Corporate Finance For Dummies
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Before you can analyze any of the data that will actually help you project your corporation’s future financial performance, you need to actually collect that data. Thankfully, in the age of the Internet, this task is actually pretty easy.

If you don’t have Internet access, then you’ll be spending a lot of time collecting the required data by requesting it directly from corporations or going to the local library or financial advisor to get the information you need.

Honestly, data collection can be a pretty tedious process. Narrowing down the exact type of information you’re looking for can help a lot, and people are generally more forthcoming with the information. Otherwise, you just end up collecting everything that may be relevant and sorting it out later.

The nice part about financial data is that everything about the data itself is the same. It’s all measured in money, so you don’t have to worry about the technical details of the different types of data or anything. Welcome to the first shortcut.

Where to look for financial data

The vast majority of financial data you’ll want about any corporation will come from just a handful of locations:

  • Financial reports: Financial reports are usually the first place to look because they’re easy to find and already formatted in a way that’s simple to analyze. Not just mean the annual reports, either — the quarterly reports, monthly reports, and everything else are important as well.

  • Reports regarding inventory, production, and employment: Corporations, particularly larger ones, will distribute reports on inventory, production, and employment occasionally, especially when prompted by one organization or another that’s attempting to compile economic reports.

  • Accounting records: If you’re able to get your hands on the corporation’s accounting records, those are easily the most comprehensive and detailed sources of data you can find.

  • Internet Sources: For information about stock price, try the Google Finance page, but lots of websites are available, all providing basically the same information. For other corporate financial information, try EDGAR (an SEC-run site for public financial records).

Compare your financial data

As with any financial data, you’ll most likely benefit by collecting the same information from several other companies in the same industry for comparison.

Research data on the national economy. Fortunately, you don’t actually have to compile this data yourself because a variety of sources provide decent-quality reports on this issue:

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Kenneth W. Boyd has 30 years of experience in accounting and financial services. He is a four-time Dummies book author, a blogger, and a video host on accounting and finance topics.

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