horizontal analysis

Generally, the technique helps in understanding the performance of a business to be able to make informed decisions. 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.

horizontal analysis

Per usual, the importance of completing sufficient industry research cannot be overstated here. In each industry, market participants attempt to solve different problems and encounter various obstacles, resulting in financial performance that reflects a given industry’s state.

Relevance and Use of Horizontal Analysis Formula

A notable problem with the horizontal analysis is that the compilation of financial information may vary over time. It means that elements of financial statements, such as liabilities, assets, or expenses, may change between different accounting periods, leading to variation when account balances for each accounting period are sequentially compared. From the above calculation, we can see that the account payables, total current liabilities, common stock, total current assets, cash has increased in the year 2017 while long-term debt and net fixed assets has decreased. The significant increase in cash is due to the collection of account receivable, issue of common stock, sale of goods and fixed assets. However the company is not utilizing the cash to meet the current liabilities which is not good for the business. The technique of Horizontal analysis involves preparation of comparative balance sheet and comparative income statement so as to highlight changes in the various assets, liabilities income and expenditure, and the resulting profit or loss.

horizontal analysis

Horizontal and vertical analysis are two types of analysis you can do that use simple mathematical formulas. Ideally, two years of data is required to conduct these types of analysis because knowing the horizontal or vertical analysis for one year of a business is useful, but you obtain greater insights by observing firm trends over time.

Overview: What is horizontal analysis?

For example, the current period’s profits may appear excellent when only compared with those of the previous quarter but are actually quite poor if compared to the results for the same quarter in the preceding year. How detailed your initial financial statements are depends largely on the accounting software application you’re using. If you’re using an entry-level application, it’s likely you’ll need to use spreadsheets in order to complete the horizontal analysis. At least two accounting periods are required for a valid comparison, though in order to spot actual trends, it’s better to include three or more accounting periods when calculating horizontal analysis. Horizontal analysis is performed by comparing financial data from a past statement, such as the income statement. 17,0007.4%A horizontal analysis of Jonick’s 2018 and 2019 income statements appears above.

The most obvious benefit of horizontal analysis is that helps paint a picture of how a business has performed over time. Trends are used when projecting future performance and analysts use them to identify where they believe the business is within the business cycle. When performing financial statement analysis, it is important to compare performance over time. In the next section, you have step-by-step instructions on how to do horizontal analysis with examples using a balance sheet and an income statement. Let us now look at the horizontal analysis of Colgate’s income statement.

Horizontal or Trend Analysis of Financial Statements – Explanation and Example | Accounting For Management

They can even have a complete picture of an operational result by analyzing financial statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement at the same time. With it, the company can assess its profitability and operational efficiency while also looking at what has been driving the company’s performance. Horizontal analysis allows investors and analysts to see what has been driving a company’s financial performance over several years and to spot trends and growth patterns. This type of analysis enables analysts to assess relative changes in different line items over time and project them into the future. An analysis of the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement over time gives a complete picture of operational results and reveals what is driving a company’s performance and whether it is operating efficiently and profitably. 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.

What is horizontal analysis in financial statement?

Horizontal analysis is the analysis of financial statement data over time to discern patterns that can give insight into the future. It is frequently called trend analysis. Where is the trajectory going? Up, down, flat?

Horizontal Analysis is performed by placing multiple years’ worth of data lined up next to each other and then graphing the data points to determine if there is a trend, and where it is going. There was a huge increase in cash-on-hand and a very meaningful increase in receivables, making total assets increase by nearly 50%. This is clearly a move into short-term holdings and away from long-term holdings that reflects the expectation that high inflation will continue to plague the economy. This formula for evaluation is typically done by either investors and internal company management since both need to understand how well a company is doing in order to make decisions. Investors have to make the decision whether or not they want to invest or sell their current investment; while management needs to know what moves to make in order to improve the future performance of the company.