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Finding Company Information

STEP 1: Search for a company overview, such as at Yahoo! Finance - is the company public, private, a subsidiary, or a non-profit?

  • 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.  This makes them easier to research.
  • 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 often a challenge to research.
  • Subsidiaries of public companies can be difficult to research because the parent company is not required to report on each of them individually.  When researching a subsidiary, you may have to read carefully through reports about the parent and look for references to the subsidiary.
  • Non-Profit organizations are businesses granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), existing to generate a public benefit through religious, scientific, charitable, educational, literary, public safety or cruelty prevention causes. While non profits and charitable organizations have tax exempt status, they are required  to file a Form 990 with the IRS.

STEP 2: Find the company website, and look especially for the parts aimed at investors and the media.

STEP 3: If the company is public, find annual reports to shareholders and SEC filings. If the organization is non-profit, search for their IRS filings.

STEP 4: Search next for news, magazine, and scholarly articles about your company.

STEP 5: If the company is public, find financial analyses and investment reports.

STEP 6: Research the industry in which your company operates, and identify it's competitors.

 

Linked definitions by Investopedia.