Techniques Used in Ratio Analysis
Ratio, as the name suggests, is nothing more than one number divided by the other. However, they become useful when they are put in some sort of context. This means that when an analysts looks at the number resulting out of a ratio calculation he/she must have a reasonable basis to compare it with. Only when the analyst looks at the number and compares it what the ideal state of affairs should be like, do the numbers become powerful tool of management and financial analysis.
Dividing numbers and obtaining ratios is therefore not the main skill. In fact this part can be automated and done by the computer. Companies wouldnt want to pay analysts for doing simple division, would they?. The real skill lies in being able to interpret these numbers. Here are some common techniques used in the interpretation of these numbers.
Horizontal analysis is an industry jargon for comparison of the same ratio over time. Once a ratio is calculated, it is compared with what the value was in the previous quarter, the previous years, or many years in case the analyst is trying to make a trend. This provides more information of two grounds. They are:
Cross sectional ratio analysis is the industry jargon used to denote comparison of ratios with other companies. The other companies may or may not belong to the same industry. Cross sectional analysis helps an analyst understand how well a company is performing relative to its peers. In a way this removes the effect of business cycles. There are many variations of cross sectional analysis. They are as follows:
- What is Ratio Analysis ?
- Different Users of Ratio Analysis
- Limitations of Ratio Analysis
- Capital Structure Ratio
- Debt to Equity Ratio
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