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BUS 100, Introduction to Business: Financial Performance

This guide is your road map to completing your BUS 100 project. We can't possibly list every resource you might need, or anticipate every stumbling block, but we've included the ones that address most companies and situations. If in doubt, ask for help.

Section Overview

In this section, you will analyze your company's performance over the last three fiscal years and compare its performance to a key competitor's.

Company Filings

Public companies around the world (and, in many countries, private companies, too) are legally required to file documents containing financial and other information with the government. These filings, as they're typically called, are then made publicly available.

To find filings related to your company, use the following resources:

For companies operating outside of the U.S. and Canada, you'll need to search the web for company filings [country]. Note that in many countries (including most of Europe), both private and public companies are required to file documents with the government. Documents from non-English speaking countries may not be available in English. 

SEDAR provides copies of all legally required filings for public companies trading on stock exchanges in Canada. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • Annual Information Form: information on corporate governance, financial information, capital structure, and strategic directions ("forward-looking statements")
  • Audited Annual Financial Statements: Independently audited financial statements; should be the same as what is reported in the annual report for the same period
  • Code of Conduct: describes the company's policies and practices related to ethical behaviours
  • Interim Financial Statements: quarterly financial reports (unaudited); useful for updating annual financial statements when part-way through the fiscal year
  • Management Information Circular: notice of AGM for shareholders; often contains information on executive compensation
  • MD&A (Management's Discussion & Analysis): companion document to the audited financial statements; narrative explanation, through the eyes of management, of how the company has performed in the past, its financial condition, and its future prospects
  • News Releases: information released to the media and public by the company
     

There are two ways to locate filings in SEDAR:

Search Database Company Profiles
  1. Search for Public Company documents.
  2. Fill in the search form:
    • Company Name: type in full company name
    • Date of Filing... choose your date range (at least one year, preferably three years)
    • Sort documents by... Date of Filing (useful for most recent filings) or Document Type
  3. Click Search.

  1. Browse for name of public company using A-Z list.
  2. From company profile, click to View this public company's documents.

APA Citation Format

References

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2014, December 17). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015a, May 7). MD&A. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015b, May 7). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

In-Text Citation

(Big Rock Brewery Inc., 2015a)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

EDGAR is a database of all legally required public securities filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), including those of public companies. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • 8-K: news release
  • 10-K: annual report; includes audited financial statements, management's discussion and analysis, corporate governance, executive structure and compensation, sources of capital
  • 10-Q: quarterly report; use the interactive format

To search for company filings:

  1. Click on Search for Company Filings.
  2. Click on Company or fund name...
  3. Enter the Company Name or Ticker Symbol (fastest method) in the relevant search box, and click Search.
              
  4. To view a specific document, click on the Documents (list of documents available) or Interactive Data (where available) button next to the document name.
  5. Try the new Search Results BETA View - it offers a more streamlined view of the available documents. Click on the Interactive Data button (where available), or on the document title to view the filing.

APA Citation Format

References

Netflix Inc. (2015, April 17). Form 10-Q. Retrieved from http://www.sec.gov

In-Text Citation

(Netflix Inc., 2015)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

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Financial News & Data

There are a vast number of web sites offering financial news. These are some of the most well-known.

Stock exchanges provide the most current and up-to-date data on stock market activity. Many also offer access to company profiles, securities filings, and company or industry news.

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Financial Ratios

Financial ratios give you a means to compare your company's financial performance and health against its competitors, or against the industry as a whole. The following are good sources for financial ratios. Keep in mind, however, that financial ratios are not available for every company.

Business Insights: Global allows you to compare your company's ratios with up to four other companies (competitors). You will need the stock symbols for the comparison companies.

  1. Find your company's profile in Business Insights: Global.
  2. Click on the link to "Financials."
  3. Look for the tab marked "Ratios."
  4. Click on the button to "Compare to specific companies."
  5. Enter the stock symbols of the other companies in the boxes provided.
  6. Click "Update View."


Note: You can export the data as an Excel spreadsheet (see the Export link at the top right of the chart).

Can't find financial ratios for your company? No problem. You can easily calculate them using the data from the company's financials.

Industry ratios provide a benchmark for the performance of an industry, and will give you a good idea of how healthy your company is in comparison to the industry average.

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