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What is a Common Size Balance Sheet? Definition Meaning Example

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. As with the common size income statement analysis, the common size cash flow statement analysis largely relies on total revenue as the base figure. Here, you’ll render items on your cash flow statement as a percentage of net revenue. This analysis lets you see how effectively you’re leveraging the cash in your business, beyond just dollars flowing into and out of your bank account. A common size financial statement displays items as a percentage of a common base figure, total sales revenue, for example.

  • The most significant benefit of a common size analysis is that it can let you identify large or drastic changes in a firm’s financials.
  • The financial statement only captures the financial position of a company on a specific day.
  • Public companies, on the other hand, are required to obtain external audits by public accountants, and must also ensure that their books are kept to a much higher standard.
  • Now you can easily compare this balance sheet with another and get your required information quickly because you can compare ratios more easily than figures.
  • If a company takes out a five-year, $4,000 loan from a bank, its assets (specifically, the cash account) will increase by $4,000.

The cash flow statement shows how a company generated and spent cash throughout a given timeframe. However, financial statements frequently include all of these components in percentage terms. Establishing a peer group of comparable businesses in the same sector or locale that is similar in size is the first step in performing a comparative company analysis. Investors can then make a relative comparison of a specific company to its rivals.

Common Size Income Statement

Formatting financial statements in this way reduces bias that can occur and allows for the analysis of a company over various periods. This analysis reveals, for example, what percentage of sales is the cost of goods sold and how that value has changed over time. Common size financial statements commonly include the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. The technique can be used to analyze the three primary financial statements, i.e., balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. A common sizing analysis (CSA) is a method for analysing and interpreting financial statements.

  • One of the benefits of using common size analysis is that it allows investors to identify large changes in a company’s financial statements.
  • For example, you might use it to see what percentage of your income is used to support each business expense.
  • You can then conclude whether the debt level is too high, excess cash is being retained on the balance sheet, or inventories are growing too high.
  • The common stock and preferred stock accounts are calculated by multiplying the par value by the number of shares issued.

This common size income statement analysis is done on both a vertical and horizontal basis. A common size analysis is unlikely to provide a comprehensive and clear conclusion on a company on its own. A short-term drop in profitability could indicate just a speed bump rather than a permanent loss in profit margins. Just looking at a raw financial statement makes this more difficult, but looking up and down a financial statement using a vertical analysis allows an investor to catch significant changes at a company. A common size analysis helps put analysis in context on a percentage basis. A net profit margin is simply net income divided by sales, which is also a common size analysis.

What is Common Size Balance Sheet Analysis?

For example, if the value of long-term debt in relation to the total assets value is high, it may signal that the company may become distressed. The image below is an example of a comparative balance sheet of Apple, Inc. This balance sheet compares the financial position of the company as of September 2020 to the financial position of the company from the year prior. Additional paid-in capital or capital surplus represents the amount shareholders have invested in excess of the common or preferred stock accounts, which are based on par value rather than market price. Shareholder equity is not directly related to a company’s market capitalization.

What is the Common Size Balance Sheet?

Common size vertical analysis lets you see how certain figures in your business compare with a selected figure in one given time period. For example, you might use it to see what percentage of your income is used to support each business expense. You can use it to see how your business stacks up percentage-wise with another business, even if that business is substantially larger. The key benefit of a common size analysis is that it allows for a vertical analysis by line item over a single period, such as quarterly or annually.

What are the Recognition Criteria for Assets in the Balance Sheet?

Additionally, the relative percentages may be compared across companies and industries. A common size balance sheet is a balance sheet that displays both the numeric value and relative percentage for total assets, total liabilities, and equity accounts. Common size balance sheets are used by internal and external analysts and are not a reporting requirement of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). First of all, it allows for comparison between relative percentages of balance sheet line items. This allows the user of the financial statements to easily identify any drastic changes within the balances for the years reported. However, for the comparison to be possible, the balance sheet should report at least two years of percentages.

You can use it in financial analysis to compare the relative results of two or more companies. Get instant access to lessons taught by experienced private equity pros and bulge bracket investment bankers including financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel Modeling. However, the comparative analysis deals with the data of multiple companies and evaluates their relative value after establishing a base.


A comparable company analysis assumes that similar businesses will have relative valuation multiples, such as EV/EBITDA. The available data for the companies under examination is compiled by analysts, who then compute the valuation multiples to compare them. The comparative analysis looks for ratios of similar public businesses in the industry and compares them to evaluate another company’s value. Repurchase activity on shares can be expressed as a percentage of total revenue.

Common size analysis is used to calculate net profit margin, as well as gross and operating margins. The ratios tell investors and finance managers how the company is doing in terms of revenues, and can be used to make predictions of future revenues and expenses. Companies can also use this tool to analyze competitors to know the proportion of revenues that goes to advertising, research and development, and other essential expenses.

Liquidity refers to how quickly an asset can be turned into cash without affecting its value. For this reason, the top line of the financial statement would list the cash account with a value of $1 million. As mentioned above, common size balance sheets also allow for better comparisons. 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.