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What is trend analysis?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

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 2017 through 2023. 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 2017 to be the base year and the 2017 amounts will be restated to be 100. The amounts for the years 2018 through 2023 will be presented as the percentages of the 2017 amounts. In other words, each year’s amounts will be divided by the 2017 amounts and the resulting percentage will be presented.

To begin, assume that the revenues for the years 2017 through 2023 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 2017 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 2023 were 379% of the 2017 revenues
  • Net income in 2023 was 423% of the 2017 net income
  • Number of clients in 2023 was 317% of the number in 2017

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

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

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