Annual financial statements analysis comprises the entirety of the methods and activities with the help of which the annual financial statements can be prepared and evaluated with the aim of gaining information about the economic situation of companies. Depending on the access to the records behind the accounting, a distinction must be made between internal and external analysis of the annual financial statements. The main reliant on external analysis are current and potential small shareholders and small lenders, most employees and the general public. Company management, supervisory board, major shareholders, major lenders and the tax authorities have the option of a far more meaningful internal annual financial statement analysis.
An analysis of the annual financial statements is not limited to the annual financial statements; rather, all information is used that is useful for an economic interpretation and forecast updating of the annual financial statements. In the case of external analysis, in addition to the official accounting, information from the company's voluntary publicity (e.g. from shareholders' letters, interim reports, annual general meeting speeches or press conferences) as well as from economic reporting (e.g. on the development of the sector, national economy and global economy) is used. In the case of internal analysis, all information available in the company about the creation of the annual financial statements and about foreseeable or planned developments in the company can also be taken into account in their impact on the balance sheet and income statement.
In addition to the retrospective evaluation of the material, a meaningful annual financial statement analysis also includes a forecast update of the income statement and balance sheet figures in order to gain insights into the future development of the company. The analysis of the annual financial statements is therefore the one based on the annual financial statements Business analysisthat retrospectively evaluates and prospectively updates annual financial statements by drawing on additional external and / or internal information in order to obtain the most reliable possible picture of the company's economic situation.
Regardless of the industry, legal form or company size, success and finances can be mentioned as generally relevant aspects of the economic situation of companies, so that the analysis of the success situation and the financial situation analysis can be considered the central content of the annual financial statement analysis.
Methodological tools of the annual financial statement analysis are:
⦁ year-end data preparation,
⦁ additional final invoices,
⦁ Revaluation and adjustment calculations,
⦁ year-end figures,
⦁ Year-end key figure systems,
⦁ business comparisons and
⦁ mathematical-statistical analysis of annual financial statements.