All businesses keep track of statistics to monitor company performance. 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 current investors, potential investors, equipment financing companies, other lenders, industry analysts, and the businesses themselves.

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, profits, 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. For example, executives gain insight by comparing current statistics with past numbers and with other companies within the same industry. Then they take note of variances and make decisions about any necessary changes to their organization.

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, income, expenses, and losses, 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.

The following resources are available to develop your understanding of business statistics:

Publications and Resources
Discussion Groups

Business statistics provide a way to objectively evaluate individual businesses and entire industries. A proper analysis of the statistics can be useful for laymen and business leaders alike.

About the Author

Written by Chris Fletcher (aka the Lease Guy). Chris is a senior account executive at Crest Capital, where he manages vendor finance programs for manufacturers and dealers of equipment, vehicles, and software. He's also an active Twitterer—check out his page if you follow financial topics and current events in the world of finance.