Qualitative Analysis Definition

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on March 16, 2023

Define Qualitative Analysis in Simple Terms

Qualitative analysis uses unquantifiable and subjective information, such as company culture, reputation, and employee and customer satisfaction, to evaluate the performance of a company.

Qualitative analysis is by nature abstract and inexact, and must be tempered by the analyst's own best judgement.

As such, in order to get a more complete picture, qualitative analysis is often paired with additional quantitative analysis, which is the analysis of numerical and measurable values, such as the return on investment (ROI) or earnings per share (EPS).

What Is Qualitative Analysis in Finance?

An investor looking to do a qualitative analysis of a company may start by getting to know the management.

For example, it would be important to note whether they got their position through hard work or through a connection.

  • The investor may then look at the company's employees.
  • Are they passionate about their work?
  • Do they represent the best of their field?
  • Or are they being held back by micromanagement?
  • Lastly, the investor may look at customer satisfaction.
  • Are they happy with the service they receive?
  • Do customers tend to come back and do business again?
  • Or do they abandon the company because of bad interactions?

Qualitative Analysis in Investing

Answering these questions may be difficult, because not all companies are willing to let investors probe into the business freely.

Many investors rely on news reports and company filings to get a sense of the philosophy and personality behind a company.

One particularly useful report for this kind of analysis is the management discussion and analysis (MD&A) section of a company's 10-k report, which is required by the SEC to be published to shareholders.

Qualitative Analysis FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

Find Advisor Near You