Analyze and Compare the Financial Statements of Companies

Analyze and Compare the Financial Statements of Companies

A company’s choice of inventory valuation method can have a significant impact on the presentation of its financial statements. Financial items such as cost of sales, gross profit, net income, inventories, current assets, and total assets as well as the financial ratios computed from them, will be impacted.

It is therefore very important that consideration is given to these factors when analyzing and comparing the financial statements of companies that rely on different inventory methods. For example, a restatement from the LIFO method to the FIFO method is critical for making a valid comparison between a company that uses the LIFO method and another that uses a method other than the LIFO method.

Analysis and Comparison of Financial Statements of Companies Which Use Different Inventory Methods

To illustrate the analysis and comparison of the financial statements of companies that use different inventory methods, an example will suffice.


The following comparative information is provided for companies A and B, wherein company A uses the LIFO method, while company B uses the FIFO method for valuing inventories:

\text{} & \textbf{Company A (LIFO)} & \textbf{Company B (FIFO)} \\
\text{Inventory} & \text{\$256,000} & \text{\$302,000} \\
\text{Total Assets} & \text{\$1,452,356} & \text{\$1,345,000} \\
\text{Financial Ratios} & \text{} & \text{} \\
\text{Inventory Turnover Ratio} & \text{4.73} & \text{3.12} \\
\text{Days of Inventory on Hand} & \text{76 Days} & \text{115 Days} \\
\text{Gross Profit Margin} & \text{19.18%} & \text{20.24%} \\
\text{Return on Assets} & \text{4.78%} & \text{5.36%} \\
\text{Current Ratio} & \text{1.14} & \text{1.30} \\
\text{Other Indicators} & \text{} & \text{} \\
\text{Inventory to Total Assets} & \text{17.63%} & \text{22.45%} \\
\begin{array}{l} \text{Growth Rate in Finished} \\ \text{Goods Inventory} \end{array} & \text{30.35%} & \text{39.24%} \\
\text{Growth Rate in Sales} & \text{13.98%} & \text{7.82%} \\


  • Company A has a lower percentage of assets tied up in inventory than company B. Company B’s higher inventory level suggests that it may be building up slow-moving or obsolete inventories that could result in future inventory write-offs. It may also have higher maintenance costs associated with its inventory than company A.
  • Company A has a higher inventory turnover ratio and fewer days of inventory on hand than company B. This suggests that company A is more efficient and effective in managing its inventories.
  • Company B, however, appears to be more profitable than company A based on its higher gross profit margin and return on assets. It also seems to be in a better liquidity position based on its higher current ratio.
  • Both company A and B’s growth rate in finished goods inventory exceed the growth rate in sales. This could be indicative of an accumulation of excess inventory.

Question 1

If company ABC’s inventory turnover ratio is 4.12 while company XYZ’s inventory turnover ratio is 3.05, which of the following statements is most accurate?

  1. Companies ABC and XYZ are equally profitable.
  2. Company ABC may be less effective at inventory management than company XYZ.
  3. Company ABC may be more effective at inventory management than company XYZ.


The correct answer is C.

By virtue of company ABC having a higher inventory turnover ratio, it appears to be more effective at inventory management than company XYZ. This makes option B incorrect.

Option A is incorrect also because the conclusion that both companies are equally profitable cannot be drawn from the information provided.

Question 2

An increase in a company’s gross profit margin most likely indicates:

  1. An increase in sales.
  2. Better inventory management.
  3. A decrease in the cost of goods sold.


The correct answer is C.

$$\text{Gross profit margin} = \frac{\text{(Sales – COGS)}}{\text{Sales}}$$

Better inventory management could decrease inventory, but that would neither affect sales nor the cost of sales. The increase of sales only wouldn’t affect the gross profit margin, since both the numerator and the denominator would increase simultaneously.

The decrease in cost of goods sold would increase the numerator which would eventually increase the whole margin.

Shop CFA® Exam Prep

Offered by AnalystPrep

Featured Shop FRM® Exam Prep Learn with Us

    Subscribe to our newsletter and keep up with the latest and greatest tips for success
    Shop Actuarial Exams Prep Shop Graduate Admission Exam Prep

    Sergio Torrico
    Sergio Torrico
    Excelente para el FRM 2 Escribo esta revisión en español para los hispanohablantes, soy de Bolivia, y utilicé AnalystPrep para dudas y consultas sobre mi preparación para el FRM nivel 2 (lo tomé una sola vez y aprobé muy bien), siempre tuve un soporte claro, directo y rápido, el material sale rápido cuando hay cambios en el temario de GARP, y los ejercicios y exámenes son muy útiles para practicar.
    So helpful. I have been using the videos to prepare for the CFA Level II exam. The videos signpost the reading contents, explain the concepts and provide additional context for specific concepts. The fun light-hearted analogies are also a welcome break to some very dry content. I usually watch the videos before going into more in-depth reading and they are a good way to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content when you look at the readings.
    Kriti Dhawan
    Kriti Dhawan
    A great curriculum provider. James sir explains the concept so well that rather than memorising it, you tend to intuitively understand and absorb them. Thank you ! Grateful I saw this at the right time for my CFA prep.
    nikhil kumar
    nikhil kumar
    Very well explained and gives a great insight about topics in a very short time. Glad to have found Professor Forjan's lectures.
    Great support throughout the course by the team, did not feel neglected
    Benjamin anonymous
    Benjamin anonymous
    I loved using AnalystPrep for FRM. QBank is huge, videos are great. Would recommend to a friend
    Daniel Glyn
    Daniel Glyn
    I have finished my FRM1 thanks to AnalystPrep. And now using AnalystPrep for my FRM2 preparation. Professor Forjan is brilliant. He gives such good explanations and analogies. And more than anything makes learning fun. A big thank you to Analystprep and Professor Forjan. 5 stars all the way!
    michael walshe
    michael walshe
    Professor James' videos are excellent for understanding the underlying theories behind financial engineering / financial analysis. The AnalystPrep videos were better than any of the others that I searched through on YouTube for providing a clear explanation of some concepts, such as Portfolio theory, CAPM, and Arbitrage Pricing theory. Watching these cleared up many of the unclarities I had in my head. Highly recommended.