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BA 424: Investments

Questions to Ask

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

Why? It will 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?

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 publicly 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.

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.

Find Company Information

Company profiles provide succinct overviews of a company.  The often include company history, key facts, top executives, major products and services, competitors, and locations/subsidiaries.

Find company information in Business Source Complete:

  • Choose "Company" from the menu bar at the top of the page.
  • Enter the company name or choose a different search method from the drop down menu next to the search box.

Annual Reports

The federal securities laws require public companies to disclose information on an ongoing basis. For example, domestic companies must submit annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and current reports on Form 8-K for a number of specified events and must comply with a variety of other disclosure requirements.

The annual report on Form 10-K provides a comprehensive overview of the company's business and financial condition and includes audited financial statements. Although similarly named, the annual report on Form 10-K is distinct from the “annual report to shareholders,” which a company must send to its shareholders when it holds an annual meeting to elect directors.