Wednesday, December 19

Questions you should ask while analysing a company

It is nearly impossible to document all ideas, issues, terms and techniques that an investment analysis professional encompasses during his or her work. Analysts often use one or more of the strategies while analysing a potential investment opportunity. Personally I believe that no literature can be complete and authoritative on this subject, though many authors, including myself, have attempted to cover as much as possible.

This article only aims at stimulating and imaginative and holistic approach to dealing with investment matters and what questions one should be asking while analysing a company.

What is the size of the firm (large, small)?

What stage is the company and industry in (new, mature, declining)?

Who are the customers of the company (individuals, industry, institutions)?

Is the company project oriented (drugs, mining, oil & gas producers, construction)?

How is the company socially responsible (is it a source of pollution, land contamination) which usually does not show on Financial Statements?

Is the company labour / capital / technology intensive?

What is the product category of the company (sophisticated / low value)?

What is the competitive landscape of the company (local competition, foreign competition)?

What is the regulatory environment in which the company operates (legal, taxation, political)?

What is the exposure of the company to foreign revenues, currency fluctuations, changes in policy, trade policies?

What are the major dependencies of the company (prices / availability of commodities, few major customers, products or governments)?

Are there any special challenges that the company faces which other competitors do not?

Are there often special items that make the (GAAP) financial statements different from normalised net income?

Any other item that you think you’d like to know before investing in the company?

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