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BA 497: Business Policy, Strategy & Ethics (Postlethwaite): Company Research

This guide has the information you need to complete your research paper

Company Financial Information

Example: I need balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement data for Shake Shack.

  • Type either target or the the ticker symbol (SHAK) into the search box and select Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE:SHAK)
  • On the left-hand side, scroll to the Financials/Valuation section and select either income statement, balance sheet or cash flow statement
  • Data can be downloaded into Excel

Example: I need ratio data for Shake Shack.

  • Type either shake shack or the the ticker symbol (SHAK) into the search box and select Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE:SHAK)
  • On the left-hand side, scroll to the Financials/Valuation section and select "Ratios"
  • Compare the ratios with peers like Walmart, Kohl's, Krogers, etc,

Example: I need SEC Filings for Shake Shack.

  • Type either Shake Shack or the the ticker symbol (SHAK) into the search box and select Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE:SHAK)
  • Scroll down the left-hand side of the screen and click the link for SEC Filings
  • Since the latest 10-K was filed on March 11, 2020,  you might want to consult the latest 10-Q for information on Covid's impact on Target
  • Sections like "Risk Factors" or "Management's Discussion" will be especially helpful

Example: I need income statement, balance sheet and cash flow data for the Shake Shack.

  • Type in either Shake Shack or the ticker symbol (SHAK) into the box
  • Click Go
  • Select Shake Shack Inc
  • Click Company Financials
  • Use the pull-down menu to select the type of financial data (Balance Sheet, Income Statement or Cash Flow)
  • Use the pull-down menu to select the number of years of financial data (3, 5, 7, 10 or 15)
  • Click Refresh
  • Click the link for Ratios. The ratios will include the effective tax rate which is needed for calculating the cost of capital.
  • Select the Years you need with the pull-down menu
  • Click Refresh

Example: I need ratio data for the Shake Shack.

  • Type in either Shake Shack or the ticker symbol (SHAK) into the box
  • Click Go
  • Select Shake Shack Inc
  • Click the tab for Company Financials
  • Click the link for Ratios
  • Click the arrow icon by the ratios to obtain information about the ratios were calculated

Example: I want to compare the Shake Shack with peer companies.

  • Type Shake Shack or the ticker symbol (SHAK) into the search box and click search
  • Click the tab for Competitors at the top of the screen
  • Remove any companies that you don't want in the list
  • Click the link for "Click here to create a competitor report"
  • Click the link for Company Comparison Report
  • Select your companies by clicking >>
  • Click the plus signs + for Financials and Ratios
  • Click the types of financials and ratios that you need
  • Click > to add the financials and ratios
  • Click the box for Include Average
  • Select the years you want
  • Use the pull-down menu to select Microsoft Excel format
  • Click Create Report

Example: I need a 10-K/Annual reports for the Shake Shack.

  • Click the link for Government Filings
  • Type Shack Shack into the company box
  • Click the circle for Last 12 months
  • Select 10-K for the Filing Type
  • Click Search
  • Access the pdf version of the report
  • Search for terms like identical sales (another term for same store sales or comparable sales) which is an increase or decrease from the sales of stores that have been in operation for over a year.

Example: I need the bond rate for Shake Shack.

  • Type shake shack into the box at the top of the screen until it autocompletes to Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE:SHAK)
  • On the left-hand column, go to the section for for Fixed Income and select Securities Summary
  • Consult the "Current YTW"​

Supermarket News

Company Articles and SWOT Analyses

This is a good resource for articles on your company.

Example: I want articles on Shake Shack that have been written in the last year.

  • Type shake shack into the first box
  • Click Search
  • Go to Publication Date on the left-hand side and set the date range from 2020-2022

Example: I need some articles on Shake Shack's strategies.

  • Type shake shack into the first box
  • Type strateg* or planning or brand* into the second box and click Search
  • If you need to limit your search to newer articles, go to the publication date section on the left, enter the range you need and click Update

Example: I need articles that describe how Shake Shack is run.

  • Type shake shack into the first box
  • Type organizational or culture or executives or employees into the second box and click Search

Investment Reports

Types of information available from Refinitiv:

  • In-depth research reports from companies like Morningstar, UBS, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Trefis, RBC, Barclay's, etc. Avoid the reports from BuySellsSignal Research and Minkabu.
  • Environmental Social Governance (ESG) indicators
  • SWOT Analyses
  • Supply Chain (referred to as a "Value Chain"
  • Peer Analysis (available for diversity & inclusion, profitability, fundamental ratios, peer comparison (data like P/E ratios, beta)

Researching Private Companies

Researching private companies is more challenging than publicly-traded companies since they are not required to report information to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). In most cases you will not be able to obtain financials statements such as income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements for private companies.

One approach that students have used in the past when researching privately-held companies is to locate a similar public company and use their financials as an example or proxy.

Reference USA is an online directory of 24 million+ businesses in the United States and Canada. Users can search by company name, ticker symbol, executive name, geographic location, sales range, type of business and number of employees. This database will contain many smaller, private companies.

Example: I need a list of health clubs that might compete with a 24 Hour Fitness club in Santa Monica

  • Click U.S. Businesses 24 million businesses
  • Type 24 hour fitness into the Company Name box, type Santa Monica for a City and select California for State
  • Click the link for the 24 Hour Fitness that is closest to your location
  • Click the link for Competitors Report

This database will provide financial ratios that are the composite averages of several small and midsized businesses.This will help give you sample financials for companies in a given industry.

Example: I need financial ratios for a clothing store.

  • Select Clothing Accessories Store with the pull-down menu and click Go. You can also do a keyword search for your company.
  • Look at the sections for companies by FRB Assets or FRB Sales and to find financials that match your company's size