Online Investing Hacks, Part 2
Pages: 1, 2

Beginner Hack 18

Download Financial Statements

Download financial statements to study financial ratios without tedious manual data entry.

To puzzle out how a company has performed in the past and where it might be heading, financial ratios can't be beat. The problem has always been data entry. Evaluating trends in financial measures requires at least three years of values, but who wants to manually transcribe three years of income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements into a spreadsheet? Sure, financial data providers offer data files of financial information—with a price tag attached [Hack #20]. And, you can always use Excel web queries to grab data from web pages [Hack #7]. However, EdgarScan ( provides the key information from financial statements, extracted from the filings that the company submits to the SEC, already stored in Excel spreadsheets that you can download at no charge.

The Global Technology Centre at Price Waterhouse Coopers developed EdgarScan, and it's a mother lode of data for investors who dig deep into financial ratios. EdgarScan spreadsheet files contain up to thirteen years of financial statements (both annual and quarterly) for companies. If a company has been in business less than thirteen years, it provides the data that is available.

NOTE: Financial statements can be quite complex. EdgarScan aggregates some numbers into higher-level categories. If EdgarScan data doesn't contain the measures you need, use other sources for data [Hacks Section 3.8#19 and Section 3.9#20].

Financial Statements from EdgarScan

EdgarScan scans the filings in the SEC EDGAR database for financial data and stores them in standard categories, so you can locate and compare numbers. Although you can view this data on the EdgarScan web site, downloading it as an Excel spreadsheet means you can slice and dice ratios for one company, or compare values between competitors. EdgarScan spreadsheets include columns for quarterly (10-Q) and annual (10-K) filing for the last thirteen years; samples are shown in Figures Figure 3-1, Figure 3-2, and Figure 3-3.

To download an EdgarScan spreadsheet, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to to access the EdgarScan web page.
  2. Type the name or ticker symbol in the box and click Search.

    TIP: To limit the companies or filings that EdgarScan returns, click the Advanced link next to the Search button. You can search by company name, ticker symbol, industry, and SIC code, and limit the filings to a specific type of SEC filing, filings submitted during a range of dates, or filings that contain keywords or phrases.

  3. If EdgarScan finds more than one company that matches the name or ticker you typed, it displays links for each result. Click the link for the company that you want.

    NOTE: A company page includes three links that help you research a company. Click (business) to read the description of the business from the most recent 10-K. To jump to the company's summary page at Yahoo! Finance, click the ticker symbol link, such as (HD). The third link takes you to a web page that lists all the companies in the same industry, as defined by the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) code.

  4. To download an EdgarScan spreadsheet, scroll below the company summary table and click Excel Spreadsheet. In the File Download dialog box, click Save. In the Save As dialog box, navigate to the folder in which you want to store the file, type a name for the file in the File Name box, and click Save.

Links to recent filings, 10-Ks, and 10-Qs display the SEC filing on the screen. Click links to jump to the sections you want to read. If you want to work offline, you can download filings as text files, HTML files, or rich text files. If you can't call to mind what an SB-2MEF filing is (or any of the other SEC form identifiers), click the glossary of form types link at the bottom of the page.

You can also download SEC filings from the EdgarScan web site into Excel using web queries [Hack #7].

EdgarScan includes a feature called the Benchmarking Assistant, which displays a graph of values for one financial measure at a time. You can choose from several categories of measures and almost 100 financial measures in all. In general, a linear graph of values isn't useful, because you want to see the growth year over year [Hack #26]. However, you can check trends in key financial ratios by displaying a graph of a measure in the Ratios category in the Benchmarking Assistant, demonstrated in Figure 3-6 below the chart.

Figure 3-6. The EdgarScan Benchmarking Assistant graphs financial ratios.