% Difference Formula

The formula used to find the percentage difference between two numbers with either of the numbers used as the base number

What is the % Difference Formula?

The % Difference Formula allows us to find the percentage difference between two numbers with either of the numbers used as the base number. The % difference formula takes as input two numbers – the base number and the new number – and gives as output the percentage difference between the new number and the base number. The formula will output different results depending on which number is chosen as the base number and which number is chosen as the new number.

 

Example of % Difference Formula

Consider the following example: The base number is 120, and the new number is 11. The % difference formula gives us the difference between the two numbers as a fraction of the base number 120. In this case, the % difference formula gives as output -90.83%. It means that the new number is 90.83% smaller than the base number.

If we use 11 as the base number and 120 as the new number, then the result is 990.91%. It means that the new number is 990.91% bigger than the base number. It is the difference between the two numbers relative to base number 11.

 

Using the % Difference Formula in Microsoft Excel

Suppose an analyst wants to compare the stock prices of various companies before and after the companies release their annual statements. The analyst can use the % difference formula to answer a key question: What was the percentage change in stock prices before and after the release of the annual statements. Suppose the analyst is given the following dataset:

 

% Difference Formula

 

Step 1: Open the data in Excel. It should look like the data table below:

 

% Difference Formula - Step 1


Step 2: The analyst can use the following formulas to find out the % Difference.

 

% Difference Formula - Step 2


Step 3: The analyst should obtain the following output:

 

% Difference Formula - Step 3


Additional Resources

CFI is the official provider of the global Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional resources below will be useful:

  • Advanced Excel Formulas Must Know
  • Data Validation
  • Free Excel Crash Course
  • IF Statement Between Two Numbers

Free Excel Tutorial

To master the art of Excel, check out CFI’s FREE Excel Crash Course, which teaches you how to become an Excel power user.  Learn the most important formulas, functions, and shortcuts to become confident in your financial analysis.

 

Launch CFI’s Free Excel Course now

to take your career to the next level and move up the ladder!