Financial analysis is the process of evaluating business budgets, projects and other finance-related transactions to assess their suitability and performance. It can be deployed to analyse a business’s solvency, stability, profitability or liquidity, giving it the information it needs to plan for both the short and long-term.

Financial analysis is a vital element of a successful business strategy, providing crucial insights into a business’s long-term financial health. Regularly analysing the finance model allows a business to forecast future opportunities and review past performance, thereby determining its scalability.

How to Perform a Basic Financial Analysis

To begin a financial analysis, it’s a good idea to compare the forecast predictions with the actual monthly results. Financial strategy experts like Rob Tolley know the importance of assessing where results exceeded projections and areas in which performance wasn’t as expected.

Next, the business’s profit and loss statement should be reviewed, looking at whether sales goals were achieved and costs remained within budget. The business’s cash flow statement should also be reviewed, again comparing it with previous forecasts.

Finally, the balance sheet should be reviewed, paying careful attention to the assets the business owns and how much money is owed; doing so can provide an early warning, if necessary, that the business has taken on more debt than planned for.

Vertical and Horizontal Financial Analysis

There are several different types of financial analysis: vertical and horizontal are two of the most common. Vertical analysis looks at the different components of a business’s income statement, dividing them by revenue and expressing them as a percentage. This type of analysis is also referred to as a common-sized income statement, and finance professionals  like Rob Tolley, former London broker, understand that it enables analysts to compare businesses of different sizes by evaluating their margins.

Horizontal financial analysis, on the other hand, can help analysts to identify important trends and determine whether a business is growing or declining. This type of analysis involves comparing several years of a business’s financial data to determine growth rate.

For more information about other types of financial analysis, take a look at the embedded PDF.

The Benefits of Financial Analysis Planning

Deploying financial analysis offers many benefits to a business, including giving senior managers the ability to make better decisions and improving service levels. Financial analysis also allows for enhanced transparency and offers businesses the opportunity to increase profit margins and value for stakeholders.