This time of year many students are searching for annual reports, 10k reports filed with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), or specific types of financial data (e.g., financial ratios, dividends paid, revenue comparisons). Students may also be searching for financial data on a particular company’s leading competitors. A company’s Investor Relations link on its website is a great place to begin locating financial data. Often times on busy retail websites, this type of information is located under a link at the bottom of the corporate page, since the site’s first priority is to advertise and entice users to purchase goods. For example, take a look at the information provided by Hasbro’s Investors link which is located at the very bottom of the company’s website. Selecting the company’s Financial Information link provides access to the latest quarterly reports (10-Qs), the annual reports, and the 10-K reports filed annually with the SEC. Although users can access a summary of the company’s financial data, they have limited or no ability to download the data and compare it with data from competitors. Library databases such as Mergent Online, Hoovers Academic and LexisNexis Academic fill this gap by providing features that make it easy for users to gather and compare financial data.
Mergent Online contains fundamental data on more than 60,000 global publicly traded companies and annual reports for over 300,00 companies worldwide. (The product description is available at the corporate website.) The strengths of Mergent include the depth of its data (15+ years available for most companies), the ability to view extensive calculated ratios (see Hasbro’s financial ratios), the ability to easily obtain current and historical annual reports (see Hasbro’s annual reports), and the ability to easily view comparative competitive data (see Hasbro’s global competitors). All available data can be downloaded into Excel and a Report Builder feature facilitates building custom reports.
Hoovers Online provides data and information on over 43,000 U.S. and international companies. The strengths of Hoovers include the ease of retrieval of 10K reports (see Hasbro’s SEC filings) and the competitive landscape feature which provides quick retrieval of comparative ratios for a company, its major competitors, and the company’s industry (see Hasbro’s competitive landscape). The My Tools feature provides a link to download available data.
LexisNexis Academic contains a substantial amount of corporate financial data under its Companies tab. Strengths of LexisNexis include the depth and ease of searching for SEC filings and its Dossier Compare Companies which provides users with an easy way to compare standardized financial data on up to 5 companies. Data can be downloaded easily into Excel.
Ask a reference librarian if you would like an instruction session reviewing the content and value-added features of Mergent Online, Hoovers Academic and LexisNexis Academic. These databases make finding and downloading financial data easy, saving you time to review and analyze the data!