What is trend analysis?

Definition of Trend Analysis

In the analysis of financial information, trend analysis is the presentation of amounts from several years all expressed as a percentage of a base year.

Trend analysis conveniently shows the reader certain key amounts for 5 or more consecutive years all expressed in easier to absorb amounts.

Example of Trend Analysis

Assume you want to see the trend of a service company's revenues, net income, and number of clients during the years 2015 through 2021. With trend analysis you can easily see how these three amounts have changed over the past six years especially in relation to each other.

To illustrate, we will designate 2015 to be the base year and the 2015 amounts will be restated to be 100. The amounts for the years 2016 through 2021 will be presented as the percentages of the 2015 amounts. In other words, each year's amounts will be divided by the 2015 amounts and the resulting percentage will be presented.

To begin, assume that the revenues for the years 2015 through 2021 were $31,691,000; $40,930,000; $50,704,000; $63,891,000; $79,341,000; $101,154,000; $120,200,000. In relation to the base year, the revenues are restated to: 100, 129, 160, 202, 250, 319, and 379.

Next, assume the net income amounts were divided by the 2015 net income. In relation to the base year, the net income amounts are 100, 147, 206, 253, 343, 467, and 423. Lastly, after the number of clients were divided by the base year number, the amounts as a percent of the base year amounts are: 100, 122, 149, 184, 229, 277, and 317

From this trend analysis we see that

  • Revenues in 2021 were 379% of the 2015 revenues
  • Net income in 2021 was 423% of the 2015 net income
  • Number of clients in 2021 was 317% of the number in 2015

The trend analysis makes it easier to see how effective and efficient the company has been in its recent years.