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Finding Business Information Online: Ratios

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

What are they?

A financial ratio is a ratio of two numbers of reported levels or flows of a company.  It may be two financial flows categories divided by each other (profit margin, profit/revenue).  It may be a level divided by a financial flow (price/earnings).  It may be a flow divided by a level (return on equity or earnings/equity).

Companies

Industries

eStatement Studies
Provides access to industry norms (ratios and default probability/cash flow measures) for 600+ industries by year, asset range and region.  Data is available back to 2003-2004 and may be exported into an Excel spreadsheet.  The print version of eStatement Studies is called RMA Annual Statement Studies (REF HF5681.B2 R6).  The MU Libraries has copies of this publication going back to 1964.

Industry Norms & Key Business Ratios
REF HF5681.R25 I53, Ready Reference (ask at Reference Desk)
The information in this publication is organized by SIC code (see "SIC/NAICS Codes" tab for information on how to find industry codes). 
The MU Libraries has copies of this publication going back to 1983/84.

Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios
REF HF5681.R25 T68 Ready Reference (ask at Reference Desk)
The information is organized by NAICS code (see "SIC/NAICS Codes" tab for information on how to find industry codes).
The MU Libraries has copies of this publication going back to 1975.

Factiva
Factiva provides ratios, but only for the most recent time period.  To access them, you'll have to search on the name of a company within that area, e.g. Amazon to find online retailing industry ratios.

  1. Click on the "Companies/Markets" link toward the top of the page.
  2. At the next screen, click on "Company" and enter a company name in the search box.
  3. Select its name from the list of results, then choose "Reports" on left.
  4. In the dropdown box to the right of "Select a Template" choose "Ratio Comparison Report."