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BBM 320 Business Communications: Company Information Center

Company & Industry Profiles

Understanding how a company is organized is the first step in company research. This information guides the researcher to the right types of sources and sets the appropriate expectation of how much information can be found. (See additional information below)

The amount of information available varies greatly depending on the type of company. Most company databases have information on public companies, but there are sources that specialize in private company information and subsidiaries as well.

The resources listed on this page contain in depth reports on companies.  The number of companies and the depth of the information provided in each of these sources varies.  You may want to look at several of them.  If you are looking for specific information about a company such as SWOT analysis, use the tabs at the top of the guide.  If you have questions or problems contact James McCloskey, james.m.mccloskey@wilmu.edu.

Company Profiles

Information on companies varies greatly depending on the type of company. Use a directory to determine whether a company is public, private, non-profit or non-U.S.

Public - There is a great deal of information available on companies which trade on the stock market - SEC filings, annual reports, analysts' reports, news stories, etc.

Private - Information on private companies is more difficult to find.  Directories and news stories may be the main sources. All 50 states make some level of corporate and business filings available online, see Business Filings Databases for links to the states.

International - The amount of information on international companies varies. If the company trades on the U.S. exchanges it must file annual reports (20-F) with the SEC. Other information can be found in directories, databases, newspapers and magazines.

Non-Profit - Nonprofits must file IRS Form 990 which includes financial data.  Form 990 and other information on nonprofits  such as organizational statistics, a summary of organization goals and activities, list of board members and executives can be found in Guidestar.org. For more information see the Nonprofit Industry Research Guide.

Subsidiary - A subsidiary is part of a larger parent company.  Parent companies do not necessarily disclose subsidiary information separately.  Information is usually interwoven within parent company profiles and financials.  Some parent companies may provide information on subsidiaries via the corporate website.  Other information may be located through news articles.

Company Research Venn Diagram