reporting, invoicing and payment processing and vendor, customer and employee management.

Tools For Financial Measurement

Under Horizontal Analysis , one shows the amounts of past financial statements as a percentage of amount from the base year. For instance, over five years, year one is taken as the base and amount of all other years are expressed as a percentage normal balance of the base year. It is one of the popular methods of financial analysis as it is simple to implement and easy to understand. Also, the method makes it easier to compare the performance of one company against another, and also across industries.

All of the different assets, whether it be cash, inventory, equity, or accounts receivable, would have numbers that would add up to 100 on a common-size balance sheet. Vertical analysis is said to get its name from the up and down motion of your eyes as you scan the common-size financial statements during the analysis process. People who analyze the financial statements of a company include company executives, competitors, creditors, managers and potential investors. Three of the most common types of financial statement analysis are horizontal, vertical and ratio analysis.

This is a little easier to understand than the larger numbers showing Synotech earned $762 million dollars. Vertical analysis makes it much easier to compare the financial statements of one company with another, and across industries. In this analysis, the line of items is compared in comparative financial CARES Act statements or ratios over the reporting periods, so as to record the overall rise or fall in the company’s performance and profitability. Vertical analysis is the analysis of a financial statement wherein each item on a particular statement is represented as a percentage of the base figure.

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balance sheet vertical analysis

In vertical analysis, each item in a financial statement is expressed as a percentage of some base item. When analyzing a balance sheet vertically, all accounts are listed as a percentage of total assets. Vertical analysis, also known as common-size analysis, is particularly useful for comparing information among companies of different sizes. Managers can also perform vertical analysis of a series of balance sheets to see how account balances change over time.


For example, if the cost of goods sold has a history of being 40% of sales in each of the past four years, then a new percentage of 48% would be a cause for alarm. Thus, analysis of financial statements of a single company through vertical analysis can have limited utility.

Plant and machinery, land and buildings, furniture, computers, copyright, and vehicles are all examples. It is a relatively more potent tool than horizontal analysis, which shows the corresponding changes in the finances of a particular unit/ account/department over a certain period of time. Vertical analysis is most commonly used within a financial statement for a single reporting period, e.g., quarterly.

If the cost of goods sold amount is $780,000 it will be presented as 78% ($780,000 divided by sales of $1,000,000). If interest expense is $50,000 it will be presented as 5% ($50,000 divided by $1,000,000). The restated amounts result in a common-size income statement, since it can be compared to the income statement of a competitor of any size or to the industry’s percentages.


The two analysis are helpful in getting a clear picture of the financial health and performance of the company. View the return on investment formula applied to real-world examples and explore how to analyze ROI. In a confidential information memorandum, vertical analysis will help prospective buyers assess the variability of expenses and prepare their own forecasts to determine an appropriate purchase price. For example, if there are three categories of assets such as $3,000 cash, $8,000 of inventory and $9,000 in property, then they will appear in the asset column as 15% cash, 40% inventory and 45% property. By calculating the difference and converting to percentages, we can quickly create a thumbnail snapshot of revenue growth or contraction. Horizontal percentage is the change in a particular item from one period to the next. Trend analysis is a technique used in technical analysis that attempts to predict the future stock price movements based on recently observed trend data.

In the above vertical analysis example, we can see that the income decreases from 1st year to 2nd year, and the income increases to 18% in the 3rd year. So by using this method, it is easy to understand the net profit as it is easy to compare between the years. In that, we can easily understand that the total expenses gradually increased from 43% to 52%, and the net income got reduced from 1st year to 2nd year. In the 3rd year, the COGS got decreased when compared to the previous years, and the income got increased. retained earnings A common size income statement is an income statement in which each line item is expressed as a percentage of the value of sales, to make analysis easier. Vertical analysis is also useful in comparing an individual firm’s performance over a number of periods as it helps to identify unusual changes in the behavior of a particular account. For example, if cost of sales is consistently 45%, but jumps to 60% for a particular period, then the reasons need to be identified and corrective measures be taken accordingly.

For example, although interest expense from one year to the next may have increased 100 percent, this might not need further investigation; because the dollar amount of increase is only $1,000. The ability to spot this trend over time empowers you to intervene balance sheet vertical analysis and be pro-active in solving the problem. It also compares a company’s performance from one period to another (current year vs. last year). The search for answers to these questions begins with an analysis of the firm’s Financial Statements.

For example, start by dividing net sales by net sales, giving you a result of one. Calculate every other number down the income statement as a percent of sales. Repeat this process for the balance sheet information, by calculating each asset as a percent of total assets, and each liability as a percent of total liabilities. A useful way to analyze these financial statements is by performing both a vertical analysis and a horizontal analysis. This type of analysis allows companies of varying sizes whose dollar amounts are vastly different to be compared.

How Do You Apply Vertical Analysis In Accounting?

But on this page you have not given the vertical analysis of current assets section and the statement of retained earnings. This information can be used to revised budgeted funding levels in future periods. This shows that the amount of cash at the end of 2018 is 141% of the amount it was at the end of 2014. By doing the same analysis for each item on the balance sheet and income statement, one can see how each item has changed in relationship to the other items. Compare financial data from competitors or average financial statement figures for an industry to provide a benchmark for your subject company.

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