Common Size Balance Sheet Defined

common sized balance sheet

If you want to know what percent A is of B, you simple divide A by B, then take that number and move the decimal place two spaces to the right. To use the calculator, enter two numbers to calculate the percentage the first is of the second by clicking Calculate Percentage. Trend analysis is a technique used in technical analysis that attempts to predict the future stock price movements based on recently observed trend data. Trend analysis is based on the idea that what has happened in the past gives traders an idea of what will happen in the future. Different firms may use different accounting calendars, so the accounting periods may not be directly comparable. It fails to identify the qualitative elements while gauging the performance of a company, although it is not a good practice to ignore the same.

Debt-equity RatioThe debt to equity ratio is a representation of the company's capital structure that determines the proportion of external liabilities to the shareholders' equity. It helps the investors determine the organization's leverage position and risk level. One can’t ignore the ill effects of window dressing in financial statements, and sadly a standard size balance sheet fails to identify the same to provide the real positions of assets, liabilities, etc. A common size balance sheet is regarded as impractical since there is no approved standard proportion of each item to the total asset. It aids the reader of the statement to understand clearly the ratio or percentage of each item in the statement as a percentage of total assets of the company. The analysis shows that the sample company had a positive influx of cash from operating activities in 2018, but this was overshadowed by a bigger increase in expenditures on investment items. Ultimately, positive cash flow from financing activities left the business with a positive cash position of $13,000.

  • This format is useful for comparing the proportions of assets, liabilities, and equity between different companies, particularly as part of an industry analysis or an acquisition analysis.
  • In the short term, a company's executives can compare the firm's percentages to the industry's average percentages.
  • This type of analysis is often used when performing due diligence for an acquisition, a valuation or any other financial transaction.
  • We used Intel in the examples for this article, but this type of analysis would be very good for looking at much faster growing companies where balance sheets are changing much more dramatically.
  • For trend analysis, it's useful to look at a company's activity from one time period to the next.
  • Therefore, all the percentages are a proportion of the total assets of the company.

As the above scenario highlights, a common size analysis on its own is unlikely to provide a comprehensive and clear conclusion on a company. It must be done in the context of an overall financial normal balance statement analysis, as detailed above. A common size income statement is an income statement in which each line item is expressed as a percentage of the value of sales, to make analysis easier.

What Is The Best Measure Of A Company's Financial Health?

Common-size financial statements present the financial statement amounts as a percentage of a base number. For example, the common-size income statement will report the revenue and expense amounts as percentages of net sales. The common-size balance sheet will report each asset, liability, and owner equity amount as a percentage of total assets. Common‐size analysis expresses each line item on a single year's financial statement as a percent of one line item, which is referred to as a base amount.

common sized balance sheet

Common size financial statements allow companies of different sizes and industries to more accurately compare its financial performance. Common size financial statements are also useful when one business wants to compare its financial performance from one period to another. This takes away the difficulty of comparing the standard financial statements of various companies to analyze financial performance.

Using common size vertical analysis, you can quickly see what percentage of your income is used to support each expense in your business during the month, quarter, or year. You can then use this information to compare your business’s performance to other businesses in your industry. It allows an analyst or investor to see what percentage the company invest in certain assets. It also allows them to see how the company finances the transactions whether it be through debt or equity. This allows an analyst or investor to observe the assets that generate the most wealth for the company which also reveals the overall strategy of the firm.

How Do You Use Common Size Analysis?

All this can be answered very simply by common size balance sheet analysis. The common size cash flow statement shows all items as a percentage of total cash flow. In business, it is necessary for one company to compare its financial performance bookkeeping to that of another company. Learn how common size financial statements are used to compare one company's performance to another. Common size financial statements can be used to compare multiple companies at the same point in time.

common sized balance sheet

It can also give the users of financial statements useful insights into the capital and working capital structure of a business. Using this information, investors and owners of a business can determine an optimal capital and working capital structures of an industry as a whole. Once the optimal structures for the industry are determined, they can use it to compare the information with the specific business. Most accounting computer programs, including QuickBooks, Peachtree, and MAS 90, provide common-size analysis reports. You simply select the appropriate report format and financial statement date, and the system prints the report. Thus accountants using this type of software can focus more on analyzing common-size information than on preparing it.

