Analysis of Financial Statements

analysis of financial statements

Horizontal analysis is the use of financial information over time to compare specific data between periods to spot trends. This can be useful because it allows you to make comparisons across different sets of numbers. However, the percentage increase in sales was greater than the percentage increase in the cost of sales. 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.

How do you analyze financial statements?

  1. Identify the industry economic characteristics.
  2. Identify company strategies.
  3. Assess the quality of the firm's financial statements.
  4. Analyze current profitability and risk.
  5. Prepare forecasted financial statements.
  6. Value the firm.

There are several advantages and disadvantages to financial statement analysis. Financial statement analysis can show trends over time, which can be helpful in making future business decisions. Converting information to percentages or ratios eliminates some of the disparity between competitor sizes and operating abilities, making it easier for stakeholders to make informed decisions.

Management Efficiency Ratios

It can assist with understanding the makeup of current operations within the business, and which shifts need to occur internally to increase productivity. There are three key financial ratios you can use to analyze your income statements. All of them calculate different profit margins—the relationship between Bookkeeper360 Review: Pricing, Features, and Top Alternatives revenue and expenses. When doing comprehensive financial statement analysis, analysts typically use multiple years of data to facilitate horizontal analysis. Each financial statement is also analyzed with vertical analysis to understand how different categories of the statement are influencing results.

Management is constantly faced with exogenous forces tugging at their firms, and it must continuously shift assets and financial resources to counter these forces and preserve cash flow equilibrium. When observed financial performance is poor, analysis may indicate why and how expectation could be held for improved financial performance in the future. The second method for analyzing financial statements is the use of many kinds of ratios.


But you don’t actually have the money on hand yet—so, if you were to try and use it for a $1,000 purchase, the money wouldn’t be there. Net profit is the total amount the business has earned, after taking all expenses into account, including tax and interest. General expenses includes money Erin has to spend on a monthly basis to keep her business running and making sales.

Both income statements and balance sheets can be analyzed using this method. The balance sheet provides a balanced view of the company’s assets, liabilities, and equity. While other financial statements, like income or cash flows, reflect a period of time, the balance sheet reflects the company’s financial position on a given date. Horizontal analysis (also known as trend analysis) looks at trends over time on various financial statement line items. A company will look at one period (usually a year) and compare it to another period. For example, a company may compare sales from their current year to sales from the prior year.


Trend or time-series analysis is analyzing a company, using financial ratios, by comparing multiple time periods of financial information. Using other financial information, a company can also compare the current year’s performance to previous years’ performance. Common methods of financial statement analysis include fundamental analysis, DuPont analysis, horizontal and vertical analysis and the use of financial ratios. Historical information combined with a series of assumptions and adjustments to the financial information may be used to project future performance. The Chartered Financial Analyst designation is available for professional financial analysts.

analysis of financial statements

Also, a company can compare its performance over multiple periods through the financial statement analysis. In order to optimize financial performance, it’s necessary to analyze current and historical financial data. The analysis of financial statements allows you to identify potential problems and opportunities, better understand your use of resources, and improve financial planning and performance.

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