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New Venture Research: Financial Data

This guide offers a road map to research resources to develop a business plan for the Cornell University community.

US and Local Industy/Market Financial Reports

Private Company Financial Data

If the company is private, little or no specific financial information beyond sales figures may be available about the company. Try to find articles via Factiva or LexisNexis. Both contain thousands of full-text newspapers and business periodicals; you may be able to locate articles which quote company officials discussing the firm's finances.

Also, consider using ratio books.  They will allow you to create your financials using industry averages.  Several Cornell libraries have the print copies of these recommended books:  

  • Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios (by CCH) -- Management Library, Ready Reference, HF 5681 R25 T861
  • Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios (by Dun and Bradstreet) -- Management Library, Ready Reference, HF 5681 R25 D89
  • Annual Statement Studies (by RMA) -- Management Library, Ready Reference, HF 5681 B2 R63
  • E-Statement Studies is the online version of the Annual Statement Studies.  

Understanding Financial Statements

Are you just starting to become familiar with the term "balance sheet"?  If yes, you might want to read Merril Lynch's excellent "Understanding Financial Reports."

Public Company Financial Data

Public companies are required to file detailed reports of financial activity. In the US, these filings are available directly from the SEC (the Securities and Exchange Commission), or via the selected databases listed below.