When it comes to financial modeling, data is the basis of any financial model. Data can come from a variety of sources, and you might not even realize how many different data sources are at your fingertips until you start digging into that financial statement. But what are the most common data sources in financial modeling?
Financial analysts often have to find creative ways to get access to data efficiently. That’s because not all companies make their information easily accessible online or in document form. Most commonly, analysts use secondary research as well as primary research techniques to uncover relevant data points.
Different types of data can be found in a number of different places and through various methods, whether that’s asking for someone’s help, using an online search engine, surveying clients or partners, or going through physical records stored in your company’s archives.
First and foremost, financial statements are the most important source of data in financial modeling. This data comes straight from the companies themselves, so it’s usually very reliable.
The three financial statements that you’re likely to use in financial modeling are: If you’re working on a public company model, the public company’s 10-K and 10-Q filings are your data sources. If you’re working on a private company model, the private company’s private placement memorandum (PPM) or term sheet is your data source. The statements usually contain information about the company’s business and financial history, including its current financial situation, projections, and key financial metrics like free cash flow.
If you’re looking for information about your company’s customers and trends, surveys are a great way to get data quickly. But surveys aren’t just for customer feedback — you can also use them to find financial data about the market, the company’s competitors, or other relevant entities.
The most common type of survey is a market research survey, but some financial analysts also use surveys to acquire data for financial modeling purposes. You can create surveys using a survey software program like SurveyMonkey, or you can even use Microsoft Excel to make a simple survey template. In general, any software you use will likely have survey-creation tools or templates.
Blue Chip Company Forums and Conferences
If you work in financial modeling and are trying to find data on a specific company, one great data source to check is that company’s online forums and conferences. You can usually find these by searching the company’s name plus the word “forums” or “conference.”
Blue chip companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Google often host forums and conferences, where employees and other stakeholders discuss projects and give away data that analysts can use in financial modeling. This data might be estimates, projections, or even raw data points, like customer counts or sales numbers.
Company records, such as financial reports and analyst reports, are another common data source for financial modeling. These records are usually more reliable than other data sources, such as forums and conferences, since they’re coming from the company’s own employees. However, the records might be several years old, so you should use that data carefully.
Another great data source for financial modeling is existing financial tools and databases. These databases can be internal databases or databases associated with other companies. You can also find data in databases like Bloomberg and Capital IQ, which are financial data providers. These databases usually cost money to access, but they can be very valuable sources of financial data.
When it comes to online research, financial analysts get creative when sourcing their data. In the search for data, you’ll find yourself turning to a number of different online research sources. For example, you can search for company information on websites like Hoover’s, Crunchbase, and Investopedia.
These websites usually have a lot of information about the companies, including their financial history. You can also search for helpful articles, data points, and statistics on websites like Bloomberg, Google Scholar, and Business Insider. With these online data sources, make sure you’re getting accurate data by reading multiple articles and comparing data points.
Trade Journals and Magazines
Another source of data is trade journals and magazines. You can find data on pretty much everything from these resources, including financial data. To find trade journals and magazines, you can use a search engine like Google or Bloomberg.
You can also subscribe to them via an online subscription service, such as Bibliographic.com. With trade journals and magazines, you’ll need to be selective about the data you use, since it may not be as reliable as other data sources.
Excel Sheets and Built-in Functions
If you’re searching for financial data, you can use Excel sheets to find it. Most commonly, analysts use Excel sheets to search for market data and company data. To find market data, you can look up market data points in online financial sources like Bloomberg or Capital IQ. To find company data, you can use the website Hoovers to search for a specific company, then take the data points from there. Excel also has a built-in function that allows you to get information from SEC filings, which are often the most accurate financial data points.
Finally, if you’re searching for financial data, analysts often use APIs to get the data they need. APIs are basically software libraries that allow you to access data from one source and insert it into your own model so you can use it. If you’re trying to get accurate financial data and you’re struggling to find it elsewhere, you can use an API to get that data for you. Analysts often use financial APIs to get SEC filings, company financial data, and market data.
Financial modeling is a crucial part of financial analysis and asset management, and it’s important to understand the different data sources that are available to you as an analyst. You can use one or more of these data sources to build a financial model that accurately represents your company’s financial situation, whether you’re doing internal analysis or financial due diligence. It’s important to understand the different data sources that are available to you as an analyst so you can build a financial model that accurately represents your company’s financial situation.