In order to ascertain how well a company is performing, analyses must be done in regard to the business being stable, including its’ ability to pay debts, how much cash or other liquid assets are available, and whether the organization is viable enough to continue operations. These analyses typically look at income statements, balance sheets, and statements of cash flow, where current and past performance will be studied with the goal of predicting how the company will perform in the future. There are four ways in which the Competition Bikes will be evaluated. First, we will look at a horizontal analysis.

This is a comparative study of a balance sheet or income statement for two or more accounting periods, to compute both total and relative variances for each line item. (businessdictionary. com) Second, the company will be judged based on a vertical analysis. This is done by way of financial statement analysis in which each entry for the three major categories of accounts -- assets, liabilities and equities in a balance sheet, is represented as a proportion of the total account. (investopedia. com) The third method we will use to evaluate the bike company is through trend analysis.

This type of analysis is often employed to identify current and future movements of an investment or group of investments, and may involve comparing past and current financial ratios as they relate to various institutions in order to project how long the current trend will continue. (wisegeek. com) And last, a ratio analysis will be studied by looking at the broad method by which financial data is converted into simple mathematic ratios for comparison. (ratioanalysis. org) Horizontal Analysis When looking at Competition Bikes Inc, we will be comparing their sixth and seventh years, and then their seventh and eighth years.

This will allow us to gauge the performance over a significant period of time to see if the organization’s business is rising, staying steady or falling. For example, if net sales were ten thousand dollars in year one, and eleven thousand dollars in year two, this would be seen as a ten percent increase. Using the horizontal analysis worksheet, we see that Competition Bikes realized an increase in net sales between years six and seven by over thirty percent. This was followed in years seven and eight by a decline of fifteen percent.

While the net sales in year eight were better (+13%) than year six, sales did fall from the previous year. Another key indicator to look at is gross profits, where the difference between net sales and the cost of goods sold is calculated. In our case, for years six and seven we see an increase of over thirty seven percent, but a decrease of over sixteen percent between years seven and eight. This could be caused by either selling less, through an increase in the cost of goods sold, or a combination of the two. One very important aspect when examining how any business is able to make and sustain profitability is the operating cycle.

This looks at how quickly a company is turning over their receivables, inventory and payables. By lowering the operating cycle, businesses are able to manage their assets more efficiently. Using figures derived from days inventory outstanding, days sales outstanding and days payable outstanding, a business can determine how long inventory is staying in the pipeline, and how long it is taking to sell and collect payment on that inventory. This is done by finding the cost of goods sold (from income statement) and dividing by 365, which will yield the sales per day.

Then determining the average inventory (from balance sheet) by adding previous inventory plus ending inventory and dividing by 2, and finally, taking the result of the average inventory and dividing by the cost of sales per day. For Competition Bikes this results in a figure that shows a decrease over the course of two years. Lower is better, and clearly signals that sales are increasing in comparison to inventory. Another promising sign is the cash conversion cycle. This is a metric expressing the time (in days) that it takes a business to translate resources into cash.

In this case it calculates out to a lessening conversion cycle, which points to asset liquidity through a short receivables time span with a long payables period. This is another sign that Competition Bikes is efficiently managing its’ resources. Lets take a look at the expenses listed under “general and administrative” on the horizontal analysis worksheet. These particular expenses are costs a business incurs when performing normal operations. For years six and seven there was an increase of a little over 20%, or approximately 156 thousand dollars. Then in years seven and eight there was another slight increase.

In order to maintain consistent or increased profits without raising prices and/or selling into new markets in order to increase sales figures, a business would have to cut expenses. Next comes “operating income”, which is revenues minus operating expenses, and generally referred to as EBIT, or earnings before income and taxes. In other words, this is a measurement of a company’s profits before all relevant deductions have been made. In our case, there was a significant increase of nearly 155 percent from year six to seven, and then another increase of over 60 percent in year seven to eight.

