For the last two decades, Year to a ritual I’ve dedicated the first two weeks of each new. I start with a belief that data should be accessible, and open to all investors at low or no cost, but my motives for providing my reading of the info are far from altruistic. Of the entire year for my teaching I pull on the amounts that I estimate through the others, analysis (valuation or commercial finance) and writing (websites, books). Quite simply, I would have examined all this data and having completed the work in any case, I see little advantage in keeping it behind a pay passwords or wall structure.

Let me hasten to include that nothing that I really do is specially original neither is it a path breaking and my job is made easier by the simple access that people have to raw data. I do wish, though, that while I really do make mistakes, that I’ve not let my own views or biases color the info, and that nothing at all that I really do is opaque.

When I finished my update this past year, I here posted on it and discussed one of the best films/books, Moneyball, in the framework of arguing that intuition & experience were overrating running a business vastly. The counter: The best weapons against number intimidation are common sense and a focus on the big picture. I am hoping that access my data will give you some ammunition in this undertaking but having a good grounding in first concepts of valuation and corporate fund always helps. 2. Data to mislead: If you have access to a great deal of data, you can parse the data and choose pieces to regress to something easier a preconception or debate that you want to progress.

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A couple of years back, the effective tax rates that I release on my site, for US companies, were used by some to advance the debate that US companies weren’t paying enough in fees. Looking at the 2013 update on taxes rates, that number is low (14.93%), but it is the average effective tax rate across all US companies, including those that are money dropping (and thus paid no fees).

The counter: Since there is little that can be done to stop folks from using data selectively, you can counter their arguments by presenting them with the amounts that they are disregarding. Actually, it was in response to the tax rate debate that I started reporting the average tax rates for money-making companies and aggregated tax rates in my datasets.

3. Data to deflect and evade responsibility: Many analysts use data to avoid making hard judgments about businesses or dealing with doubt. Thus, assuming that an organization will earn a profit percentage typical of the industry is a lot easier to do than analyzing its competitive advantages and estimating a margin, predicated on your evaluation.