Most investors keep looking for the magic investing mantra which can keep compounding returns. Many burn their fingers by getting into wrong companies. The first step of successful investing and to avoid investing in MisManaged Companies is to Understand Balance Sheet of a company.
A balance sheet, also known as a “statement of financial position,” reveals a company’s assets, liabilities and owners’ equity (net worth). The balance sheet, together with the income statement and cash flow statement, make up the cornerstone of any company’s financial statements. If you are a shareholder of a company, it is important that you understand how the balance sheet is structured, how to analyze it and how to read it.
Here is a great starting point from Investopedia to understand reading a balance sheet. Another article talks about the due diligence that should be followed before choosing a stock to invest is another checklist which the investors should always keep handy when doing a first cut analysis before giving a ‘pass’ and research further.
Bala writes about a wonderful article on Misallocation of capital which gives examples of why to avoid investing in companies which misallocate capital.
When you start looking at a balance sheet, a quick first cut analysis can help you eliminate researching further if you come across these common account red flags…
The Indian stock market, in aggregate, carries a relatively high risk that a minority shareholder will not realize the value in a listed firm because the controlling shareholder (or promoter as they are known in India) will appropriate value for himself, leaving little on the table. The risk is higher relative to certain other stock markets mainly because of limited regulation. In addition, lax enforcement indirectly encourages such behavior. Kimi writes on how one can avoid such landmines in his elaborate article peppered with examples.
Successful investing is all about avoiding the companies/ sectors/ industries which are mismanaged and going aggressively after the good ones…As Charlie Munger famously said “Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.”…..