The net earnings of Competition Bikes is up well over 300 percent for the first years of comparison, but declined over 80 percent between year seven and eight. This clearly indicates that factors have changed during the last two years that are directly impacting the bottom line of the business. Moving on to company assets, the “cash and cash equivalents” portion of the income statement shows a decrease of nearly 55 percent on a decline of over 142 thousand dollars, but during the year seven and eight horizontal analysis there was a significant increase in cash assets by almost 350 percent.

These are assets that are cash, or can be readily converted into cash. Balance that with the “total liabilities” which is the combination of all debt Competition Bikes is liable for. As can be seen on the worksheet, the liabilities increased a small amount from year six to seven, but decreased over the next two years. Increasing assets and decreasing liabilities of any company means the long-term sustainability is good. And last, we look at stockholder’s equity. This refers to how much capital investors have put into the business. In other words, this should represent positive differences between assets and liabilities.

For Competition Bikes, from year six to seven this margin increased by a little over 3 percent, or approximately 70 thousand dollars. While slightly increasing, investors prefer to see a larger gain. Between years seven and eight the equity increased by almost one and a half percent. While not a large increase, at least this was a step in the right direction. Vertical analysis Through a vertical analysis, we can take a look at entries for assets, liabilities and equities. These are represented as a proportion, or percentage of the totals for any given year.

The main advantage of a vertical analysis is that it is easy to read, clearly understandable and charts changes in the operations of a business on a yearly basis. By looking at a vertical analysis a person can see financial performance over a period of time. Lets start by looking on the revenue side. By calculating what the relationship is between net sales less cost of goods sold, we can see that our gross profits are remaining steady at roughly 27 percent. In other words, the cost of goods sold is approximately three quarters of the amount of net sales.

These two measurements would probably be considered the best barometer of how efficiently a company is operating. Likewise, when we consider the operating expenses for selling products and running the company, we see that they are relatively steady with only a slight fluctuation of a few percentage points either up or down, with all the variation coming from differences in general and administrative expenses. Given the minor fluctuation of expenses over time, there seems to be a good internal control system in place. This holds costs in check while being able to concentrate on sales.

Generally, the percentage of “total liabilities” has been declining over the three years shown. This represents the company’s ability to retire debt, and as the worksheet shows, the proportion of total stockholder equity has been holding steady as well. By holding the line on expenses, retiring debt and maintaining stockholder equity. Competition Bikes has been able to operate in a very efficient manner, while growing the company’s assets at a rate of 5 to 6 percent per year. Trend analysis The goal of performing trend analysis is to collect information over a period of time, and to use that data to spot a pattern, or trend.

Under this scenario of comparative analysis, the finances of a company are evaluated over in order to predict future potential based on past performance. When we look at Competition Bikes historical data for net sales, there is a year over year gain, with the exception of year 8. To start, from year 6 to year 7 there was a significant uptick in sales by a little over 33 percent. While net sales declined in year eight by approximately 17 percent from the previous year, they still represented a gain over year 6. For each subsequent year following the eighth, there should be a steady rise in sales.

Because there is very little change in expenses, even though sales dropped off, the profitability of the company remained strong. This trend is predicted to hold through the remainder of years 9 through 11. Given the steadily increasing sales, the company would be attractive to investors looking for steady but reliable future growth. While sales are rising slowly, the net income continues to see increases that are in tandem. Ratio analysis Ratio analysis is the conversion of financial data into simple math ratios in order to use for comparing with other, similar businesses.

Data from past years that is widely available through public financial statements can be analyzed and compared to other organizations, and the results of these comparisons can provide vital information when making decisions. For the case of Competition Bikes, I will be using four different metrics to calculate the financial well being of a company. They are liquidity ratio, debt to equity ratio, return on equity ratio and net profit margin ratio. There are three types of liquidity ratios that we will look at.

The current ratio is considered to be a barometer of a company’s liquidity, and shows the relationship between working capital and its availability to meet present obligations. It is calculated by doing the following: current assets ? current liabilities Competition Bikes, Inc. Year 6 1,029,303/105,080= 9. 8 Year 7 1,353,044/233,700= 5. 8 Year 8 1,575,831/300,200= 5. 2 The current ratio of Competition Bikes is decreasing slightly over the three-year period shown, but the ratio that is commonly thought to be acceptable would be anything above 2, and higher current ratios are always better.

