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Business: A Research Guide: Find Company Info

Questions to Ask

Before you begin company research, you should know a little bit of information about your company. 

Why?  It'll impact where you search and the amount of information that you find.   Ask:

  1. Is the company public or private?
  2. Is the company a subsidiary?
  3. Is the company American or international?

Image Source:  Ben Schumin.   CC By-SA 2.5.  Wikimedia Commons.

        Private companies are more difficult to research because they are privately owned;  they do not have to disclose any information to the public.

        Public companies are easiest to research.  They are regulated by the government (in the U.S., it's the SEC), sell shares to the general public, and must publically report company and financial information.

              Subsidiary companies will not have their own annual reports, and you may not find information on them in the resources listed on this page.  You'll need to determine who the parent company is and research the parent company.  Journal articles will be a major source for information on subsidiaries.

              International companies also may not be included in databases, such as  Business Source Complete.

              Ask Us

              Company Information

              Company profiles provide succinct overviews of a company-- including company history, key facts,  top executives, major products and services, competitors, and locations/subsidiaries.  Company profiles are an excellent starting point.

              Business Source Complete   Click on the Company Information tab to access over 10,000 full-text company profiles. Profiles include: an overview, key facts, business description, history, key employees, major products and services, competitors, and locations/subsidiaries.

              LEXIS-NEXIS   Select Search by Content Type.  Under Companies search by Company Profiles, Dossier (Company, Executive & Industry), SEC Filings.

              Valueline Investment Survey Contains stock, investment, and industry information.

              Annual Reports

              "Publicly traded companies that meet certain criteria are required to file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

              One of those reports is the 10-K, a document filed annually that  is sometimes referred to as a company's annual report. 

              Because the 10-K includes a tremendous amount of detail and legal jargon, most companies also produce a more reader-friendly annual report that typically contains product information, photographs, charts,  a letter from the CEO, and other company and financial data." Source: IRIN

              The sources below provide free annual reports; registration may be required.

              Image Source:  Design by Erik Möller (Eloquence), photo by Everlong.  CC-BY-SA-3.0.  Wikimedia Commons.

              Annual Report Service (WSJ)  Free service for investors seeking stock research & financial information."

              Public Register's Annual Report Service (PRARS)   Order reports from participating public companies. Reports delivered free of charge within 24 hours.

              Company Information - print sources

              Standard and Poor’s Security Owner’s Stock Guide—Monthly (Ref 332.6 St785sg)
              Tabular format for 5100 common and preferred stocks, includes S&P ratings, stock price range, capitalization, annual and interim earnings, dividends, and institutional holdings. Library owns year-end volumes back to 1997.

              Wall Street Journal Index. Library has: 1957-present.
              Use the first January issue each year to locate historical stock data.

              SEC filings

              A 10-K, which is a report filed by publically owned companies with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), provides information such as company history, organizational structure, executive compensation, equity, subsidiaries, and audited financial statements.

              Following are resources that'll take you to 10-K's.

              EDGAR     Full-text SEC filings.


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