Guides to Business Subjects

No. 6 - Financial and Operating Ratios

This is one of a series of research guides produced by the Thomas J. Long Business Library at the University of California, Berkeley.

Financial and operating ratios for various industries and types of business are available in a variety of publications. The following is representative of publications providing ratios. Unless otherwise noted, books are located in the Thomas J. Long Business Library.

UC Berkeley faculty, registered students, and staff who are off campus may use items marked * by using The Library's proxy server.

Last updated 06/2010.

General Information about Ratios

Business Ratios and Formulas: A Comprehensive Guide
by Steven M. Bragg
Hoboken, NJ : Wiley, 2007
HF5691 .B73 2007

Financial Analysis: Tools and Techniques
by Erich Helfert
New York : McGraw-Hill, 2001.
HG4026 .H436 2001

Handbook of Business and Financial Ratios
by Michael R. Tyran
Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1986.
HF5681.R25 T971 1986

Magic Numbers: The 33 Key Ratios that Every Investor Should Know
by Peter Temple
Singapore ; New York, NY : Wiley, 2002.
HF5681.R25 T45 2002

Financial Ratio Tutorial
by Richard Loth via Investopedia
For a very quick and basic crash course in financial ratios, look here. It is free but beware annoying pop-up ads.

Industry Norms

Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios (aka Troy Almanac)
Prentice Hall. Annual.
Data extracted from U.S. IRS tax forms, C and S. IRS data are the only publicly available source of financial information on all active corporations, not just large, publicly traded corporations. Organized by SIC code.
HF5681 .R25T68 Reference

Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios: One Year
Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. Annual.
Information from over 1 million financial statements from public and private U.S. corporations, partnerships, and proprietorships, in all size ranges, including over 800 different lines of business.
HG4027 .I55 Reference

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys
Standard & Poor's Corp. Quarterly.
Narrative and quantitative analyses of domestic industries. 1,000+ companies. Company ratio and balance sheet comparisons provided under Basic Analysis section. Earnings Supplement lists revenues, earnings, and rankings for last four quarters.
HC101 .S77 Reference

Ratio Information Sources

The free version of this site allows access to one year's worth of key ratios for an industry.

* Factiva
Ratio Comparison Reports show key financial ratios for a company compared against industry, sector and S&P 500 Index aggregate ratios. To access Ratio comparison Reports, click on the Companies/Markets tab at the top of the homepage, then click on Company at the top of the page. Search for a company, then click Reports on the left-hand side of the page. Finally, under the drop-down menu for reports, click on Ratio Comparison Report.

Financial Studies of the Small Business
Financial Research Associates. Annual (ends in 2006).
Data selected from over 30,000 financial statements of small firms, contributed by over 1,500 independent CPA firms nationwide. Covers firms with total capitalization under $1 million.
HD2346 .U5F5 Reference

* LexisNexis Academic
Find a downloadable table showing key ratios for the past few years. To access ratios, click on the Business tab at the top of the Lexis homepage. Search for a company then click Financial Information in the Reports menu on the left-hand side of the page.

* Mergent Online Recommended
Mergent is a top source of financial information for public companies. Search by company or indstury and select various ratios to build a detailed report. Tables can be exported directly into Excel.

* Value Line Research Center
Use Value Line to retrieve a one-sheet company analysis that includes key ratios.

Yahoo Finance
Look up companies by ticker or company name. This free resource includes ratios for companies; some data goes back a few decades.