There are many different scenarios where managers or other stakeholders need to assess the financial strength of a company. Investors may desire to evaluate the safety of a potential investment. Customers may wish to determine the ability of a prospective supplier to handle their orders. Regulators may look to measure a firm’s capacity to survive economic shocks. Lenders assess financial strength to ascertain whether a company could reasonably be expected to repay loans.
One blessed situation that may call for an assessment of financial strength is unexpected growth. To the surprise of many, growth can be deadly. Poor cash flow management, inability to secure appropriate funding, overly aggressive risk taking, or other mistakes can lead fast-growing companies down a path to bankruptcy. Managers may wish to assess a firm’s ability to handle the growth opportunities they face. In this assignment, you will have an opportunity to exercise your financial analysis skills to evaluate the financial strength of a real-world company of your choice.
Upon successful completion of this assignment, you will be able to:
Up until this point in the course, you have been practicing financial analysis techniques on hypothetical companies. The financial statements you have been studying are intentionally simplified, to aid in your learning process. However, now we are going have an opportunity to apply the concepts and techniques you have learned to a real-world company of your choice, with all their complexities.
In this assignment, you are going to play the role of consultant, hired to evaluate a company’s financial strength in anticipation of a tremendous growth opportunity. The company is going to launch a revolutionary new product that will grow its sales by at least 50% over the next year. In addition, to support this sales growth, the company will have to grow its investment in fixed and current assets by 50%. Your job is to assess the company’s ability to support this level of growth by performing a basic horizontal (trend) and ratio analysis.
Begin by selecting a company you are interested in studying. It is highly recommended you choose a company that would be beneficial for you to learn more about, such as one that is in your current industry. However, the only requirement is that you select a publicly traded company whose financial statements are readily available. You will then be asked to dig deep into this company’s financial statements, looking at trends and ratios to assess its financial strength and readiness for rapid growth.
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