written by | May 13, 2022

What Is the Common Size Balance Sheet? Explained with Example

A common sizing analysis (CSA) is a method for analysing and interpreting financial statements. It is also popular for the term vertical analysis. This method aids in evaluating an accounting statement's financial situation by looking at each line item in terms of an amount of the basis amount during the time. The base is the sales network for the income statement. We use the value of total assets as the base for the account balance sheet. We portray each line item on the income statement in percentages of the sales total. In addition, we account for every item on the balance sheet in proportion to the total assets.

This analysis aids in understanding the effects of each item included in financial reports. In addition, the common size analysis aids in determining the contribution of every line item in the final report.

The method of common-size analysis is perfect for analysing three financial statements and these include a balance sheet, cash flow statements and income statements. This article will discuss the most frequently used statements we use for common size analysis.

Did you know?

Common size financial statements show that the line items are proportional to an overall base figure instead of absolute figures.

Common Size Balance Sheet Format

Total assets serve as the basis value in the common sizes of balance sheets. Each item on the balance sheet is a fraction of these total assets. The balance sheets reflect the accounting equation.

Assets = Liabilities + Stockholders’ Equity

This figure shows the number of business assets. In addition, it shows how much it owes its shareholders and creditors in the form of liability and equity, respectively. So, business owners or investors can conveniently use a common analysis, which makes analysing the capital structure of a business compared to its competition easy.

Additionally, stakeholders can perform an analysis by looking at every line item on the balance sheet about total assets. For instance, a business owner could determine the annual amount of profits that the company retained, and they can compare the retained earnings with the total assets as a base. If the amount of long-term loans in contrast to total assets is excessive, the company has an extreme debt.

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Using Common Size Financial Statements

Financial statements of common size are not for use in financial reporting. However, they are beneficial to analysts or investors looking to compare companies or even evaluate the same company across different financial times. This is especially useful for comparing businesses of various dimensions. They can also help you find the root of the business before they become a problem. These statements enable a company to examine how the proportions of specific items, like the price of goods sold, have changed over time. 

The common size financial statement enables analysts or investors to assess various companies or even the same company across different periods by expressing the items as percentages of the base. Income statements, balance sheets and statements of cash flow are among the most common statements we present in the form of financial statements that are common sizes. So, if there's an issue, the business will begin to solve the issue. Common size analysis could be perfect for calculating the cash flow statement, balance sheets, or income statement.

Financial statements of common size come in different types, and each type uses various financial figures to standardise. These are the kinds of statements that are common in size:

Common Size Balance Sheet

A balance sheet provides an overview of equity funds, liabilities, and the assets and liabilities of a business in the period. The period could be annual or quarterly in a balance sheet, assets = liabilities + equity of stockholders. In a typical format, balance sheet elements are presented in percentages of their base values. The assets represent a percentage of total assets. Similar to equity funds and liabilities.

Common Size Income Statement

Most people think of an income report as an income statement or a loss or profit statement. It summarises sales, expenses and net earnings for the financial reporting period. The income statement reveals everything in a percentage of the sales total. In an income statement, net income = sales expense. The income statement reveals its expenses, sales, and net earnings during the specific accounting period. The income statement reflects a company's sales and subtracts the costs and any adjustments to calculate the net earnings. The standard size income statement uses sales as the basic number and other items in terms of the percentage of this figure.

Common Size Statements of Cash Flow

A cash flow report reveals how cash moves into and out of the company and gives information on the sources and use of cash. Cash flows from firms' investments, daily operations and financing are the subsections in the flow statement.

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Limitations on Typical Size of Financial Statements

The financial statement, in general, contains diverse limitations due to the various interpretative approaches to the information. These limitations include:

  • Companies that use different accounting practices when they prepare reports on their financials at different dates. A company might have different accounting policies. Financial analysts must modify the information to ensure they follow the same procedures to create financial statements.
  • It isn't easy to compare accounting periods because the businesses may have different accounting calendars.
  • Inconsistencies in the preparation of financial statements render the standard size consideration in assessing an organisation's performance.
  • The common size financial statements don't give specific information to clients when there are fluctuations in the various financial components.

What Is a Common Size Cash Flow Statement?

After knowing about a common size balance sheet, now is the time to understand a flow statement. A cash flow report outlines the sources of a company's cash and how the company makes use of its cash. The report outlines how the business utilised its money in three distinct areas: operations, investing and financing. Then, these sections provide specifics on the cash sources and how cash was used in these various aspects of the operation.

There are two distinct ways that the line items of your cash flow statements are shown in the form of percentages of a base figure. The transactions are shown in the total cash flow percentages in certain cash flow statements.

In the other statements of cash flows, operating things are shown as a percentage of the overall cash flow from operations. The items in the investment section are reported as a percentage of the overall investment cash flow. Likewise, those in the finance section are in the form of a percentage of the overall funding cash flows.

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  • It helps the person reading the statement grasp the percentage or ratio of each item on the report as proportional to all business assets.
  • It assists users in determining trends concerning the percentage share of every element on the asset side and the percentage shares from each liability item.
  • A financial user may also use it to assess the financial performance of various companies in a single glance, as each one is calculated as a percentage of assets total, and the user can find any needed ratio effortlessly.
  • A financial user can use it to contrast the financial performances of various entities at one glance. The reason is that each item is in the percentage form of total assets. The user can determine any ratio quite easily.


  • A typical dimension balance sheet is impractical because there isn't any approved standard ratio of each item to the total assets.
  • Suppose the preparation of the balance sheet for a specific business doesn't take place every year consistently. In such cases, performing the common size balance sheet's comparative study can be misleading.


We can conclude that the standard size balance sheet allows an easy assessment of the year-over-year performance of the same company or the comparison of businesses of different sizes. To be more specific, the user can easily see the distribution of a firm's financial structure. Also, they can analyse the ratios to other periods or with other businesses. Analysts can also evaluate companies of different sizes without regard to their size differences, which are present in your basic information. 

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Q: What is the difference between the common size balance sheet and the comparative sheet?


The key difference between these two is that comparative financial statements display years' financial information in percentages and absolute values (sometimes both). In contrast, financial statements display all items in percentage form.

Q: What is the common size balance sheet formula?


Common size percentages = (Amount / Base amount) x 100.

Q: What is the common size balance sheet definition?


A common size balance sheet is a type of balance sheet that shows both the relative percentage and numeric value for total assets, equity accounts and total liabilities.

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