Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Questions to Consider
Is the company publicly-traded or privately-held? This sets the expectation for how much information is available and where to look.
Does the company exist as a subsidiary or is it owned by another company (parent company)? If it is a subsidiary, it is often helpful to research the parent company as well.
What is the real name of the company? Example: GE versus General Electric. Be aware of this when searching.
If publicly-traded, what is the ticker symbol of the company? Some resources are searchable by ticker symbol.
What industry or industries is your company, product or service classified under? Identify the NAICS or SIC code(s) as some resources are searchable by industry code.
Company & Industry Research
Strauss's Handbook of Business Information by
Call Number: HF1010 .M67 2012
This book is located in the Reference Collection on the 1st floor of the library. Company Information is the subject of Chapter 3 (p. 47-56) and Industry Information is the subject Chapter 4 (p. 57-74). Additional strategies and resources are provided within this handbook.
Company Research - Key Terms
A report similar to the "Annual Report" but usually containing more details. It is submitted annually by public companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is due within 60 days after the end of the fiscal year. 10-Q is the quarterly report.
An annual document that public companies must provide to their shareholders to describe their operations and financial health. It is often available through the company's website. It is similar to the 10-K but often contains commentary and pictures.
A larger firm that owns or controls subsidiary companies.
Usually owned by the company's founder(s), family, or a small group of private investors. They do not have the same requirements as public companies to file with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The amount of information available on private companies is very limited.
Authorized to sell stock to the general public. They are legally required to file financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and must share information with their shareholders.
A company that is partly of fully owned or controlled by another company (parent company).
An arrangement of characters that represent a publicly traded company.
Industry Research - Key Terms
Industry classification codes allow researchers and government agencies to classify businesses by the type of product or service they offer. Many library databases and some reference sources are searchable by classication code. Two common classification codes include:
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. NAICS has replaced the SIC system and was implemented with the 2002 Economic Census. Codes are reviewed and updated every five years. Search by keyword from the census.gov site.
Search the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system from OSHA.gov by keyword to find the SIC code that classifies your industry. SIC codes are still used in some databases and reference sources, but the system is no longer being updated.