Our accounting teacher used to say we paid too much attention to the income statement and not enough to the cash flow statement and balance sheet. Lies! Today's trend shows the opposite is clearly true...
I confess - if you view "cash flow statement" instead of "cash flow" you get a very different result. That notwithstanding...
The search volumes for all three terms follow a similar pattern: volume dips significantly around Thanksgiving, the winter holidays and during the summer. There's nothing really surprising about that - and you may note that this coincides with seasonal patterns in searches for "work" - but it lends some firm support to something we all knew anyway.
You can also see that "balance sheet" has received considerably more attention since the middle of 2008, reflecting the relative importance of that statement in financial evaluations.
For once, the news volume may be even more interesting than the trend. It plainly spikes four times a year, no doubt corresponding to the release of quarterly earnings by public companies. The height of the news volume since 2008 speaks to the relative gravity of these concepts on our collective minds, and the "lumpy" 1Q09 spike may reflect the great uncertainty about those potentially pivotal (dare I say "green shoots"?) earnings.
Finally, the regional breakouts are quite interesting here. Unsurprinsingly, New York City and New York state lead search volume for "cash flow". For "balance sheet", New York City is the top metropolitan area but New York state comes second to... Rhode Island? For "income statement", Rhode Island leads again, and NYC only sneaks in at #10. I'd like to know who are all these Rhode Islanders searching for income statements, and why do they find them so much more compelling than the rest of us?
A live view of this trend is available here.
NB: Thursday Trends are not a discontinued operation and most certainly will recur. And I'm done. Promise. -J