IMPROVING DECISION MAKING: USING SPREADSHEET SOFTWARE TO ANALYZE A DOT- COM BUSINESS
Software skills: Spreadsheet downloading, formatting, and formulas
Business skills: Financial statement analysis 10- 12
Pick one e- commerce company on the Internet— for example, Ashford, Buy. com, Yahoo, or Priceline. Study the Web pages that describe the company and explain its purpose and structure. Use the Web to find articles that comment on the company. Then visit the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Web site at www. sec. gov to access the company’s 10- K ( annual report) form showing income statements and balance sheets. Select only the sections of the 10- K form containing the desired portions of financial statements that you need to examine, and download them into your spreadsheet. Instructions below provide more detailed instructions on how to download this 10- K data into a spreadsheet and information on financial statements. Create simplified spreadsheets of the company’s balance sheets and income statements for the past three years.
• Is the company a dot- com success, borderline business, or failure? What information provides the basis of your decision? Why? When answering these questions, pay special attention to the company’s three- year trends in revenues, costs of sales, gross margins, operating expenses, and net margins.
• Prepare a PowerPoint overhead presentation (with a minimum of five slides), including appropriate spreadsheets or charts, and present your work to your professor and classmates. An example PowerPoint slide presentation is attached for your review in this learning module folder in Blackboard.
As needed: Students can find material on understanding financial statements on financial Web sites such as Ameritrade (www.ameritrade.com) or the Small Business Knowledge Base http://www.bizmove.com/finance/m3b2.htm.
Downloading the Data into a Spreadsheet
Use the Convert Text to Columns Wizard in your spreadsheet software to arrange the 10-K data you downloaded into spreadsheet columns and rows. From the Excel menu, select Data and then select the Text to Columns option. The software brings up a Wizard to convert the imported text into spreadsheet columns. Although you can decide to create line breaks, it may be easiest to accept the default settings (Fixed Width, General format) and then adjust column widths after the Wizard has arranged the data in spreadsheet columns.
Financial statements are used to evaluate the performance of a business and diagnose its strengths and weaknesses. The two primary financial statements are income statements and balance sheets. The income statement, also called an operating statement or profit and loss statement, shows the income and expenses of a firm over a period of time, such as a year, a quarter, or a month. Gross profit is calculated by subtracting the cost of goods sold from revenues, or sales. The gross margin is calculated by dividing gross profit by revenues (or sales). Net profit (or loss) is calculated by subtracting all other expenses, including operating expenses and income taxes from gross profit. Operating expenses are all business costs (such as expenditures for sales and marketing, general and administrative expenditures, and depreciation) other than those included in the cost of goods sold. Net margins are calculated by dividing net profit (or loss) by revenues (or sales).
A balance sheet provides a snapshot of a company’s financial assets and liabilities on a given date, usually the close of an accounting period. It lists what material and intangible assets the business owns and what money the business owes either to its creditors (liabilities) or to its owners (shareholders’ equity, also known as net worth). At any given time a business’s assets equals the sum of its liabilities plus its net worth. Current assets include cash, securities, accounts receivable, or other investments that are likely to be converted into cash within one year. Liabilities are outstanding obligations of the firm. Current liabilities are debts that are due within one year. Long-term debt consists of liabilities that are not due until after a year or more. If too much debt has been used to finance the firm’s operations, problems may arise in meeting future interest payments and repaying outstanding loans. By examining a series of balance sheets, one can identify and analyze trends in the financial strength of a business.
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