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AEM 3250: Personal Enterprise and Small Business Management (Spring 2013): Financial Data

A Mann Library guide to business plans, market data, business directories and research for AEM 3250 students.

How to...

Are you new to looking at company filings?

Are you just starting to become familiar with the term "balance sheet"?  If yes, you might want to read Merrill Lynch's excellent "Understanding 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-Statements is the online version of the Annual Statement Studies. It is available through a link on the Management Library Web page under Database Information. It shows regional financial data.
  • Additionally, consider consulting Financial Studies of the Small Business for 5-year trends and financial statements.  (Management Library, Ready Reference, HD 2346 U5 F49).

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.