Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Database Use Tip: Finding Industry Ratios

Business students are often required to compare the standing of an individual company with other companies in that industry as a whole. Comparing the financial ratios of an individual company to the aggregate ratios of many companies in that industry is one way to measure that company's standing. The standard resources for this information are the three industry ratio books:

  • Dun & Bradstreet's Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios (REF Desk HF 5681 .R25 I525)

  • Troy's Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios (REF Desk HF5681 .R25 T861)

  • (The Robert Morris) RMA Annual Statement Studies (REF Desk HF 5681 .B2 R6)

  • The latest edition of each of these titles is kept at the Sawyer Library Reference Desk; older editions, going back approximately 20 years, are in the reference stacks.

    In addition to the above print resources, there are specialized database resources that will also provide industry ratios:

    D&B Key Business Ratios

    The Dun & Bradstreet online version provides 14 key business ratios, covering solvency, efficiency and profitability. Users may calculate industry ratios (choosing an industry, year, and asset range), and then use the 'comparative analysis' function to enter in the figures from an individual company’s financial statement to generate a comparison of the company’s own business ratios with the industry.This is the only Sawyer Library database specifically devoted to industry ratios.

    [FIND D&B Key Business Ratios on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Business and Management" category.]

    Other Sawyer Library databases may include some financial ratios in their overall discussion of companies and industries:

    Standard and Poor's NetAdvantage: Industry Surveys

    Although Standard and Poor's does not provide industry averages, the Comparative Company Analysis section of each survey does provide profit-, balance sheet-, and equity ratios for specific companies.

    [FIND S&P NetAdvantage on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Business and Management" category.]

    Value Line Research Center

    In addition to specific company and stock information, Value Line Survey Issues provide a one page Industry Commentary of each industry covered by Value Line. These commentaries frequently include a chart of retrospective and estimated composite statistics, such as the Net Profit Margin. The print version of Value Line is available at the Sawyer Library Reference Desk.

    [FIND Value Line Research Center on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Business and Management" category.]

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