There are many different types of financial analysis techniques used by analysts and investors alike to determine the financial strength, both in the present time and projected into the future, of companies and corporations. Many people prefer looking at raw financial data and creating ratios which can be used a basis for comparing companies. In terms of stocks, investors may rely solely on the study of market trends. Other financial analysis techniques involve the study of intangible information, such as a company's management team or its marketing strategies.
The goal of practically every investor is to find those companies that are being valued at less than what they are actually worth. By contrast, they want to stay away from those companies that might be overrated by the market. Not only is all of this important to investors, but the companies themselves must analyze all pertinent information to determine its financial status and if any changes need to be made going forward. Choosing between all of the various financial analysis techniques can be a difficult process, but one that can be extremely worthwhile if an accurate form of analysis is found.
One of the most popular financial analysis techniques is the study of past and current financial information. Balance sheets and income reports can give analysts a sense of a company's past and current financial status. From that, they ideally can extrapolate some sort of prediction for the future. Financial ratios, which divide one financial statistic into another to come up with a number that represents important operational aspects like cash flow, efficiency, debt coverage, and more, also are useful in this pursuit.
Of course, some investors prefer to believe in the actions of the market first and foremost. They may base their financial analysis techniques on how the stock of a particular company is trending. Using graphs of price data and coming up with averages of past price performance allows them to form some sort of estimate on future price projections.
Some other investors and analysts prefer to veer away from the numbers and base their financial analysis techniques on those characteristics of a company that can't be measured by numbers. For example, the management team behind a company might be the driving force behind how a company is perceived. Brand name exposure is another important intangible used in this type of financial analysis, and others may base their estimation of a company based on how well they like its products. All of these methods rely more on gut feelings and observational experience than any statistically measurable quality.