Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Analysis

The terms horizontal and vertical analysis are parts of financial analysis, which is performed by business professionals in order to assess the profitability, viability, and feasibility of the business, or assignment.

Horizontal vs Vertical Analysis

The main difference between horizontal and vertical analysis is that the former considers the total amount as a percentage in the financial statement over many consecutive years, while the latter talks about each amount separately in the financial statement as a percentage for another amount.

Horizontal vs Vertical Analysis

The horizontal analysis or “trend analysis” takes into account all the amounts in financial statements over many years.

The vertical analysis considers each amount on the financial statement listed as a percentage of another amount.


 

Comparison Table Between Horizontal and Vertical Analysis (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonHorizontal AnalysisVertical Analysis
DefinitionIt takes into account all the amounts in financial statements over many years and considers it the percentage of the total.It takes into account the amounts present in the financial statements separately as a percentage of the total.
GoalThe goal here is to assess the trends that are related to specific items over the past many years.Here, the goal is to assess the trend of a specific item with an everyday item within the current year.
PurposeBy comparing trend, the analysis helps a business understand the growth of an item in terms of financial factors.It helps show the relative sizes of the accounts present within the financial statement.
FormulaHorizontal analysis percentage = [(Amount in Comparison Year – Amount in Base Year) / Amount in Base Year] * 100Vertical analysis percentage = (Statement line item / Total base figure) * 100
Period of timeIt takes into account multiple years, such as a decade.It is only concerned with items presented within the current fiscal year.
Firm wise comparisonHorizontal analysis can only be used when considering an intra-firm wise comparison.Vertical analysis is used when talking about both inter-firm and intra-firm.

 

What is Horizontal Analysis?

The horizontal analysis is conducted by finance professionals within a company or business in order to help evaluate the trend of an item over the past consecutive many years.

Here, multiple periods of financial statements are used to evaluate horizontal analysis. It means that the report helps to show the change in amounts of the statement over a period instead of only the current year.

The rise and fall of a trend concerning an item are recorded, and based on that a plan of action is taken to decide how to help the item grow in popularity and grab the interest of the company.

There is a formula that can be primarily used to find out horizontal analysis –

  1. Horizontal Analysis (absolute) = Amount in Comparison Year – Amount in Base Year
  2. Horizontal analysis percentage = [(Amount in Comparison Year – Amount in Base Year) / Amount in Base Year] * 100
horizontal analysis
 

What is Vertical Analysis?

Vertical analysis is conducted by financial professionals to make gathering and assessment of data more manageable, by using percentages to perform business analytics and comparison.

It helps show the relative sizes of the accounts present within the financial statement. This can also help compare the companies present within the industry with the company performing the vertical analysis.

The above is done on balance sheets, retained earnings statements, fixed assets and income statements, and each line within these are considered separately as a percentage of the complete statement.

There is a formula for determining the absolute vertical analysis and percentage –

  1. Vertical analysis percentage = (Statement line item / Total base figure) * 100
  2. Vertical Analysis Formula (Income Statement) = Income Statement Item / Total Sales * 100
  3. Vertical Analysis Formula (Balance Sheet) = Balance Sheet Item / Total Assets (Liabilities) * 100
vertical analysis

Main Differences Between Horizontal and Vertical Analysis

  1. Horizontal analysis can only be used when considering an intra-firm wise comparison, while vertical analysis is used when talking about both inter-firm and intra-firm.
  2. The horizontal analysis takes into account multiple periods or years, such as a decade.  And vertical analysis is concerned with items presented within the current fiscal year.

 

Conclusion

The concepts of horizontal and vertical analysis have been primary contributing tools for the expansion of businesses for the past many years.

This allows them to chart the trend growth and propose a better plan of action. Vertical analysis, instead, just takes each line or amount in the financial statement as an individual percentage of the whole amount.


References

  1. https://www.unf.edu/~ggundlac/pdfs/pub_18.pdf
  2. https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/ssa/bssa/article/95/5/1779/103169
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