Horizontal Analysis Vs Vertical Analysis

Horizontal Analysis Vs Vertical Analysis

horizontal analysis vs vertical analysis

Financial statement analysis can be achieved using different approaches such as; financial ratios analysis, horizontal analysis, and vertical analysis. Vertical analysis is used to show the relative size of each item line of the income statement and the balance sheet.

What is the purpose of vertical analysis?

Vertical analysis makes it easier to understand the correlation between single items on a balance sheet and the bottom line, expressed in a percentage. Vertical analysis can become a more potent tool when used in conjunction with horizontal analysis, which considers the finances of a certain period of time.

The accounting conventions and concepts are not vigilantly followed in vertical analysis. As you can see, each account is referenced in proportion to the total revenue. Since this technique presents all the fields in terms of percentage, it simplifies the task of comparing the financial performances of an entity with its peer universe irrespective of their scale of operation.

For instance, a company with net sales as the base can’t be compared with a company with gross sales as a base. For example, if the selling expenses over the past years have been in the range of 40-45% of gross sales.

Vertical Analysis Of The Income Statement

Additionally, it not only helps in spotting spikes but also in determining expenses that are small enough for management not to focus on them. For example, if the base amount is gross sales of $50,000, and the analysis amount is selling expenses of $5000. If you do notice large variances or odd trends, it is not necessarily a bad thing. When you identify significant differences, try to determine why the number is different. For example, if accounts receivable is higher than normal and cash is lower than normal, it could be that the company is having trouble collecting sales made on credit. The vertical analysis of an income statement results in every income statement amount being restated as a percent of net sales.

  • The financial statements include the income statement, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows.
  • Also, Total Departmental Expenses is not 100% because it was not the base of the analysis.
  • The use of percentages converts a company’s dollar amounts on its financial statements into values that can be compared to other companies whose dollar amounts may be different.
  • What we don’t know, and what we can’t know from the vertical analysis, is why that is happening.
  • 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.
  • Although both horizontal and vertical analysis is used in the analysis of financial statements, they have several differences.

There’s a wealth of data lurking inside your company’s financial statements—and if you know how to analyze it effectively, you can transform financial information into actionable insights. Two of the most common, and effective, ways to do so are horizontal analysis and vertical analysis. So, we can say that vertical analysis is a good tool to know what is happening in the financial statements. But, it can’t really answer “Why.” Like, in the above example we know cost is a major reason for the drop in the profits. But, we can’t be sure if the costs have actually risen, or the management has cut the prices of the product. Typical asset accounts include inventory, accounts receivable, investments, fixed assets and intangible assets. You have presented the horizontal analysis of current assets section and statement of retained earnings on horizontal analysis page.

Corporate Financial Statement Analysis Types

The income statement and cash flow statement provide you with accounting data over a defined period. But the balance sheet provides you with financial and accounting data at a specific moment. You conduct vertical analysis on a balance sheet to determine trends and identify potential problems. If a company’s inventory is $100,000 and its total assets are $400,000 the inventory will be expressed as 25% ($100,000 divided by $400,000). If cash is $8,000 then it will be presented as 2%($8,000 divided by $400,000). If the accounts payable are $88,000 they will be restated as 22% ($88,000 divided by $400,000).

horizontal analysis vs vertical analysis

For the current year, they suddenly jump to say 50%, this is something that management should check. A basic vertical analysis needs an individual statement for a reporting period but comparative statements may be prepared to enhance the usefulness of analysis. On the comparative income statement, the amount of each line item is divided by the sales number, which is called the “base”. 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. Ultimately, the way in which you apply a vertical analysis of your accounts to your business will depend on your organisational goals and targets.

Because of this, the analysis is independent of property and market specific characteristics, such as business volume and property size. So, while horizontal analysis is a dynamic way of looking at data, vertical analysis deals with the static details.

Documents For Your Business

Vertical analysis helps in understanding the composition of various components such as expenses, cost of goods sold, liabilities, and assets. It expresses the expense accounts in terms of percentage, thus eliminating the base effect of the scale of operation. So, it is useful in comparing the performance of companies with different scale of operations. Owing to the lack of consistency in the ratio of the elements, it does not provide a quality analysis of the financial statements.

