If you understand financial information, you can make sense of the fluctuations of the stock market, as well as the most important concepts investors heed when buying or selling assets. With this knowledge, you also might see why some companies are ahead of the competitive pack while others are experiencing tribulations.
Financial information is diverse and may have various facets, depending on the reviewer and the objective of the study. Many corporate data summaries provide bits of financial information that management relies on to make decisions and steer operating activities to financial success. Data sets incorporating financial information include budgets, pro forma reports, production worksheets and financial statements.
Budgets enable organizations to test the business impact of specific activities and decide whether it’s worth pursuing them or better to change course. These initiatives include sales and marketing, research and development, financial accounting and reporting, investment management and corporate treasury. The idea is to review corporate work streams to highlight areas where a company is losing money and whether it could save some cash by preventing excessive spending and running a tighter ship.
Pro Forma Reports
Pro forma reports offer financial information that draws on projections or corporate management’s assumptions. They provide a window into top leadership’s thinking and show readers whether this thought process collides or agrees with the market consensus. For example, if a company’s leadership predicts a 10 percent sector growth rate while the industry consensus hovers around six percent, investors may believe the organization’s leadership is overly optimistic or has lost touch with the competitive reality. Pro forma data summaries may apply to various performance data, including financial statements.
Production worksheets provide valuable reams of data about a company’s manufacturing processes, as well as the tools, procedures and methodologies it relies on to produce goods at affordable prices. By delving into a manufacturing template, a reader can see how much the business spends on each item and the money it pays to store production outputs, such as raw materials, work-in-process items and completely finished goods. A production worksheet also indicates to department heads and manufacturing foremen how much the business spends on labor costs and whether it can reduce such expenses by reducing its workforce or shedding the number of allowed overtime hours.
Financial statements are, by essence, the trove of financial information that investors comb through before making asset allocation decisions. A complete set of financial statements runs the gamut from balance sheets and statements of profit and loss to statements of cash flows and shareholders’ equity reports.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: Filings & Forms
- EDGAROnline: Fundamental Data
- New York University Stern School of Business; Financial Statement Analysis; Aswath Damodaran
- Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board; Intended Audience and Qualitative Characteristics for the Consolidated Financial Report of the United States Government; January 2003
Marquis Codjia is a New York-based freelance writer, investor and banker. He has authored articles since 2000, covering topics such as politics, technology and business. A certified public accountant and certified financial manager, Codjia received a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, majoring in investment analysis and financial management.