Since these ratios calculated out to well above that figure, this business would have no problem meeting its short-term debts. Next, another type of liquidity ratio is the quick ratio or acid test. This is used to measure the liquidity of a company, and its ability to meet financial obligations. The quick ratio is used to determine a company’s financial strength or weakness, where higher numbers mean there is a stronger probability, while lesser numbers mean weaker probability, of ability to pay off short-term debt. Quick ratios are calculated as follows: (current assets – inventories) ? urrent liabilities Competition Bikes, Inc. Year 6 1,029,303 – 203,300 = 826,003/105,080 = 7. 85 Year 7 1,353,044 – 219,068 = 1133976/233,700 = 4. 84 Year 8 1,575,831 – 221833 = 1353998/300,200 = 4. 5 The quick ratio is an indicator of a company's short-term liquidity. It measures the company's capacity to meet its short-term debts with the most liquid of assets, but is more conservative than the current ratio because it excludes the inventory. This is done for the reason that companies may have difficulty converting inventory into cash should an immediate need arise.

The higher the quick ratio, the better the position of the company, where a value of less than 1 may mean the business might have difficulty meeting its short term obligations. While Competition Bikes has a declining ration, it is still well above what is commonly considered acceptable. This points to their ability to pay their short-term debt. The last type of liquidity ratio is the cash ratio. This ratio is generally the most conservative calculation of liquid assets because it removes inventory and accounts receivable from the equation, and is the best measurement of a company’s liquidity.

By using this ratio, it is possible to determine if a business can pay off its short-term debt. Typically this is the measurement that will be used by creditors to determine how much credit they would be willing to extend, and is simply the ratio of a cash assets to current liabilities. Cash ratios are calculated as follows: cash + short term investments/current liabilities Competition Bikes, Inc. Year 6 261,000 + 198,500 = 459500/105,080 = 4. 37 Year 7 92,376 + 220,000 = 312376/233,700 = 1. 34 Year 8 414,038 + 220000 = 634038/300,200 = 2. 1 The cash ratio is a further refinement of quick and current ratios, and ndicates a company's liquidity. This is done through the measurement of cash on hand, cash equivalents and short-term investments in relationship to current liabilities. Cash ratios are the most conservative of the liquidity ratios because it only looks at the assets that are highly liquid. It is unusual for companies to have the cash on hand to cover all current liabilities, and these ratios are generally lower than other measures of liquidity. When compiling financial reports, these ratios are not used very often because it is realistic for a company to maintain the levels of cash necessary to pay off all current liabilities.

It is generally accepted that businesses do not hold large amounts of cash. Competition Bikes has a very good cash ratio, and while it had declined from year 6 to year 7, the ratio has improved in year 8. This company is highly liquid. A class of financial metrics that are used to assess a business's ability to generate earnings as compared to its expenses and other relevant costs incurred during a specific period of time. For most of these ratios, having a higher value relative to a competitor's ratio or the same ratio from a previous period is indicative that the company is doing well.

The debt-to-equity ratio is a measurement of how much a company's creditors have committed versus what the shareholders have committed. This ratio is calculated by dividing total liabilities by stockholders' equity, and indicates what proportion of equity and debt the company is using to finance its assets. Debt-to-equity is calculated as follows: total liabilities ? shareholders’ equity Competition Bikes, Inc. Year 6 1,995,080/2,204,223 = . 905 Year 7 2,018,700/2,274,344 = . 887 Year 8 1,980,200/2,305,631 = . 858

The debt-to-equity ratio is a key financial analysis ratio that is used to evaluate a company's financial standing by measuring their ability to repay debts. The optimal debt-to-equity ratio should be about 1, where liabilities are equal to equity. However, these ratios can be tied to particular industries, where companies with more long-term investments have higher ratios. If the debt-to-equity ratio is increasing, creditors are financing the company. This is not the preferred situation in regard to both lenders and investors, because less debt to creditors means interests are better protected in the event of a business decline.

