# What Does Vertical Analysis of a Balance Sheet Tell About a Company?

## What Does Vertical Analysis of a Balance Sheet Tell About a Company?

If owner’s equity is \$240,000 it will be shown as 60% (\$240,000 divided by \$400,000). The vertical analysis of the balance sheet will result in a common-size balance sheet. The percentages on a common-size balance sheet allow you to compare a small company’s balance sheets to that of a very large company’s balance sheet.

Under vertical analysis (or common-size analysis), one lists each line item in the financial statement as a percentage of the base figure. When you use total assets in the denominator, look at each balance sheet item as a percentage of total assets. For example, if total assets equal \$500,000 and receivables are \$75,000, receivables are 15 percent of total assets. You can see how much debt your company holds in proportion to its assets and how short-term debt directly compares to short-term assets.

The balance sheet provides you and your co-owners, lenders and management with essential information about your company’s financial position. 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. Vertical analysis of financial statements is a technique in which the relationship between items in the same financial statement is identified by expressing all amounts as a percentage a total amount.

A common-size balance sheet can also be compared to the average percentages for the industry. Horizontal analysis allows investors and analysts to see what has been driving a company’s financial performance over a number of years, as well as to spot trends and growth patterns such as seasonality. It enables analysts to assess relative changes in different line items over time, and project them into the future. Similarly, in a balance sheet, every entry is made not in terms of absolute currency but as a percentage of the total assets.

Financial statements using this technique are called common size financial statements. Vertical analysis is a method of financial statement analysis in which each line item is listed as a percentage of a base figure within the statement. Vertical analysis is the proportional analysis of a financial statement, where each line item on a financial statement is listed as a percentage of another item. This means that every line item on an income statement is stated as a percentage of gross sales, while every line item on a balance sheet is stated as a percentage of total assets. Horizontal analysis of financial statements can be performed on any of the item in the income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows.

That result, 24%, will appear on the vertical analysis table beside Salaries for year one. For the balance sheet, the total assets of the company will show as 100%, with all the other accounts on both the assets and liabilities sides showing as a percentage of the total assets number. Horizontal analysis is used in financial statement analysis to compare historical data, such as ratios or line items, over a number of accounting periods. Moreover, it also helps in comparing the numbers of a company between different time periods (trend analysis), 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.

To illustrate horizontal analysis, let’s assume that a base year is five years earlier. All of the amounts on the balance sheets and the income statements will be expressed as a percentage of the base year amounts.

The higher the proportion of short-term assets, the stronger your company’s working capital position and its ability to meet its near-term obligations. The Income Statement is one of a company’s core financial statements that shows their profit and loss over a period of time. Vertical analysis restates each amount in the income statement as a percentage of sales. This analysis gives the company a heads up if cost of goods sold or any other expense appears to be too high when compared to sales. Reviewing these comparisons allows management and accounting staff at the company to isolate the reasons and take action to fix the problem(s).

It also indicates the behavior of revenues, expenses, and other line items of financial statements over the course of time. Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are based on consistency and comparability of financial statements.

Usually, it is the total asset, but one also can use total liabilities for calculating the percentage of all liability line items. Such an analysis helps in evaluating the changes in the working capital and fixed assets over time.

## How Vertical Analysis Works

If analysis reveals any unexpected differences in income statement accounts, management and accounting staff at the company should isolate the reasons and take action to fix the problem(s). By doing this, we’ll build a new income statement that shows each account as a percentage of the sales for that year. As an example, in year one we’ll divide the company’s “Salaries” expense, \$95,000 by its sales for that year, \$400,000.

Consistency is the ability to accurately review one company’s financial statements over a period of time because accounting methods and applications remain constant. Comparability is the ability to review side-by-side two or more different companies’ financials. Horizontal analysis not only improves the review of a company’s consistency over time directly, but it also improves comparability of growth in a company to that of its competitors as well. Vertical Analysis is one of the financial analysis methods with the other two being Horizontal Analysis and Ratio Analysis.

## Detecting Financial Statement Fraud

• To illustrate horizontal analysis, let’s assume that a base year is five years earlier.
• All of the amounts on the balance sheets and the income statements will be expressed as a percentage of the base year amounts.

For example, this analysis can be performed on revenues, cost of sales, expenses, assets, cash, equity and liabilities. It can also be performed on ratios such as earnings per share (EPS), price earning ratio, dividend payout, and other similar ratio. Another form of financial statement analysis used in ratio analysis is horizontal analysis or trend analysis. The balance sheet uses this presentation on individual items like cash or a group of items like current assets.

### What is horizontal and vertical analysis?

A vertical analysis is used to show the relative sizes of the different accounts on a financial statement. For example, when a vertical analysis is done on an income statement, it will show the top-line sales number as 100%, and every other account will show as a percentage of the total sales number.

## How to Interpret the Vertical Analysis of a Balance Sheet and Income Statement

### What is vertical analysis example?

Vertical analysis is a method of financial statement analysis in which each line item is listed as a percentage of a base figure within the statement.

The most common use of vertical analysis is within a financial statement for a single reporting period, so that one can see the relative proportions of account balances. Vertical analysis is also useful for trend analysis, to see relative changes in accounts over time, such as on a comparative basis over a five-year period.

## Related Terms

Investigating these changes could help an analyst know if the company is shifting to a different business model. When you conduct vertical analysis, you analyze each line on a financial statement as a percentage of another line. On an income statement you conduct vertical analysis by converting each line into a percentage of gross revenue. On a balance sheet you would typically state each line as a percentage of total assets.

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. Note that Inventory is excluded from the sum of assets in the Quick Ratio, but included in the Current Ratio. Ratios are tests of viability for business entities but do not give a complete picture of the business’ health. In contrast, if the business has negotiated fast payment or cash from customers, and long terms from suppliers, it may have a very low Quick Ratio and yet be very healthy. On the other hand, horizontal analysis refers to the analysis of specific line items and comparing them to a similar line item in the previous or subsequent financial period.

Performing a vertical analysis of a company’s cash flow statement represents every cash outflow or inflow relative to the total cash inflows of the company. Horizontal analysis of financial statements involves comparison of a financial ratio, a benchmark, or a line item over a number of accounting periods. Horizontal analysis allows the assessment of relative changes in different items over time.

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).

This method compares different items to a single item in the same accounting period. The financial statements prepared by using this technique are known as common size financial statements. 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).

From the balance sheet’s horizontal analysis you may see that inventory and accounts payable have been growing as a percentage of total assets. Technique for identifying relationship between items in the same financial statement by expressing all amounts as the percentage of the total amount taken as 100. In a balance sheet, for example, cash and other assets are shown as a percentage of the total assets and, in an income statement, each expense is shown as a percentage of the sales revenue.

Cash is listed as an individual entry in the assets section with the total balance being listed on the left and its percentage of total assets being listed on the right. The income statement also uses this presentation with revenue entries referencing total revenues and expense entries referencing total expenses. Indeed, sometimes companies change the way they break down their business segments to make the horizontal analysis of growth and profitability trends more difficult to detect. Horizontal analysis is used in financial statement analysis to compare historical data, such as ratios, or line items, over a number of accounting periods. In the vertical analysis of a balance sheet, a major question is what to use as a denominator.

The amounts from the most recent years will be divided by the base year amounts. For instance, if a most recent year amount was three times as large as the base year, the most recent year will be presented as 300. If the previous year’s amount was twice the amount of the base year, it will be presented as 200. 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.