Friday, March 14, 2008

Audited financial data for Apple

A number of students have been coming to reference (the desk as well as chat and email) asking for help in locating audited financial data for Apple back to 1986. As I learned from Peggy Teich yesterday, the best place to get that is in COMPUSTAT in WRDS. Here's how:
  1. Launch WRDS via databases page
  2. Click on "COMPUSTAT North America"
  3. On the left under "Tools" select "Balance Sheet and Income Statement Extract"
  4. On the search window that opens, select the appropriate date range
  5. In the "Company Codes" box type in the ticker symbol for Apple: AAPL
  6. In the "Variables" section, select the relevant data points (such as "Sales" in the "Income Statement Variables" section.
  7. In the "Output" section, you may want to select "comma-delimited text (*.csv)" if the student is interested in manipulating the data in an Excel spreadsheet.
  8. Click the "Submit request" button and wait about 10 seconds. Voila!


Stephen Francoeur said...

Lewis Liu reminded of that the correct ticker symbol for Apple is AAPL, not APPL. I've updated the post to reflect that. He also suggested that we first ask if the student needs annual or quarterly data. To get quarterly, you'll still go to COMPUSTAT North America but will then click "Industrial Quarterly" on the left under "FTP (Legacy) Version."

Stephen Francoeur said...

Another followup note about using COMPUSTAT North America to get the audited financial statements of Apple: WRDS seems to prefer Internet Explorer over Firefox. While you run the search in Firefox, you can't easily download the results as a CSV file (which should open in Microsoft Excel). Boo to WRDS for not being compatible with the superior browser!

Rita said...

Another source for this information is the historic annual report filings available from the AICPA which are available on Lexis-Nexis. Easiest way to find them is to type AICPA in Source search and then select the years one needs. (They end in the early 1990s when the Edgar database began.) Each income statement shows 3 years of figures.) This might give the inexperienced user a little more knowledge of what an income statement looks like.


Louise said...

Baker Library at Harvard has a handout for students who want to
"Find a Time Series of Financial Data in WRDS Compustat" at