Common Size Balance Sheet Analysis

The ratios in common size statements tend to have less variation than the absolute values themselves, and trends in the ratios can reveal important changes in the business. Historical comparisons can be made in a time-series analysis to identify such trends. Financial statements are reports that provide information to their users regarding different aspects of the business. Sometimes, businesses prepare financial statements because they are required by relevant rules and regulations. However, some businesses, that are not required by rules and regulations, may also prepare financial statements voluntarily to satisfy the needs of their stakeholders. For example, sole proprietorships, in some jurisdictions are not required to prepare financial statements. However, they may still not choose to do so to provide information regarding the business to banks and other financial institutions to obtain a loan.

QuickBooks Online, actually have at least one common size financial statement available as a standard report. For instance, check out the Profit and Loss Percentage of Total Income report in QuickBooks Online—that’s an example of a vertical common size income statement analysis. Alphabet Inc.’s current assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 2018 to 2019 and from 2019 to 2020. Alphabet Inc.’s property and equipment, net as a percentage of total assets increased from 2018 to 2019 but then slightly decreased from 2019 to 2020. Alphabet Inc.’s non-current assets as a percentage of total assets increased from 2018 to 2019 and from 2019 to 2020. It is convenient to build a common size statement balance sheet because it helps in building trend lines to discover the patterns over a specific period of time.

On the Balance Sheet, the common size analysis expresses each line item as a percent of either Total Assets or Total Liabilities and Equity. Most business owners tend to focus primarily—even exclusively—on the dollar figures on their financial statements. But this myopic focus can lead to inaccurate conclusions about the health of the business. A basic vertical analysis needs an individual statement for a reporting period but comparative statements may be prepared to increase the usefulness of the analysis. For instance, in the above set of figures, the common-size income statement format makes it clear that the company is spending 50% of its sales revenue on producing goods.

common sized balance sheet

Users can compare the position of a business with that of other businesses to identify any changes. Not only can it be used for comparisons between two businesses, but can also be used for comparison of a business with its historical positions. Furthermore, the two types of common size balance sheets, vertical and horizontal, allow for different types of useful comparisons to be made. Therefore, all the percentages are a proportion of the total assets of the company. For Example, Company A has $10 million in total assets, $7 million in total liabilities and $3 million in total equity.

Finance Your Business

All three of the primary financial statements—the income statement , balance sheet, and statement of cash flow—can common sized balance sheet be put through common size analysis. An example of this is an analysis of your expenses as a percentage of income.


Looking at their financial data can reveal their strategy and their largest expenses that give them a competitive edge over other comparable companies. For example, some companies may sacrifice margins to gain a large market share, which increases revenues at the expense of profit margins. Such a strategy allows the company assets = liabilities + equity to grow faster than comparable companies because they are more preferred by investors. One of the benefits of using common size analysis is that it allows investors to identify drastic changes in a company’s financial statement. This mainly applies when the financials are compared over a period of two or three years.

Liquidity refers to how quickly an asset can be turned into cash without affecting its value. Common-size income statement analysis states every line item on the income statement as a percentage of sales.

Create a new balance sheet using these percentages instead of the dollar amounts. In the heading, substitute Common-Size Balance Sheet for Balance Sheet. Alternatively, you can add another column to the traditional balance sheet and include these percentages. It does not convey proper records during times of seasonal fluctuations in various components of assets, liabilities, etc.


This can be helpful for different users such as investors and owners who can make decisions regarding their investment in the business based on the comparison. A common-size balance sheet is an alternative form of the traditional balance sheet that uses percentages instead of dollar amounts. It helps business owners, investors and bankers compare companies of different sizes without revealing actual dollar amounts. In the short term, a company's executives can compare the firm's percentages to the industry's average percentages. They can also use the common-size balance sheet's information to review their long-term assets and liabilities, and address any significant changes. In conclusion, it can be said that a common size balance sheet facilitates an easy comparison of the year-on-year performance of the same company or comparison of different companies of varied sizes.

For other periods of time, the index number is determined by dividing the dollar amount for each period by the base dollar amount and multiplying by 100. The common balance sheet can be presented as two columns with percentages only. However, most commonly, it is presented as an extension of the balance sheet. Two columns are added to the end of the balance sheet representing two years which a balance sheet reports. In these columns, the relative percentages of the balance sheet items are presented.

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