Credit: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Company accounts can be a treasure trove of story leads for journalists. But only if you know what you are doing.

Paul Bradshaw, course leader, MA Data Journalism and MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism, Birmingham City University provides nine steps to investigating company accounts on his blog, Online Journalism Blog.

He explained how the story of Chelsea FC's £26m pay-off to former manager Antonio Conte in 2018 was exposed after their financial accounts had the figures tucked away in the "exceptional items" column.

"The notes won’t always be obvious. Conte’s sacking is described as relating to "changes in the Men’s team management and coaching staff, together with associated legal costs" — so some background knowledge of what’s been going on in the last year (and some forward planning to check the accounts when they come out to see how much a sacking cost) is useful," he writes.

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