05. Financial Information

5.1 Balance Sheet
5.2 Income Statement
5.3 Statement of Cash Flow
5.4 Key Financial Ratios
5.5 Stock Analysts’ Reports
5.6 List any subsidies your firm has received.

It is very easy to drown in corporate financial information.  If you have no experience in reviewing financial documents, go first to our Financial Analysis for Union Researchers or one of the many guides to corporate finance online, such as the Merrill Lynch Guide to Understanding Financial Reports or the Balance’s Guide to Reading and Understanding Financial Statements. There are many places to access a company’s financial statement, but for the first-time user we would recommend getting your firm’s balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flow from Yahoo Finance, which provides the simplest version of these statements. As you become more familiar with them you can explore more detailed statements.

In addition to the financial statements, financial analysts utilize financial ratios. This allows them to track the performance of a firm over time and to compare it to others in the industry.  For a basic introduction to financial ratios, go to our Financial Analysis for Union Researchers or review the Financial Ratio Tutorial at Investopedia.

After you have become more accustomed to reading financial statements, you may also want to learn about how companies can manipulate their books to mislead investors.  Investopedia provides Common Clues of Financial Statement Manipulation and the Balance provides Revenue Recognition Methods.

There are many stock analysts reports online. A good place to start is with those on Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Google Finance, and Zacks Investment Research.

Credit rating agencies may offer useful financial analysis of firms.  Check out Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s to see if the company has received a credit rating.

UMass Resources (for UMass students only)

Mergent Online is the best site for accessing corporate financial information. You can see in-depth financial statements as well as a number of financial ratios.

Mergent Investor Edge
provides detailed stock and financial information, including Ford equity reports.

There is also a great deal of information on stocks and finances available at Morningstar Investment Research Center