Strategic business analysis: How to SWOT those PESTs

The financials don’t tell you everything about companies – here’s how to start digging deeper to put the pieces together

Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster

Numbers matter in investing. They tell us, amongst other things, how fast a company is growing (or not as the case may be), how profitable it is, how efficiently it invests its capital and where that capital comes from, if its debt is manageable, and whether – most importantly of all – it’s generating cash, the lifeblood of any business, essential, at the basest level, to its survival and, when cash is abundant, for reinvesting in the business and rewarding its shareholders with dividends.

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