How to find Company information
Finding Background Information
Looking at a company's web site will only scratch the surface of your research. It's important to consult third party sources to generate a complete report.
Steps for finding background information:
- Use a check list to help organize the process.
- Develop an overview.
- Identify whether the company is public or private.
- Determine corporate structure.
- Look for company history.
- Read financial disclosure reports.
- Consider industry ratios, if relevant.
- Establish corporate rankings, when relevant.
- Browse periodical indexes to find articles.
- Use newspaper indexes to find current articles.
- Search Internet sources.
Newspaper & Periodical Databases
List of Executives
Board of Directors
Many business databases have specific tools embedded within their structure that make the search process easier. Included here, are web sites freely available to the general public, along with those accessible only through the Baker proxy.
- Business Insights Global
Includes "company profiles, company brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies" as well as periodical articles and current news about the companies.
- Business Searching Interface
This Business Source Premier interface enables direct access to screens for browsing Company or Industry Profiles, and Country and Market Research Reports. In addition, the following new source types are included: Academic Journals, SWOT Analyses, Trade Publications, Industry Profiles, Company Profiles, Market Research Reports and Product Reviews.
- Fortune 500
is a ranking of the top 500 United States public corporations as measured by gross revenue. Fortune magazine compiles and publishes the list annually.
is a frequently used term used to reference the top 100 firms in this same list, and
refers to the top 1000 firms ranked according to the same methodology. The Fortune 500 should not be confused with the S&P 500, which is a stock market index.
- Lexis/Nexis Academic
This link opens directly into the Company Dossier section. Information is gathered from a wide array of sources, including: Standard and Poor's Corporate Descriptions, Hoover's Company Reports, Disclosure Reports and more. Subject areas include: Business & Financial News, U.S. and international company financial information, market research, industry reports, industry ratios, and SEC filings.
- Yahoo! Finance
"Yahoo! Finance brings you company profiles from Capital IQ, who provides users with information on over 9,000 public companies, including contact information, business summaries, officer and employee information, sector and industry classifications, business and earnings announcement summaries, and financial statistics and ratios. Yahoo adds stock charts based on historical data from Commodity Systems, Inc. (CSI), and links to other resources."
Newspaper and periodical articles can provide extensive and varied types of information on companies--for example, historical background, new ventures, marketing campaigns, analyses of financial situations, and biographical profiles of key executives. Articles are often the best way to locate information on private companies. In addition, searching a company's hometown newspaper can sometimes reveal some interesting nuggets not normally seen by more national publications.
- Wall Street Journal
Includes the full text of The Wall Street Journal. Coverage: 1984 - current.
- Lexis/Nexis Academic
Provides full-text of more than 350 newspapers from the U.S. and around the world, including The New York Times (dating back to 1980) and The Washington Post (dating back to 1977).
- ABI/Inform Dateline
Search a unique resource focusing on hard-to-find local and regional business news coverage of large corporations, privately held companies, local start-ups, executive profiles, marketing, finance, and industry news. Provides access to business information not typically found in national news sources. Contains news and analysis, information on local markets, and more gathered from major business tabloids, magazines, daily newspapers, wire services, and city, state, and regional business publications. Coverage: 1985-current
- Regional Business News
Provides full text coverage for 75 business journals, newspapers and newswires from all metropolitan and rural areas within the United States.
You can glean much helpful information by examining how companies project their identities and public images through their own versions of the past as well as discovering how others view them. The following sites will provide some insight into corporate histories.
2. When the company profile comes up, select:Company History
Start at the Company Dossier screen and enter your company name.
- Select your company from the Results List.
- In the Snapshot Screen, under Overview, scroll down to Business Description.
- Select: Hoover's Company Records - In-depth Records
4. In the new Hoover's screen, scroll down to History.
- Library of Congress Guide to Business History Resources
Includes selected titles of books, primarily focusing on United States companies, and when available, links are included to online tables of contents, and indexes. Links are also included to selected Internet resources relating to business history.
Some large companies disclose information to investment analysts. Investment analysts reports are available from:
This is the section of Lexis/Nexis known as Company Dossier.
Once you have searched and selected your parent company, look in the left navigation column.
Under Financials, select: Analyst Reports.
Although it isn't always a complete list, some databases do report the major executive personnel in their organizations. They are available from:
1. First, browse for your company in the Company Profiles box.
2. After locating your company, select the MarketLine .PDF report.
3. When the report comes up, use the left navigation column, and select Key Employees.
A directory and organizational chart of 130,000 employees at 8,000 organizations around the world. Especially helpful for trying to locate names, titles, and reporting structures. Be careful about accuracy and timeliness since this is a wiki dependent on individual postings.
The Official Board
This is a wiki of organization charts for 20,000 public and private corporations around the world with an annual revenue of more than $100 million. It largely relies on individual users to submit names, therefore, be wary of accuracy.
Sometimes it's helpful to know the names of the members of the Board of Directors of a company.
- Business Week
Business Week does a good job finding this type of information.
1. First, select Finance from the top navigation bar.
2. Find the Company Lookup link on the right side of the page.
3. After typing in the name of the company, select the People tab, then the Board of Directors link.
4. A complete list with active links will lead to more info.