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Accounting: Company Research

Introduction to Company Research

When researching a company, first find out whether it is publicprivate or a subsidiary of a larger company.

Public companies sell shares of the company (stocks) to the general public, and are required to submit financial information and annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Public companies are therefore easier to research as a general rule of thumb.

Private companies do not sell publicly traded stocks and as a result, are not required to release as much information to the government or the general public  They are therefore more challenging to research.  You may be limited to finding articles about these companies for information.

Subsidiaries of public companies can be difficult to research because the parent company is not required to report on each of them individually. Therefore, when researching a subsidiary, you often have to read carefully through reports about the parent and look for references to the subsidiary.

Databases for Company Research

Nexis Uni (formally Lexis-Nexis) is a great tool to use for company research.  Use it to find information on U.S. and international companies including company dossiers as well as and newspaper, magazine, and trade journal articles.

Business Plan Templates

Public Resources for Company Research

Company web sites can provide a wealth of information, particularly for public companies.  Use information from the company carefully and watch for bias or an overly-optimistic interpretation of factual data.  Find these through Google.

Understanding Company Information

Once you find company financial information, how can you understand it?  Consult the Investopedia article How To Efficiently Read An Annual Report for help!

Investopedia also offers a number of resources to help you understand many other principles of financial analysis.  Check out the list here.

Small Business Information

Video Tutorials for Databases on this LibGuide

Find Public Company Annual Reports

Harness the ProQuest database more effectively to find company-specific information.