Typically, having a high debt-to-equity ratio means not being able to draw additional lending. The lower the debt-to-equity ratio, the better. Competition Bikes debt-to-equity ratio is very good, and has held fairly steady over the three-year analysis period. This demonstrates that the company relies on shareholder equity to do their financing, rather than through loans. These factors point to minimal long-term borrowing needs, meaning the business doesn’t use long-term debt to finance its operation. Maintaining a low ratio is the usual approach, because future solvency is not impacted.

The return on equity ratio indicates the returns, by way of net profits, to the shareholders of the company, and is measured as a percentage of shareholder equity. This ratio measures how much profit a company is able to generate with money that shareholders have invested, as opposed to what creditors have loaned a business. It is also a useful ratio at determining success with managing resources, and is especially useful for privately owned businesses that have no easy way of determining the market value of owners’ equity.

Return on equity ratios are calculated as follows: net income ? shareholders’ equity Competition Bikes, Inc. Year 6 41,148/2,204,223 = . 0186 or approximately 1. 8% Year 7 170,121/2274344 = . 0748 or approximately 7. 5% Year 8 31,286/2,305,631 = . 0135 or approximately 1. 3% The ratio of return on equity from year 6 to 7 improved substantially through the realization of a large gain in net income, while at the same time having shareholder equity remain largely unchanged. Then from year 7 to 8 the ratio nosedived to below what is was in the first year of comparison.

This declination in ratio is indicative of the inability of the company to make profits with the investments made by its shareholders. The company seems to be trending downward, and is unable to produce sufficient earnings for its investors. There are many analysts that view return on equity to be the most important ratio for stockholders to look at, and is indicative of how well a company’s management is performing. Lower numbers mean Competition Bikes may not be spending wisely, and is not very profitable. The net profit margin is a ratio measuring the profits of a company, and is used to measure how well a company controls costs.

This calculation refers to money left for the owners, after all sales, expenses and taxes are paid. Higher net profits mean the company is more effective at translating sales into actual profit. Net profit margins may also provide clues into a company's pricing policies, costs and efficiency of production. This ratio is useful in looking at performance over a period of time. It is calculated as: net profit ? net sales Competition Bikes, Inc. Year 6 41,148/1,191,000 = . 0345 or approximately 3. 4% Year 7 170,121/5,980,000 = . 0284 or approximately 2. 8% Year 8 1,286/5,083,000 = . 006 or approximately . 6% In looking at these net profit margins over the course of three years, Competition Bikes is in a severe decline. While the drop off between year 6 and 7 was only a little more than half of one percent, going from year 7 to 8 showed well over 2 percent less. This means the company is not efficient with in controlling costs, and must get a handle on their expenditures. The rise in costs could be attributed to raw materials costing more, rising salaries, declining sales or lowered sales prices due to competition.

The bike company needs to gets its costs under control if it expects to survive. Working Capital Working capital is the amount of current or liquid assets a company has, after subtracting its current liabilities. Working capital is sometimes called operating capital, and is a valuation of liquidity the organization has to run and build their business. In general, companies with greater amounts of working capital are better able to achieve success by utilizing their assets to invest back into the business.

While a business may have a large amount of assets, it may be very difficult to convert them into cash in order to take advantage of opportunities that require fast action. If current liabilities are more than current assets, a working capital deficit is created, and a business cannot survive for long when in this situation. The calculation is as follows: current assets – current liabilities Competition Bikes, Inc. Year 6 1,029,303 – 105,080 = 924,223 Year 7 1,353,044 – 233,700 = 1,119,344 Year 8 1,575,831 – 300,200 = 1,275,631

The working capital of year six was 924,223, with year seven posting a gain up to 1,119,344. This was again increased in the year eight results at a total of 1,275,631. This equates to an increase from year 6 to 7 of over 21%, and another increase from year 7 to 8 of approximately14%. The rising amounts in working capital demonstrate that the company has been steadily increasing their working capital during the three-year period. The consistent rise in available liquid assets confirms that the business has sufficient working capital to make advances in creating more profits.

