Financial Statements Analysis; What is Analysis? An analysis is a process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. Financial statements are prepared primarily for decision making. The statements are not an end in themselves but are useful in decision making. Financial analysis is the process of determining the significant operating and financial characteristics of a firm from accounting data. The profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet are indicators of two significant factors-Profitability and Financial Soundness. Analysis of statement means such a treatment of the information contained in the two statements as to afford a full diagnosis of the profitability and financial position of the firm concerned.
The concept of Cost Accounting explains Analysis and their Explanation of Financial Statements.
Financial statement analysis is largely a study of the relationship among the various financial factors in a business as disclosed by a single set of statements and a study of the trends of these factors as shown in a series of statements. This post we will discuss the analysis and interpretation of financial statements of a company.
The main function of financial analysis is the pinpointing of the strength and weakness of a business undertaking by regrouping and analysis of figures contained in the financial statements, by making comparisons of various components and by examining their content. The financial statements are the best media of documenting the results of managerial efforts to the owners of the business, its employees, its customers and the public at large, and thus become excellent tools of the public relations.
Analysis of Financial Statements:
- Breaking financial statements into simpler ones.
- Rearranging the figures given in financial statements, and.
- Finding out ratios and percentages.
Thus all processes which help in drawing certain results from the financial statements are included in the analysis. The data provided in the financial statements should methodically classify and compare with figures of the previous period or other similar firms. Thereafter, the significance of the figures is establishing. The work of an accountant in analyzing financial statements is the same as that of a pathologist, who takes a drop of blood and analyses it to point out its various components and gives a report based on his analysis.
An accountant makes an analysis of each item appearing in financial statements and then reports based on his analysis. The analysis only establishes a relationship between various amounts mentioned in the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account. After analyzing the financial statements, the next step is to use the mind for forming an opinion about the enterprise. This is the interpretation stage. The technique is called “Analysis and Interpretation” of financial statements.
The analysis consists of breaking down a complex set of facts or figures into simple elements. Interpretation, on the other hand, consists of explaining the real significance of these simplified statements. Interpretation includes both analysis and criticism. To interpret means to put the meaning of statement into simple terms for the benefit of a person. Interpretation is to explain in such a simple language the financial position and earning capacity of the company which may understand even by a layman, who does not know to account. The analysis and interpretation of financial statements require a comprehensive and intelligent understanding of their nature and limitations as well as the determination of the monetary valuation of the items.
The analyst must grasp what represent sound and unsound relationship reflected by the financial statements. Interpretation is impossible without analysis. “Interpretation is not possible without analysis and interpretation analysis has no value”. Analysis and interpretation act as a bridge between the art of recording and reporting financial information and the act of using this information. Analysis refers to the process of fact-finding and breaking down the complex set of figures into simple components while interpretation stands for explaining the real significance of these simplified components. Interpretation is a mental process based on analysis and criticism.
George O May points out the following uses of financial statements:
- Report on stewardship.
- The basis for fiscal policy.
- Determine the legality of dividends.
- A guide to advise dividend action.
- The basis for granting of credit.
- Informative for prospective investors in an enterprise.
- The guide to the value of investment already made.
- An aid to Government supervision.
- The basis for price or rate regulation, and.
- A basis for taxation.
A financial analyst can adopt the following tools for analysis of the financial statements:
- Comparative Financial Statements.
- Common Size Statements.
- Trend Ratios or Trend Analysis.
- Statement of Changes in Working Capital.
- Fund Flow and Cash Flow Analysis, and.
- Ratio Analysis.
Procedure for Interpretation:
- Ascertain the purpose and the extent of analysis and interpretation.
- Study the available data contained in financial statements.
- Get additional information, if needed.
- Arrange the data in a useful manner.
- Prepare comparative statements, ratios etc.
- Interpret the facts revealed by the analysis.
- The interpretation drawn from the analysis is presented.
Objectives of Analysis and Interpretation:
The following are the main objectives of analysis and interpretation of financial statements:
- To estimate the earning capacity of the firm.
- To assess the financial position of the firm.
- Decide about the prospects of the firm.
- To know the progress of the firm.
- To judge the solvency of the firm.
- Measure the efficiency of operations.
- Determine the debt capacity of the firm.
- To assess the financial performance of the firm.
- To have a comparative study.
- Help in making plans.
Analysis of financial statements should always tune to the objective. People use financial statements for satisfying their particular curiosity. Financial accounts are interpreted by different persons in different ways according to their objects. For instance the same financial statement may be very good for one; ordinarily good for the other and worst for the third. This is because of their views and objects of interpretation differ.
- A prospective shareholder would like to know whether the business is profitable and is progressing on sound lines.
- A supplier who would like to transact business with the firms may interest in the company’s ability to honor its short-term commitments.
- A financier would like to satisfy with the safety and reliability of return on his investment. Thus, the object of the analysis determines the extent, depth, and nature of the analysis.
Financial Statement Analysis:
Financial performance, as a part of financial management, is the main indicator of the success or failure of the companies. The performance analysis can consider as the heart of the financial decisions. Rational evaluation of the performance of the companies is essential to prepare sound financial policies and to attract potential investors. Shareholders are interested in EPS, dividend, net worth and market value per share. Management is interested in all aspects of financial performance to adopt a good financial management system and for the internal control of the company.
The creditors are primarily interested in the liquidity of the company. Government is interested from the regulatory point of view. Besides, other stakeholders such as economists, trade associations, competitors, etc are also interested in the financial performance of the company. Therefore, all the stakeholders are interested in the performance of the companies but their perspective may be different. Financial statement analysis helps to highlight the financial performance of the company. It is the process of identifying the financial strength and weakness of a firm by properly establishing the relationship between the items on the Balance Sheet and those on the Profit and Loss Account.
It is a general term referring to the process of extracting and studying information in financial statements for use in management decision making, for example, financial statement analysis typically involves the use of ratios, comparison with prior periods and budget, and other such procedures. The financial appraisal is a scientific evaluation of the profitability and strength of any business concerns.
It seeks to spotlight the significant impacts and relationships concerning managerial performance, corporate efficiency, financial strength and weakness and creditworthiness of the company. The objective of financial statement analysis is a detailed cause and effect study of the profitability and financial position. Financial Analysis is the process of determining the significant operating and financial characteristics of a firm from accounting data and financial statement.
The goal of such analysis is to determine the efficiency and performance of the firm’s management, as reflected in the financial records and reports. Financial statements are such records and reports, which contain the data required for performance management. It is therefore important to analyze the financial statements to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the company.