## Using Financial Ratios for Analysis

An overview of how financial ratios are used to aid in company analysis is presented in this lesson. Financial ratios are used for industry comparisons, benchmarking, and trend analysis. This section also presents some limitations of financial ratio analysis to consider when evaluating firms.

With a few exceptions, the majority of the data used in ratio analysis comes from evaluation of the financial statements.

#### LEARNING OBJECTIVE

• Differentiate between recurring and non-recurring items in financial reports

#### KEY POINTS

• Ratio analysis is a tool for evaluating financial statements but also relies on the numbers in the reported financial statements being put into order to be used for comparison. With a few exceptions, the majority of the data used in ratio analysis comes from the financial statements.
• Prior to the calculation of financial ratios, reported financial statements are often reformulated and adjusted by analysts to make the financial ratios more meaningful as comparisons across time or across companies.
• In terms of reformulation, earnings might be separated into recurring and non-recurring items. In terms of adjustment of financial statements, analysts may adjust earnings numbers up or down when they suspect the reported data is inaccurate due to issues like earnings management.

#### TERMS

• valuation

The process of estimating the market value of a financial asset or liability.

• earnings management

A euphemism, such as creative accounting, to refer to fraudulent accounting practices that manipulate reporting of income, assets or liabilities with the intent to influence interpretations of the income statements.

Ratio analysis is a tool for evaluating financial statements but also relies on the numbers in the reported financial statements being put into order to be used as ratios for comparison over time or across companies. Financial statements are used as a way to discover the financial position and financial results of a business. With a few exceptions, such as ratios involving stock price, the majority of the data used in ratio analysis comes from the financial statements. Ratios put this financial statement information in context.

Evaluating financial statements involves getting the numbers in order and then using these figures to perform ratio analysis.

Prior to the calculation of financial ratios, reported financial statements are often reformulated and adjusted by analysts to make the financial ratios more meaningful as comparisons across time or across companies. In terms of reformulation, one common reformulation is to divide reported items into recurring or normal items and non-recurring or special items. In this way, earnings could be separated into normal or core earnings and transitory earnings with the idea that normal earnings are more permanent and hence more relevant for prediction and valuation. In terms of adjustment of financial statements, analysts may adjust earnings numbers up or down when they suspect the reported data is inaccurate due to issues like earnings management.

The evaluation of a company's financial statement analysis is a form of fundamental analysis that is bottoms up. While analysis of a company's prospects can include a number of factors, including understanding the economic situation or the industry or sentiment about the company or its products, ratio analysis of a company relies on the specific company financials.

Source: Boundless