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I’ve been experimenting with Quora, the new Q&A site that has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Recently, a question came up:

“Which web site gives the previous 10 years earnings of a public company?”

As value investors, looking at a company’s financials for the past ten years provides a nice overview of how the business performs during the ups and downs of the business cycle.

By using these averages, it helps smooth out one-time events and usually results in a much more conservative analysis – the hallmark of many great value investors.

My answer, reprinted from Quora:

While the SEC Edgar database is the time-consuming method, it is also the most accurate, and the only source I would trust if I was truly looking for thorough due diligence.

However, there are several other sources for historical financials:

MSN - http://moneycentral.msn.com – MSN provides 10-year financial summary information, but the summary is missing many key pieces (such as cash flow information).

SmartMoney - http://www.smartmoney.com/quote/… – Enter stock quote, click on financials, then change to the annual option (income statement, balance sheet, or cash flow statement). Must toggle between 5 years at a time and can’t export.

ADVFN - http://www.advfn.com – One of the most comprehensive sources of information, ADVFN provides financial statements that often cover a date range as far back as the EDGAR filings (1993 for many stocks). Search for a stock, then click on company information to find a host of ratios, charts, and links to the annual reports. However, you are limited to seeing a 5 year period at one time.

GuruFocus - http://www.gurufocus.com – Search for ticker symbol, click on 10-Year Financials. Provides single-page view of last 10 years AND last five quarters. Export to excel option is only available for premium members ($250/yr)

Morningstar - http://www.morningstar.com – Search for Ticker symbol, click on Financials. 10-year financials are only available for premium members ($185/yr). However, the export to excel option is available for the past 5 years of financial information. IMO, the cleanest and fastest export option with nicely formatted information.

SMF Excel Plug-in - http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/… – My personal favorite by far, this free excel plug-in allows you to build your own custom spreadsheets to pull updated information using over 14000 data points from various financial websites. 10-year financials, insider ownership, valuation ratios, etc. Requires some excel knowledge. For true flexibility and power, it’s hard to beat.

Personally, I spend most of my time in EDGAR but these other options can provide a provide a quick signal that further due diligence is required.

Feel free to check out the other answers to this and other questions on Quora.

P. S. – Jae’s spreadsheets from OSV pull in ten year financials automatically, in addition to performing tons of other valuable calculations. I spent weeks tweaking my own spreadsheet using the excel plug-in above – the OSV offering is so much better!

See my spreadsheet review for further details.

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12 Responses so far

  1. Valuehawk says:

    You might want to take a look at http://www.rocketfinancial.com The data there can’t be exported into Excel, but for US equities it’s as comprehensive as you can find: 10 year+, segmented financials, and industry-specific and company-specific datapoints.

    • asues says:

      Valuehawk,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve used RocketFinancial before and especially like the layout. It also ample information including investor presentation and insider ownership all in one place, but no excel export as you mentioned.

      However, I’ve found that it lacks financial information for many of the OTCBB and PinkSheets stocks that I focus on (missing info for TPCS, DIT, ELST etc). which makes it tough as a go-to source for many of the companies I’m researching.

      • Rocket says:

        You actually can find the financial for these OTC stocks on Rocket as well. The ticker symbols weren’t being set properly before making them harder to find, but this has been fixed and they can now be easily accessed. Take a look!

  2. Jeff says:

    Many public libraries have access to Morningstar’s premium information. Often you don’t even have to go to the library, you just have to go to the library’s website, enter your library card number, and then click a special link. I’m able to get both Morningstar and Value Line from my local library: http://www.santaclaracountylib.org/database/subjects/business_rpa.html

    • asues says:

      Jeff,

      Wow, nice suggestion. Is the information up-to-date (i.e. basically pulling it straight off Morningstar’s website?)

      Exportable to excel?

      If so, could be very exciting…

      • Jeff says:

        Yes, the information is up to date and exportable to Excel. The library website is run directly by Morningstar at http://library.morningstar.com. If you go to that URL directly it’ll give you an “access denied” message, but if I click on the special link provided by my local library, then it redirects me there and lets me in.

        • Steve says:

          Jeff,
          does santa clara county library still allow you to pull the data? I also have a library card but when i tried accessing morningstar and valueline neither one worked. thanks.

  3. Andy says:

    Nice links ! They are appreciated !! 3/5 years is not enough and all I could find til I found this page and now I have free 10 year financial data !

  4. Ted says:

    I recommend Mergent Online, which is provided by most major public libraries. It has actual line items as reported, so no funny adjustments like FactSet and CapitalIQ sometimes sneak in there. I’m looking at George Risk (RSKIA) right now, and I am able to get financial data from Mergent back to 1987 (it varies from company to company). It’s also easily exportable to excel, though you’ll need to clean it up quite a bit.

  5. Elliot Slater says:

    Another suggestion is 9W Search. This is a financial reporting website launched by the founders of Edgar Online. They only have 3 years for free (you need to register) and 5 years for paid subscribers. But they have super fast reporting tools. It’s pretty cool.

  6. Fred Zhang says:

    I came upon this new service by a company called Robur Investment Resources where you can access and compare 5 year company financial data

    It is paid for, but at $15 a month it doesn’t seem too bad, and they cover global stocks. Think the website was http://www.roburir.com

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