There are several ways in which to improve the working capital. Since more profit and/or more cash on hand equates to more working capital, steps should first be undertaken to increase profit through reduction in expenses. This could be accomplished by systematically auditing all processes and procedures of the business and streamlining wherever possible. Second, by issuing more stock, the company could increase their available working capital. Third, replacing short-term debt by converting to long-term debt would lessen the amount of current liabilities, and free up funds to invest in something else.

Four, by converting all non-cash liquid assets into cash, the organization could make available, additional funds to spend. And last, by speeding up the accounts receivables cycle, and collecting money more quickly, the business would be able to have this money in hand. By maintaining a positive working capital the business would be able to undertake initiatives to improve their profitability. These liquid assets could be used to increase production, hire more employees, purchase other businesses, or expand the operations into additional buildings in order to accommodate an increase in orders.

By spending money on the “latest and greatest” equipment in order to increase efficiency you will realize more productivity from workers. This can include things such as better computer systems that are able to automate the sales process, as well as manufacturing equipment that has a higher production capability. Growing a business can be done in many ways, but the easiest ways are by spending money in order to make money. One method is to increase the number of new clients by hiring more salespeople that can cover more territory.

Another way is to increase the amount billed for each transaction, by offering sales incentives. And last, you can use marketing dollars to increase the frequency at which purchases are made by way of repeat business. Purchasing system evaluation Every business must have internal controls in place to create a system of checks and balances that safeguard company assets and resources. These controls include things such as audits, reviews and procedures, all of which are designed to allow the organization to conduct business in an orderly and efficient manner.

As we can see, the company has put some checks into place when purchases are made. First, the orders are based on budget projections that mirror the amount of needed raw materials. This ties the employees doing the purchasing, to a system that can be checked for accuracy. Because there will be a record of the monthly projections and the corresponding order that was placed, there will be an audit trail that can verify validity. Next, there is a requirement of getting three bids before an order can be placed.

This removes the temptation of doing underhanded deals with a particular vendor. Then, as materials are received the items are delivered to the production line for use. This allows the purchasing department to check the items received against the items ordered, to make sure the order is complete before it is made available for use. At the end of the month whatever parts are left get sent to the storage area that is used for excess material. The last internal control that is in place is the accounting department being given the invoice by purchasing for final payment.

This process puts in place, the appropriate oversight by the accounting department, whereby the same person(s) ordering are not writing the checks. If this were not the case, there would be potential for financial improprieties to occur. While there are some controls in place, there is a general lack of process centered around accounting for the inventory. The purchasing department buys raw materials based on the projected budget for the month. If they were to balance projected material needs against the amount of material left over from the previous month, the system would be less wasteful and more manageable.

This would also allow them to keep tight reign on the already purchased materials inventory by carrying the remaining inventory forward. Then the company would be able to save money by reducing the material in storage, eliminating the need for storage space and buying things as the need arises. In addition, there is no procedure for signing off on receiving material, getting approval to move material to storage at the end of the month or for signing in order to have the invoice paid.

There should be a method creates a paper trail over the entire course of tracking the purchases. I recommend the following course of action: 1) Purchasing is instigated through the use of monthly budget projections 2) The required amount based on projected budget is checked against the leftover inventory on the production run 3) The amount of materials left in inventory should be used to reduce the new order 4) Purchasing gets bids from three sources for similar quality materials and selects low bidder 5)Purchasing issues a PO to chosen supplier ) Supervisor checks work of the procurement clerk and signs off on order 7) PO is sent to chosen supplier by purchasing, on the first of projected month 8) Upon receipt, materials received are compared against the order and a supervisor validates what was purchased/received 9) If correct, order is taken to production floor for use 10) Purchasing sends invoice to accounting department to write check to pay 11) Accounting supervisor gives OK for invoice to be paid 12) Cycle begins all over the next month by taking inventory of what still remains on the production floor.

