Finance Processes
< 5 minute read

How to Recreate the Resources of a Bloomberg Terminal for Free

As Toptal's Lead Finance Blog Editor, Elizabeth is at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and the latest developments in the world of finance. She is an avid market researcher and valuation expert.

The only thing I sometimes miss about being tied to a big investment bank is the data. Tapping on those yellow and green Bloomberg terminal keys was such a sweet joy I didn’t know I’d miss. Typing in “EE<GO>” to bring up consensus earnings estimates was a stamp of approval only the seasoned Wall Streeter could do (and by seasoned, I mean 12 months out of college).

When you become a freelance consultant, you need to be a bit more creative. Unless you spring for a $25,000+ Bloomberg terminal, you have to figure out where else you can get the data. We polled our Toptal Finance consultants and found out some of their best free Bloomberg terminal alternatives.

Just like the mosaic theory, you’ll have to piece together the sources that are the highest quality for your needs; however, we think this list of Bloomberg terminal free alternatives provides a good starting point. On a positive note, by using these resources instead of a Bloomberg terminal, you’ll never need to struggle with the dreaded B-Unit device to log in (Remember B-Unit devices? #morecachethanablackcard).

Bloomberg Terminal Access
Simply keep holding this device up to your screen until your brain melts.

See our picks below of the best free, high-quality resources for finance consultants. Drop a note in the comments section at the end of this post with any gems we may have left off the list.

Financial Modeling and Analysis Tools

  • Koyfin – An amazing free dashboard that looks and feels a lot like FactSet. Includes macro, security snapshots, financial analysis, estimates (EPS, revenue, and EBITDA) and graphs. Most importantly, the data is sourced from extremely high quality datasets.
  • Atom Finance - Similar to Koyfin in its excellent user interface. Includes a robust calendar feature for important company events, interactice valuation capabilities based on EPS, revenue and EBITDA consensus estimates, transcripts, peer analysis, and more. You can create financial models instantly that are pre-populated with consensus projections and automatically re-calculate on the fly as you change assumptions. However, the universe is a bit limited.
  • Aswath Damadoran – Lots of amalgamated data on various financial measures (CapEx by industry, margins by sector, valuation ratios by industry).
  • Finviz – Snapshot of trading information (dividend, sales growth, payout ratio, sell-side ratings, and price targets).
  • Ycharts – Not exactly free but you can get a free trial. Close to FactSet.
  • Eloquens – Free financial models and various templates.
  • Yahoo Finance – Revenue and EPS estimates. Live pricing.
  • Government Filings (EDGAR) – Can pull 10-Qs, S-1s, and anything else publicly filed with the US government.
  • IMPORTXML – Imports data from various structured data points. Can scrape outside websites. Example of how to use it here.
  • GOOGLEFINANCE – Not referring to the website Google Finance (we prefer Yahoo Finance) but using the “coding tool” in Google Sheets, which can import basic live data (pricing info).
Bloomberg terminal competitors

Market Research Tools

  • ABI Research – High quality. Sometimes can get free research. Sign up for emails to get more in-depth information.
  • IDC – Sometimes publishes portions of their reports for free.
  • Gartner – Follow their free webinars and you can usually get more information than just what is in print online.
  • Statista – Statistics on just about anything: consumer survey results, industry studies from >22,500 sources, etc.
  • Markets and Markets – Relatively good quality. A good starting place and has some research on niche industries.
  • Research and Markets – Similar to above.
  • TAM Workshop – This quick tutorial goes over the basics of market sizing and includes some good creative resources for finding data.

Market sizing tip: Sometimes you can offer to buy just a portion of a market sizing report (or a table) for about 1/10th of the cost of the total report.

Macro Data

  • Trading Economics – Lots of macro data by country. Includes forecasts. They also have a $49 option for a one week pass if you need richer data.
  • World Bank – Data on a plethora of topics with 19,902 datasets as of November 2019). Everything from economic growth statistics to inflation rates, interest rates, FX rates, income statistics, employment statistics, population statistics, education statistics, tax rates, etc.
  • BLS – US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics. Includes statistics like CPI, unemployment rate, productivity, and regional data.
  • Investing.com – Data on CDS, bond yields.
Bloomberg terminal alternative

VC/Startup Databases

  • Fundz – Startup database of all funded companies in the US. A $40-ish subscription can get some good data.
  • Crunchbase – Investments and funding information on private companies. Includes information on founding members, rounds, raises, etc. Free and paid versions.
  • IPO Data – Professor Jay Ritter of the University of Florida maintains this database filled with information like underpricing, age, dual-class, price revision, sales, underwriting, VC-backed IPOs, turnover statistics, and more.
  • Startupdelta (becoming TechLeap.NL in 4Q19) – European-based startup database of 5,500+ startups. Seems to be in flux at the moment. Revisit in 2020.

Stock Research Reports

  • Morningstar – Can access research reports with a free trial. Research is a great starting point and they take their work seriously.
  • ValueInvestorsClub – Some quality research can be found here. Includes company overviews, history, and analysis.
  • SeekingAlpha – Some armchair experts, some serious research. They often obtain snippets from sell-side research reports.

Hopefully, you’ve found our list of high-quality, free resources for finance consultants helpful in recreating a free Bloomberg terminal for yourself. If we’ve left any free (or low cost) Bloomberg terminal alternatives off, please let us know in the comments below.

Understanding the basics

What does a Bloomberg terminal do?

A Bloomberg terminal allows direct access to Bloomberg's data service which includes real-time financial data, analyst estimates, messaging, and trading capabilities.

How much does a Bloomberg terminal cost per month?

A Bloomberg terminal costs about $2,000 per month.

What are the benefits of a Bloomberg terminal?

High-quality data, speed, and breadth of financial data.

Is a Bloomberg terminal worth it?

It's very convenient and guarantees high-quality data but given the amount of lower-cost options becoming available, it's becoming less of a necessity.