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# Common Size Analysis Overview, Examples, How to Perform

July 23, 2024
Bill Kimball

The cash flow statement provides an overview of the firm’s sources and uses of cash. The cash flow statement is divided among cash flows from operations, cash flows from investing, and cash flows from financing. Each section provides additional information about the sources and uses of cash in each business activity. It’s worth noting that calculating a company’s margins and the common size calculation are the same.

## Link to Learning: Common-Size Assets and Common-Size Liabilities and Equity

Essentially, it helps evaluate financial statements by expressing the line items as a percentage of the amount. It helps break down the impact that each item on the financial statement has, as well as its overall contribution. For example, suppose a company’s liabilities are too high compared to its total assets. In that case, it can scare off investors because the company has a higher risk of not being able to pay off its debtors in the event of liquidation.

1. Impact on your credit may vary, as credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.
2. You might be able to find them on the websites of companies that specialize in financial analysis.
3. However, a simple tool like Microsoft Excel can be quite handy in making the process easier and faster.

## Balance Sheet Analysis

The common size balance sheet shows the makeup of a company’s various assets and liabilities through the presentation of percentages, in addition to absolute dollar values. This affords the ability to quickly compare the historical trend of various line items or categories and provides a baseline for comparison of two firms of different market capitalizations. Additionally, the relative percentages may be compared across companies and industries. On the Clear Lake Sporting Goods’ common-size balance sheet, we see that current assets remained at 80 percent of total assets from the prior to current year (see Figure 5.25). While the balance in the equipment account did change as a percentage of total assets, equipment remained the same at 20 percent.

## Link to Learning: Common-Size Income Statement

Her areas of expertise include accounting system and enterprise resource planning implementations, as well as accounting business process improvement and workflow design. Jami has collaborated with clients large and small in the technology, financial, and post-secondary fields. Impact on your credit may vary, as credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence.

He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The goodwill level on a balance sheet also helps indicate the extent to which a company has relied on acquisitions for growth. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License .

## Real-World Example of a Common Size Income Statement

Creating this type of financial statement makes for easier analysis between companies. Owner equity, assets, and liabilities are shown in the financial statement as a percentage of total assets. This type of financial statement makes it simpler for analysts to evaluate the profitability of a company over time.

In the above example, accounts receivable is shown as being 27.7% of the total assets, compared to inventory at 0.9%. Clearly, the common size financial statement identifies accounts receivable as the more important item to consider when the business monitors its working capital requirements. Many items in the cash flow statement can be stated as a percent of total sales, similar to an income statement analysis.

XYZ has stability and better profitability, so seemingly it may be a better long-term alternative. Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. The second step is to chart the data because visualizing it will aid in making trends easier to spot. Outliers are frequently excluded or omitted, and the figures will continue to be manipulated until they appear pertinent and realistic to arrive at a meaningful average.

The income statement (also referred to as the profit and loss (P&L) statement) provides an overview of flows of sales, expenses, and net income during the reporting period. The income statement equation is sales minus expenses and adjustments equals net income. This is why the common size income statement defines all items as a percentage of sales. The term “common size” is most often used when analyzing elements of the income statement, but the balance sheet and the cash flow statement can also be expressed as a common size statement. 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.

The main difference is that a common size balance sheet lists line items as a percentage of total assets, liability, and equity, which is different from the normal numerical value. Recall that a key benefit of common-size analysis is comparing the firm’s performance to the industry. Expressing the figures on the income statement and balance sheet as percentages rather than raw dollar figures allows for comparison to other companies regardless of size differences. One version of the common size cash flow statement expresses all line items as a percentage of total cash flow. Common size financial statements reduce all figures to a comparable figure, such as a percentage of sales or assets. Each financial statement uses a slightly different convention in standardizing figures.

You might be able to find them on the websites of companies that specialize in financial analysis. You can see that long-term debt averages around 34% of total assets over the two-year period, which is reasonable. Cash ranges between 5% and 8.5% of total assets and short-term debt accounts for about 5% of total assets over the two years. Accordingly by producing a balance sheet at the end of each accounting period, it is possible to monitor changes in each line item over time.

As can be seen in the example above the two business are in two very different industries and the balance sheet analysis clearly highlights the differences irrespective of their relevant size. 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. One advantage of applying standard size analysis is the ability to spot significant changes in a company’s financial statement. The analysis results indicate that company XYZ finances its operations mainly through equity instead of debt. This evaluation sheds light on a company’s capital structure and how it stacks up against its competitors.

A common-size financial statement displays line items as a percentage of one selected or common figure. Creating common-size financial statements makes it easier to analyze a company over time and compare it to its peers. Using common-size financial statements helps spot trends that a raw financial statement may not uncover. A company has \$8 million in total assets, \$5 million in total liabilities, and \$3 million in total equity. Therefore, along with reporting the dollar amount of cash, the common size financial statement includes a column that reports that cash represents 12.5% (\$1 million divided by \$8 million) of total assets.

A common-size analysis helps put analysis in context on a percentage basis. However, it’s important to recognize that some of these limitations come due to various interpretations of the data being observed. One of the biggest benefits is that it provides investors with information to see changes in the financial statement of a company.

In this next section we will explore the requirements for what needs to be reported, when, and to whom. As previously mentioned, the joint statement sees all the financial items standardized as a percentage of net revenue, for example. The sales, gross profit, EBITDA, net income, or other measures are typically included in the comparative table along with the average or median multiples of the comparable companies. The comparative analysis looks for ratios of similar public businesses in the industry and compares them to evaluate another company’s value. Hence, this analysis makes the strategies of other businesses in the industry more apparent and can help the company evaluate how to deal with its competitors in the future. It is also an excellent tool for comparing businesses operating in the same sector.