Vertical Analysis: Definition, How It Works, and Example

Vertical Analysis: Definition, How It Works, and Example

vertical analysis formula

Horizontal analysis also displays percentage change for each balance sheet item as well. The primary difference between vertical analysis and horizontal analysis is that vertical analysis is focused on the relationships between the numbers in a single reporting period, or one moment in time. Horizontal analysis looks at certain line items, ratios, or factors over several periods to determine the extent of construction bookkeeping changes and their trends. Vertical analysis is also known as common size financial statement analysis. To perform a horizontal analysis, you must first gather financial information of a single entity across periods of time. Most horizontal analysis entail pulling quarterly or annual financial statements, though specific account balances can be pulled if you’re looking for a specific type of analysis.

vertical analysis formula

Feel free to share that with your MBA students, your accounting students or anyone. The importance of common size analysis lies in the power of percentages to help you gain a deeper understanding of your business, find out whether it’s growing profitably and compare it to the competition. You can use it to see how your business stacks up percentage-wise with another business, even if that business is substantially larger. By doing this, we’ll build a new income statement that shows each account as a percentage of the sales for that year.

Example of Vertical Analysis Formula

Such payments like rent, insurance and taxes have no direct connection with the mainstream business activities. Christine Aebischer is an assistant assigning editor on the small-business team at NerdWallet who has covered business and personal finance for nearly a decade. Previously, she was an editor at Fundera, where she developed service-driven content on topics such as business lending, software and insurance. She has also held editing roles at LearnVest, a personal finance startup, and its parent company, Northwestern Mutual.

It also shows the impact of each line item on the overall revenue, cash flow or asset figures for your company. This type of analysis can be used to identify trends and areas of improvement on a company’s financial statements. In this blog post, we will discuss the definition of vertical analysis, provide some examples of vertical analysis accounting, how to do a vertical analysis, and explore its usefulness in business. For example, year 2008’s current assets percentage of 48.3% is computed by dividing the current assets amount of $550,000 with the base item of total assets of $1,139,500. Similarly, the above analysis shows the relative size of each item of the asset as a percentage of total assets and each item of liability section is presented as a percentage of total liabilities and equity.


If a company’s net sales were $1,000,000 they will be presented as 100% ($1,000,000 divided by $1,000,000). If the cost of goods sold amount is $780,000 it will be presented as 78% ($780,000 divided by sales of $1,000,000). If interest expense is $50,000 it will be presented as 5% ($50,000 divided by $1,000,000). The restated amounts result in a common-size income statement, since it can be compared to the income statement of a competitor of any size or to the industry’s percentages. Vertical analysis (also known as common-size analysis) is a popular method of financial statement analysis that shows each item on a statement as a percentage of a base figure within the statement.

The following example shows ABC Company’s income statement over a three-year period. By looking that the balance sheet above, you can see that while your current asset total went down in accounts receivable, your fixed asset total went up. By looking at the balance sheet, you can see that the majority of your company’s assets are current, with only 25% of assets considered fixed, or long-term assets. 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.

What is the formula for vertical and horizontal analysis?

Vertical analysis vs horizontal analysis

Vertical analysis formula = (Statement line item / Total base figure) X 100. Horizontal analysis formula = (Comparison year amount – Base year amount) / Base year amount X 100.

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