I’ll be the first to tell you that finance is not my strongest subject when it comes to business research. Sure, I can help my patrons find the information that they need. I’m pretty good at Mergent Online and can muddle my way around Datastream, but when it comes to actually interpreting the data we retrieve, I tend to leave that up to the patron.
One of my goals for the year (and every year for that matter) is to become better educated with finance terms in order to better understand what my patrons need. It’s easier to find the data they’re looking for when you know what type of information it is, where it comes from, and how it will be used once it’s collected.
For a quick primer on investing, financial analysis, and company help, there are two resources that have helped me better understand some key concept. The Morningstar 101 tutorial at MSN Money is a really good source for getting a basic understanding of topics in a short amount of time. I found the Introduction to Financial Statements tutorial particularly useful and would recommend it to others to help you understand what you’re looking at in Mergent Online.
The tutorials at Investopedia are another great place to look for basic understanding of finance and investing. I appreciate how the tutorials are organized by topic. The tutorials are also a little more in-depth, so plan on spending a little more time getting acquainted with the concept. Both sites assume that the reader is a novice investor, so the language is easy to understand and the concepts are easy to pick up.