# Horizontal Analysis of Balance Sheets and Financial Statements

Horizontal analysis – Also known as trend analysis, horizontal analysis of a balance sheet is a financial statement analysis technique that shows changes in the amounts of financial statement items over a period of time. The earliest period is usually used as the base period and the items on the statements for all later periods are compared with the same items on the statements of the base period. A closer look into vertical analysis in fig shows the distribution pattern of liabilities among current liabilities, long – terms liabilities and equity capital. Similarly, it shows the distribution pattern of total asserts among current asserts, fixed assets and other asserts.

This can be useful in identifying areas of concern for a business, as well as improving the performance of companies that are struggling. When Financial Statements are released, it is important to compare numbers from different periods in order to spot trends and changes over time. This can be useful in checking whether a company is performing well or badly, and identify areas where it may improve. To calculate the percentage change, first https://www.bookstime.com/ 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 percentage change in gross profit has been relatively higher than that of net sales due to a lower increase in the cost of goods sold.

## Relevance and Use of Horizontal Analysis Formula

With this analysis, we can see where the money is going and if it’s time to make an investment on a new technology, find an alternative supplier, reallocate cash or make the adjustment to inventory. 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. The comparative financial statements of Synotech, Inc., will serve as a basis for an example of horizontal analysis and vertical analysis of a balance sheet and a statement of income and retained earnings. Recall that horizontal analysis calculates changes in comparative statement items or totals, whereas vertical analysis consists of a comparison of items on a single financial statement.

Horizontal analysis can be performed by comparing a recent year against the base year while identifying the growth trends between the time periods. The analysis can be performed in any four types of financial statement i.e. income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow, and statement of changes in equity. However, income statement and balance sheet are mostly used financial statement to do horizontal analysis . Horizontal analysis is the comparison of financial data from one accounting period, usually a recent year, to a base accounting period, usually a prior year, and identifies trends. It can be performed on any financial data that has been recorded over time. To perform a horizontal analysis, first it is necessary to calculate the dollar change from the base period to the target period, which can be as short as a month, or a quarter, or as long as a year. The percentage change can then be calculated by dividing the dollar change over the base year amount and multiplying the result by 100.

## What is the difference between vertical analysis and horizontal analysis?

Liquidity ratios are needed to check if the company is liquid enough to settle its debts and pay back any liabilities. Horizontal analysis makes it easy to detect these changes and compare growth horizontal analysis formula rates and profitability with other companies in the industry. Comparability means that a company’s financial statements can be compared to those of another company in the same industry.

Vertical analysis is when different aspects of the financial statement are compared in terms of percentage of the total amount (Amihud & Lev, 1981). An example of this can be when you bought a car for say \$50,000 and started comparing how much you paid for different parts of the car. You figured that the engine cost \$5,000, you can say that it cost you 10% of the total amount. Like horizontal analysis, it is also compared usually on the income statement and balance sheet.

## Horizontal Analysis in Reporting Standards

Horizontal analysis is performed by comparing financial data from a past statement, such as the income statement. When comparing this past information one will want to look for variations such as higher or lower earnings. Studying the percentages in Column could lead to several other observations. For instance, the 6.9 per cent decrease in long-term debt indicates that interest charges will be lower in the future, having a positive effect on future net income. The 14.2 per cent increase in retained earnings could be a sign of increased dividends in the future; in addition, the increase in cash of 19 per cent could support this conclusion. With vertical analysis, one can see the relative proportions of account balance.

• For example, if Mistborn Trading set total assets as the base amount and wanted to see what percentage of total assets were made up of cash in the current year, the following calculation would occur.
• Like horizontal analysis, it is also compared usually on the income statement and balance sheet.
• The analysis assumes that everything outside will more or less stay the same.
• On the other hand, comparability constraint dictates that a company’s financial statements and other documentation be such that they can be evaluated against other similar companies within the same industry.
• Comparability is the ability to review two or more different companies’ financials as a benchmarking exercise.
• 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.

For example, if the base year amount of cash is \$100, a 10% increase would make the current accounting period’s amount \$110, whereas a 10% decrease would be \$90. This method of analysis makes it easy for the financial statement user to spot patterns and trends over the years.

The highlighted part of the figure shows the number used as the base to create the common-sizing. On the other hand, horizontal analysis looks at amounts from the financial statements over a horizon of many years. All of the amounts on the balance sheets and the income statements for analysis will be expressed as a percentage of the base year amounts. The amounts from three years earlier are presented as 100% or simply 100. This type of analysis reveals trends in line items such as cost of goods sold.