Stock Fundamental Data: Tips to Get it For Free & Its Limitations

By Intrinio
December 5, 2022

Stock fundamental data is a critical component of most investment strategies. Investors of all kinds leverage this type of data to gain an understanding of the underlying operations, strength, and performance of a business. It’s a “fundamental” (pun intended) part of analyzing the value of a stock. Sometimes this data is used in it’s raw format to analyze within software like Excel, and in other cases developers integrate the data via API to display it inside of websites and software.

Fundamental data includes information from the face of the three main financial statements: the Income Statement, the Balance Sheet, and the Statement of Cash Flows. Often, financial metrics and ratios that blend this data with stock price data are also included (like the PE ratio, or price-to-earnings).

How to Get Free Stock Fundamental Data

Large vendors like S&P, Factset and Bloomberg source, clean, and sell stock fundamental data, but it comes at a hefty price. Most investors or app developers that are just getting started are on the hunt for “free” stock fundamental data, and there are several places they can find it.

Directly From the SEC

All US publicly traded comanies are required to file their quarterly and annual financial statements directly with the SEC. This data is collected and made available to the public for free through the EDGAR platform. Starting in 2007, this data began to be filed in a format called XBRL, which made it much easier for the public to download and access this structured information.

From “Free” Providers

There are downsides to sourcing this raw data on your own, so some investors seek out financial data platforms that claim to source and offer this data for “free”. Some of these websites serve the data up via API, and some offer simple bulk CSV downloads into Excel. They source the data directly from the SEC using their own systems, cutting out that part of the process for their users.

Limitations of free stock fundamental data

As the old saying goes - sometimes things are too good to be true. Stock Fundamental data, like most financial data sets, requires a substantial amount of work in ordrer to source, structure, normalize, standardize, clean, distribute, document, support, and maintain. Phew. Any “free” source of data that requires that much massaging is going to have limitations.

If you are getting free stock fundamental data from the SEC, there is no “API” for you to use. The system for downloading the data from EDGAR is clunky and cumbersome (it is the government, after all). There’s also no support - if something breaks, data is wrong, or you can’t access something, there won’t be anyone to help you. The data is also not standardized: this is important. No two companies file their financial statements the same way. You won’t be able to compare Apple’s “total revenue” to Meta’s “total revenue” without some sophisticated data transformation. And you’ll need to do that transformation every time you download data. You’ll need to manually re-source every single quarter (if not more frequently) to keep the data fresh. Lastly, since the SEC focuses exclusively on financial statement data, you won’t have access to any common ratios (like price to earnings) that require stock prices.

If you are getting free stock fundamental data from a free website, there’s a chance that the data is “standardized” so that you can compare apples to apples across companies and time periods, but it’s highly unlikely. Standardization requires teams of hundreds or sophisticated algorithmic and machine-learning processes (nobody will sell you the resulting data for free). So, if a “free” website offers “standardized” stock fundamental data…beware. Most free websites don’t offer high quality standardized data. At a “free” price point, these platforms usually don’t offer any support to their end users.

Getting free stock fundamental data from the SEC or a free website is a great option if you are a hobbyist or just looking for a data point here and there. However - it is not a viable option if you are a serious investor or an app developer. Putting incorrect, inconsistent, and invalid data in front of your users or investors can tank your reputation and your revenues. Integrating “free” data takes just as much (if not more) work than integrating data from a reputable financial data provider. If you’re unhappy with the quality, if your users complain, or if you want to upgrade to a more reliable provider, there are significant switching costs involved. It pays to think ahead and work with a provider who offers affordable starter plans that scale over time.

Stock fundamental data for financial product developers

If you are willing to pay $100 per month to avoid the headaches outlined above without breaking the bank, Intrinio offers a great solution. Our <<LINK Starter Plan LINK>> includes full history of standardized, clean fundamental data, reliably supported by a team of machine-learning engineers with 99.9% uptime. It includes hundreds of metrics and ratios and is uploaded and updated systematically. The Starter Plan includes resources like robust documentation, API, SDKs, and tutorials - and includes a ticketing system for institutional-grade support. 

Subscribers to this plan get access to quality stock fundamental data and avoid :

  • Building and maintaining their own data pipeline
  • Spending resources updating data every quarter
  • Wasting time transforming and standardizing data
  • Making investment decisions off of bad data
  • Displaying incorrect data to users
  • Going offline with their app or tool when data stops flowing

The Intrinio Starter Plan is a great entry point for any individual investors or app developers that need affordable, fast, quality and easy access to stock fundamentals data. Keep in mind that this plan is only authorized for use by individuals - not businesses. It also doesn’t include display or redistribution rights. Intrinio offers business-level packages starting at just $250/month that DO include business and display rights, and our team is on standby to help users upgrade whenever this becomes necessary for them.

The Intrinio mission is to use data to power a new generation of fintech innovation - and making data affordable and accessible is a great way to further that mission. Check out some of the sources listed above to get your feet wet with free stock fundamental data - when you are ready to subscribe to an affordable and much more reliable solution, visit to chat with our team and get the data flowing through our Starter Plan.

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