Seeing the horizontal analysis of every item allows you to more easily see the trends. It will be easy to detect that over the years the cost of goods sold has been increasing at a faster pace than the company’s net sales.


Yet Schneider has a higher overall net income due to much greater gains on the sale of investments. 27.9%On the comparative balance sheet, the amount of each line item is divided by total assets.

horizontal analysis vs vertical analysis

Firms of different sizes can be compared easily as all the items are expressed as a percentage. Comparison of financial performance and position of firms of different sizes is not very useful when absolute figures are considered. A basic vertical analysis needs one individual statement for one reporting period. Comparative statements may be prepared to increase the usefulness of the analysis. Vertical analysis expresses each amount on a financial statement as a percentage of another amount.

Similarities Between Horizontal And Vertical Analysis

As it indicates the relative proportion of accounts, it is useful in identifying the cost centers that witness a sudden spike to negatively impact the profitability of a company. The more periods you have to compare, the more robust your data set will be, and the more useful the insights gathered. 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.

Moreover, it also helps in comparing the numbers of a company between different time periods , be it quarterly, half-yearly or annually. For instance, by expressing several expenses in the income statement as a percentage of sales, one can analyze if the profitability is improving. For best results, perform vertical analysis on a handful of company balance sheets and calculate the average to establish a baseline balance for each account. Compare your company results to the baseline and note any significant differences.

Vertical analysis can become a more potent tool when used in conjunction with horizontal analysis, which considers the finances of a certain period of time. Vertical analysis makes it easier to understand the correlation between single items on a balance sheet and the bottom line, expressed in a percentage. Tabitha graduated from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, whereby she specialized in Finance. She has had the pleasure of working with various organizations and garnered expertise in business management, business administration, accounting, finance operations, and digital marketing.

Horizontal analysis involves taking the financial statements for a number of years, lining them up in columns, and comparing the changes from year to year. The vertical analysis also shows that in years one and two, the company’s product cost 30% and 29% of sales, respectively, to produce. In accounting, a vertical analysis is used to show the relative sizes of the different accounts on a financial statement. Vertical analysis of financial statement provides a comparable percentage which can be used to compare with the previous years.

Accounting Demystified By Jeffry R Haber

Find out a little more about vertical analysis in accounting, including horizontal analysis vs. vertical analysis, with our comprehensive article. Another powerful application of a vertical analysis is to compare two or more companies of different sizes. It can be hard to compare the balance sheet of a $1 billion company with that of a $100 billion company. The common-sized accounts of vertical analysis make it possible to compare and contrast numbers of far different magnitudes in a meaningful way. First, we can see that the company’s marketing expenses increased not just in dollar terms, but also as a percentage of sales. This implies that the new money invested in marketing was not as effective in driving sales growth as in prior years. The following example shows ABC Company’s income statement over a three-year period.

An important consideration when applying this formula is that both measures must be from the same period. For example, you could find labor expenses for the current financial year as a percentage of total revenue for the current financial year. However, it would make no sense to find labor expenses for the current financial year as a percentage of total revenue for December this year.

The Formula For Vertical Analysis:

Vertical analysis in accounting is sometimes used in conjunction with horizontal analysis to get a broader view of your company accounts. A common size financial statement allows for easy analysis between companies or between periods for a company. It displays all items as percentages of a common base figure rather than as absolute numerical figures. The vertical analysis of financial statements does not help to make a firm decision as there is no standard percentage or ratio regarding the change in the components of the income statement or the balance sheet. It involves identifying the co-relation of items relating to a company’s financial information and how they affect the overall performance of an organization.

A vertical analysis of financial statements often reports the percentage of each line item to a total amount. Vertical analysis can be used to compare and identify trends within a company from year to year or between different companies . ABC Company’s income statement and vertical analysis demonstrate the value of using common-sized financial statements to better understand the composition of a financial statement. It also shows how a vertical analysis can be very effective in understanding key trends over time. This percentage can be used to compare bothbalance sheetandincome statementperformance within the company. Much like ratio analysis, vertical analysis allows financial information of a small company to be compared with that of a large company. The common size percentage can also be used to compare different companies within the same industry or companies that use different currencies.