Content for this page contributed by Lydia LaFaro, Hayden Library
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.
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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.