There are several risks at play in light of the company’s internal controls. First, since there are no procedures in place for managing the inventory, the company is opening itself up to the possibility of theft. Once the raw materials leave the purchasing department and get taken to the production floor, there is no way to account for what has been used. Then, at the end of the month when the left over parts are taken to inventory storage there is no way to determine exactly what is left.

Another area of risk is the lack of approval process, and no supervisors being given the ultimate responsibility for creating checks throughout the process. In conjunction with this same area of threat, there is no system in place for accounting to cross check the purchases before they receive the invoice. If the accounting department was required to sign off on the order before it went out, they would be able to provide another check to see if budget lined up to orders, and carried through to the invoice being paid.

Sarbanes-Oxley compliance Back in 2002 the federal legislators felt they needed to act in the wake of the Enron and Worldcom debacles. These two companies were caught falsifying their accounting records to cover up misdeeds. Because the falsified information was published in the balance sheets, income statements and annual reports, people invested their money and lost millions of dollars. The resulting action was creation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) that is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This was a piece of legislation that was designed to protect shareholders and the general public from errors in accounting and unscrupulous financial practices. The act provided rules and requirements for the retention and storage of electronic documents. These rules impact the financial side of companies, as well as IT departments that are charged with storage of electronic records. This act specifies that electronic records and electronic messages must be saved for at least five years. There are three rules associated with SOX.

The first rule makes it a crime to alter, destroy or falsify records or documents. Second, this legislation lays out rules for accountants performing audits. When auditing a company that issues securities through the SEC, all paperwork that is produced during the audit must be retained for five years. And last, the act specifies the type of documents that must be stored. This includes any audit related documents, electronic communications created or received during the course of an audit and any financial data.

In regard to Competition Bikes and its compliance with SOX, the company believes they are adequately addressing the requirements of the legislation. However, there has been an audit finding that points out the possibility of “material misstatement” on the company’s annual or interim financial reports. In short, this means there is the chance that false information is reported in the financial statements. This could be either accidental or intentional, but could impact the company’s stock prices.

Based on the available information, this is possible because of the lax control over the materials inventory. There exists a loophole in the purchasing process whereby at the end of each month the remaining production materials inventory is sent to storage without accounting for what has been used. This opens up the company to theft of materials without even knowing something has been taken. Another area that is problematic is not having a system of checks and balances in place when creating orders and paying for them.

The purchasing department does the buying without getting higher-level approval, and the accounting department pays the bills strictly on the authority of the purchasing people. This leaves the door open for fraudulent purchases because no one is overseeing what is being bought, and nobody is checking to see if the inventory has been received. Competition Bikes should put some procedures in place that more tightly control the purchasing and inventory of materials. One that controls how much gets ordered, who oversees the process, and how the vendors get paid once the products arrive.

First, the purchasing department should account for any remaining inventory at the end of the month and only purchase additional materials that are needed. The current practice has materials being put into storage at the end of each month without being inventoried, with complete replacements being ordered based on projected needs. By scrutinizing raw materials, and how they get purchased, overspending and theft opportunities are alleviated. Second, before orders are placed, a single responsible party needs to sign off on all purchases, thus creating a system of checks and balances.

Third, the accounting department needs to be involved in the receiving/inventorying in order to maintain oversight of products and the associated payments. And last, the accounting and purchasing departments need to work collaboratively in order to create oversight of each purchasing/inventory/payment process. By having the separate departments involved in each step along the purchasing process, the opportunity for improprieties to exist is greatly lessened. References Horizontal Analysis: Definition (n. d. ) In businessdictionary. om Retrieved February 24, 2013, from http://www. businessdictionary. com/definition/horizontal-analysis. html Vertical Analysis: Definition (n. d. ) In investopedia. com Retrieved February 24, 2013, from http://www. investopedia. com/terms/v/vertical_analysis. asp Trend Analysis: Definition (n. d. ) In wisegeek. com Retrieved February 25, 2013, from http://www. wisegeek. com/what-is-trend-analysis. htm Ratio Analysis: Definition (n. d. ) In ratioanalysis. org Retrieved February 25, 2013, from http://www. ratioanalysis. org/