Can you help me understand this Accounting question?
Examining Financial Statements that Tell the Story
For this Assignment you will examine the financial data of the Wal-Mart Corporation. Publicly traded companies such as Wal-Mart make their financial statements available online.
You know from your studies that financial statements are useful for internal purposes, as well as for external purposes, and for potential investors. Wal-Mart’s financial statements tell a story, and you will study some aspects of the financials and see if you can retell that story.
Go to Wal-Mart’s Annual reports at http://stock.walmart.com/investors/financial-information/annual-reports-and-proxies/default.aspx, and download the 2017 Annual Report PDF. This is located on the right side of the page.
The Annual Report PDF comprises comparative financial statements for several years, and this Assignment will concentrate on these financial statements.
Checklist: Respond to the following questions:
Study the income statement. Concentrate on the operating expenses. Please write a paragraph in your own words – about 50 words – explaining the trends in operating expenses. Why is looking at trends in the financial statements important?
Study the balance sheets for 2017 and 2016. Discuss the current ratios for both years (you must calculate the current ratio for both years in order to discuss it). Write a paragraph of at least 50 words explaining what elements of the current ratios caused the ratio to change from one year to another.
Study the statements of cash flows. Discuss the three activities detailed in the statement of cash flows and describe the information and where the preparer of a statement of cash flows can find the information. Your discussion should be one or more paragraphs totaling at least 50 words.
Study the Consolidated Statements of Shareholders’ Equity. Several factors are responsible for the changes in the shareholders equity between 2017 and 2016. How many classes of stock does Wal-Mart have? What are they?
Did the number of shares of that stock increase or decrease during the year 2017? Did the company pay a cash dividend during the year? If so, how much per share? Please discuss those elements, writing a paragraph of at least 50 words, explaining where you can find the details of these answers.
Would you invest in Wal-Mart stock if you had the money to do so based only on the information you have learned from this analysis?
Directions for Submitting your Assignment
Before you submit your work, you should save your Assignment on your computer in a location and with a name that you will remember. Your paper should be double-spaced, and use Times New Roman 12-point font. Make sure your response to this Assignment is in the form of a Word document, then, when you are ready, submit it to the Dropbox.