All businesses keep track of statistics to monitor company performance. Executives gain insight by comparing current numbers with past numbers, taking note of any variances. Additionally, companies often compare internal numbers with numbers from other companies within the same industry.
Statistical data are collected and reported on a regular basis for topics such as profit and loss statements, financial ratios, customer satisfaction, product usage, and peer comparisons. These data are used by investors, potential investors, equipment financing companies, other lenders, industry analysts, and the businesses themselves.
If you're an investor, you should consistently monitor the health of the companies you invest in to determine whether you want to continue holding your investments. By examining historical data and other statistics about a company's growth in sales and income, expenses and loss, you will be able to make informed decisions. Potential investors can use the same data to determine whether a company is a viable investment option.
Industries use data collected from businesses within the industry to evaluate the industry's overall health, and to measure trends in growth—or lack thereof. By tracking sales, expenses, profit, and satisfaction data, companies can view how they are performing, what opportunities are available to them, and what their business's strengths and weaknesses may be. Statistics can also assist a company in planning for its future.
The following resources are available to develop your understanding of business statistics: