Ratio Analysis

OBJECTIVE:

To understand the information contained in financial statements with a view to know the strength or weaknesses of the firm and to make forecast about the future prospects of the firm and thereby enabling the financial analyst to take different decisions regarding the operations of the firm.


RATIO ANALYSIS:

Fundamental Analysis has a very broad scope. One aspect looks at the general (qualitative) factors of a company. The other side considers tangible and measurable factors (quantitative). This means crunching and analyzing numbers from the financial statements. If used in conjunction with other methods, quantitative analysis can produce excellent results.

Ratio analysis isn't just comparing different numbers from the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. It's comparing the number against previous years, other companies, the industry, or even the economy in general. Ratios look at the relationships between individual values and relate them to how a company has performed in the past, and might perform in the future.

MEANING OF RATIO:

A ratio is one figure express in terms of another figure. It is a mathematical yardstick that measures the relationship two figures, which are related to each other and mutually interdependent. Ratio is express by dividing one figure by the other related figure. Thus a ratio is an expression relating one number to another. It is simply the quotient of two numbers. It can be expressed as a fraction or as a decimal or as a pure ratio or in absolute figures as “ so many times”. As accounting ratio is an expression relating two figures or accounts or two sets of account heads or group contain in the financial statements.

MEANING OF RATIO ANALYSIS:

Ratio analysis is the method or process by which the relationship of items or group of items in the financial statement are computed, determined and presented.
Ratio analysis is an attempt to derive quantitative measure or guides concerning the financial health and profitability of business enterprises. Ratio analysis can be used both in trend and static analysis. There are several ratios at the disposal of an annalist but their group of ratio he would prefer depends on the purpose and the objective of analysis.

While a detailed explanation of ratio analysis is beyond the scope of this section, we will focus on a technique, which is easy to use. It can provide you with a valuable investment analysis tool.

This technique is called cross-sectional analysis. Cross-sectional analysis compares financial ratios of several companies from the same industry. Ratio analysis can provide valuable information about a company's financial health. A financial ratio measures a company's performance in a specific area.

For example, you could use a ratio of a company's debt to its equity to measure a company's leverage. By comparing the leverage ratios of two companies, you can determine which company uses greater debt in the conduct of its business. A company whose leverage ratio is higher than a competitor's has more debt per equity. You can use this information to make a judgment as to which company is a better investment risk.

However, you must be careful not to place too much importance on one ratio. You obtain a better indication of the direction in which a company is moving when several ratios are taken as a group.

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