#cfa-level-1 #fra-introduction #reading-22-financial-statement-analysis-intro #study-session-7
Financial analysis is the process of examining a company’s performance in the context of its industry and economic environment in order to arrive at a decision or recommendation. Often, the decisions and recommendations addressed by financial analysts pertain to providing capital to companies—specifically, whether to invest in the company’s debt or equity securities and at what price. An investor in debt securities is concerned about the company’s ability to pay interest and to repay the principal lent. An investor in equity securities is an owner with a residual interest in the company and is concerned about the company’s ability to pay dividends and the likelihood that its share price will increase. Overall, a central focus of financial analysis is evaluating the company’s ability to earn a return on its capital that is at least equal to the cost of that capital, to profitably grow its operations, and to generate enough cash to meet obligations and pursue opportunities. Fundamental financial analysis starts with the information found in a company’s financial reports. These financial reports include audited financial statements, additional disclosures required by regulatory authorities, and any accompanying (unaudited) commentary by management. Basic financial statement analysis—as presented in this reading—provides a foundation that enables the analyst to better understand information gathered from research beyond the financial reports.
This reading is organized as follows: Section 2 discusses the scope of financial statement analysis. Section 3 describes the sources of information used in financial statement analysis, including the primary financial statements (balance sheet, statement of comprehensive income, statement of changes in equity, and cash flow statement). Section 4 provides a framework for guiding the financial statement analysis process. A summary of the key points and practice problems in the CFA Institute multiple-choice format conclude the reading.