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Library and Internet resources for construction topics.

On This Page ...

Middle Column:
-- Understanding Financials
-- Company Filings
-- Company Credit Ratings
-- Industry Ratios
-- More Company Information
-- More Business Information

Right Column:
-- Construction Librarian
-- The Business Librarians
-- Need Help?

Content for this page contributed by Lydia LaFaro, Hayden Library

Understanding "Financials"

Learn the difference between the four main tpes of financial statements (balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and shareholders' equity), what each will tell you, and how to read them.

Company Filings

U.S. Filings
A company whose stock is traded on a U.S. stock exchange is, with few exceptions, required to file financial and other data with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  For a complete listing and description of filing types, see the SEC Forms List.  The most commonly used filings are:

  • the 10-K, an annual report
  • the 10-Q, a quarterly report
  • the 8-K, a report of a significant event occuring between 10-K and 10-Q filings
  • the Proxy Statement, information concerning items to be decided at the next annual stockholders meeting
  • the Prospectus (Form S-1, S-2, S-3, or S-4), a document detailing information that is needed for making an investment decision on a company or mutual fund that is going public (IPO) or issuing additional stock
  • the 20-F, an annual report for a non-U.S. company

Starting in 1993, most U.S. companies have been required to submit their filings online except for some of the more peripheral types of filing documents. Although the electronically-filed documents are available through the SEC's EDGAR database, we recommend using the online resources listed below for the best searching capabilities and for the availability, in some cases, of the stockholders annual reports (enhanced 10-K reports with pictures, graphics, and added commentary.)

Foreign Filings
Filing requirements for public companies traded on foreign exchanges will vary country by country, as will online availability of filing documents. However, English-language annual reports for selected foreign companies are included in our online sources below.

Online Sources for Company Filings

  1. Mergent Online
    (Public companies only)

  2. Mint Global 
    (Private and public companies)

To find company filings prior to the online coverage, more details are available on the "Sources-Stocks: Company Filings" page of the Securities & Investments guide.

Company Credit Ratings

For current information about company credit ratings, use:


    • To find company credit ratings in this database:
      • Click on the "Quick Search" tab at the top of the left column,
      • Enter the company name,
      • From the results list, click on the appropriate company,
      • On the company information screen, click on "ratings" in the left column

    • To find out more about the credit ratings contained in this database:
      •  Click on the "? Support" icon near the top right of the screen,
      • Select "Product User Guide" from the list
      • Click on the index tab and enter   RATINGS   as the search term
      • This will retrieve articles about ratings information within this database

Industry Ratios

"Ratios" help in the evaluation of a company - how well is that company doing in relation to others in the same industry?  Ratios can be derived from financial statements and then are compared to other companies in that same industry or compared to an industry average.   In general, the types of ratios vary and can be calculated differently but generally include:

  • Liquidity
    Does the company have enough cash and have easily convertible assets on hand to meet its current obligations without having to borrow funds?
  • Solvency or Financial Leverage
    Does the company have enough assests to meet long term obligations and avoid bankruptcy?
  • Profitability
    Is the company able to generate a profit?  Profits could be measured for the company overall or by sales of a specific product.

For more details about industry ratios, see:

To find ratios for specific companies, use:


Then, compare them to that industry's ratios obtained from: 

  • Key Business Ratios (KBR)
    Use the yellow "?Help" icon near the top right of the screen to see how ratios are calculated in this source, to find explanations of terms in the glossary, and to view instructions on how to search and download data.

  • eStatement Studies
    Information about ratios are available under the "About eStatement Studies" tab.  You may also view a free tutorial which demonstrates how to search the database and the special features.

More Company Information

Article databases are useful for finding information on companies, industries, and topical issues that have appeared in magazines, journals, newspapers, newswires, and broadcasts.  Select from the following types of article databases as appropriate for your topic:

  • Business Article Databases
    Use business databases to find articles in business journals and magazines.

    1. ABI/Inform  
      Accesses articles from over 1,100 English-language periodicals worldwide covering business, management, and related areas. Includes academic journals, trade magazines, the Wall Street Journal, dissertations, and industry reports.

    2. Business Insights: Essentials 
      Covers articles in academic business journals, trade magazines, and regional business newspapers.  Also includes investment reports, industry reports, and company histories.

  • Newspaper Article Databases
    Local newspapers are an ideal source of information on local companies, industries andissues that you would not find in business journals and magazines written at the national and international level.

    • Access World News
      Searches individual newspapers or a selection of papers.  Covers English-language newspapers and newswire services from around the world.  Includes many local Arizona papers, except for the Arizona Republic.

    • Arizona Republic

    • Nexis Uni
      Covers articles in trade magazines, broadcast transcripts, newspapers and newswire services.  The majority of newspapers are in English but many foreign-language papers are included as well.

More Business Information

The following guides may also be helpful for this class:

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