Never Type Up Another Existing Document Again

December 5, 2007


I was considering typing up a scanned presentation I had, but a quick search for some free OCR (optical character recognition) software put a stop to that.

Jon Galloway has a great post about his search for free OCR software which covers how to use Microsoft Office Document Imaging.

Scan the document then use Microsoft Office Document Imaging to send the document to Word. This will give you a word document, which you can freely format and edit.

This works even better if you have a scanner that will convert your entire scanned document to a PDF in one go (rather than page by page). Then just print the PDF to file as a TIFF file, then import into Microsoft Office Document Imaging and send to Word.

This works best when you have a hard copy of the original document but no soft copy (be that the original document or a PDF from which you can copy and paste text).


August 20, 2007

Quick list of resources I use when doing any research.


Industry / Company

  • SEC: Annual (10-K) and quarterly reports (10-Q) which contain information, including industry estimates. IPO and M&A documents are another source of information.
  • Yahoo finance: company financial data (mostly US listed).
  • ADVFN: company financial data.
  • New Zealand companies office: documents filed by NZ companies, as required by law.
  • Google: search by filetype, filetype:pdf works well for finding presentations of industry research.
  • NZTE: free research paid for by the Government.
  • Big four accounting firms: tend to publish lots of research on specific industries.
  • Reuters: good industry profiles.
  • PwC cost of capital report: beta and discount rates from NZ listed companies.

News / In depth Articles

Private Equity and Venture Capital Industry Information

Information About Other Investors


  • Damodaran On-line: website of the Professor of Stern School of Business at New York University. It contains lots of valuation related data, plus lectures about valuation and corporate finance.
  • website from the Wellington Public Library, with a library card and a login you can access a number of databases, including:
    • Business Source Elite, full text from top management and marketing journals including Harvard Business Review, Business Week, Forbes, MIT Sloan Management Review, California Management Review. And detailed company profiles for the world’s 5,000 largest companies.
    • MasterFILE Premier, a database with full text for nearly 1,950 general periodicals covering current affairs, business, entertainment, education, health, general science, multi-cultural issues and much more.
    • ProQuest ANZ Newsstand offers full-text access to Fairfax New Zealand newspapers including The Dominion Post, Sunday Star-Times etc and The Australian and ABC news sources.
    • ProQuest Newspapers offers full-text access to 14 of the world’s best newspapers including the New York Times, Washington Post and the Observer.


August 20, 2007

A list of my favourite free / open-source software:



  • GIMP: replacement for Photoshop.
  • Paint.NET: replacement for Photoshop.
  • Dia: good for creating diagrams.
  • Inkscape: drawing tool.




  • Pidgin: instant messaging client that works with the MSN and Gtalk networks.
  • Skype: free VoIP to other Skype users.


Magic Formula Investing

July 27, 2007

Just following up from my post about Joel Greenblatt’s book You Can Be A Stock Market Genius, I have discovered another of his books – The Little Book That Beats The Market.

The book touts a “value-oriented” approach that looks for bargain stocks whose share price is cheap relative to the company’s profitability. His version is a “magic formula” that ranks stocks on the basis of two variables—the earnings yield and the business’s return on capital.

The book has an associated website which (after you register) will let you rank stocks based on the criteria suggested in the book. Being earnings yield and return on captial. I have registered and the site looks to be an excellent free resource.

Investment Tools

July 9, 2007

Here are a few investment tools I came across from Top 5 Hacks for Intelligent Investors and Valuation Tools from Financial Times from FatPitchFinancials.

Excel Add-In

This Excel Add-In lets you take financial data from Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, MorningStar, Reuters etc straight into Excel. For example you want the market cap of MSFT from Yahoo Finance in your Excel spreadsheet. Just install the add-in and use the formula “=RCHGetElementNumber(“MSFT”, 941)”. Quote from the orginal post.

You can turbo charge you stock financial spreadsheets using an excellent and free Excel Stock Market Functions Add-in. You can download this great tool that lets you add data from MSN, Yahoo, Google, Reuters, ADVFN, Morningstar, and more directly into your Excel spreadsheet cells by joining the smf_addin group.

Note to download the add-in you have to join the associated Yahoo Group.

FT – DCF model

The Lex column from the Financial Times has an online DCF calculator / model. This is good for people that don’t want to build a model in Excel and are happy to plug in a few high level assumptions to generate a valuation.