-- Understanding Financials
-- Company Filings
-- Company Credit Ratings
-- Industry Ratios
-- More Company Information
-- More Business Information
-- Construction Librarian
-- The Business Librarians
-- Need Help?
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.
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:
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.)
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
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.
For current information about company credit ratings, use:
"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:
For more details about industry ratios, see:
To find ratios for specific companies, use:
Then, compare them to that industry's ratios obtained from:
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: