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MG6326: Effective Communication for Leaders (Lampe)

Company Research

It is easier to find information about public companies (those that sell stock to shareholders) than about private companies (those that are privately owned by an individual or a group).  Public companies in the United States are required by law to file documents with the Securities and Exchange commission (SEC).  These include the 10K (annual)and 10Q (quarterly) reports.  In addition, public companies issue an annual report to shareholders.

When looking for information about a company, consider both information from the company itself (e.g., the company website, SEC filings, press releases, etc.) as well as information about the company written by others (e.g., newspaper articles, analyst reports, articles by professors, etc.).

Finding information about a company includes the following steps:

  • Get an overview of the company, find out if it is public or private
  • Find the company website and review it carefully, particularly the sections for investors or media/press.
  • If the company is public, find relevant 10K and 10Q reports and annual reports to shareholders
  • Search for news, magazine and other periodical articles for information.  This may be the only way to find information on private companies.
  • If the company is public, search for analyst and brokerage reports. These sometimes contain an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
  • Identify competitors.

NAICS and SIC Codes

NAICS and SIC codes help classify and measure industry activity. Knowing the code for your industry will help you find reports, articles, and other information on that industry.

The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) is gradually replacing the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.

Even though the codes are standardized, different resources will assign codes differently. Additionally, many companies can have multiple codes because of their various business segments. Be flexible and cautious when using codes to search, and always check multiple sources.

If you already have a company but don't know what code(s) are associated with it, try the following databases.

If you only have the SIC code but the resource you are using only provides NAICS codes, you might want to try and convert your SIC code to the NAICS code. You can use the following documents to help.

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), developed by the S&P Dow Jones Indices, was designed in response to the global financial community’s need for accurate, complete and standard industry definitions. The GICS structure consists of 10 sectors, 24 industry groups, 67 industries and 156 sub-industries.

Industry and Company Information -- RU Databases

Search these two databases using the company or industry search to find company financials and industry overviews.

How to Find SWOT Analysis Reports

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique companies use to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a way to analyze both the positive and negative factors related to planning and competition. Use the database Nexis Uni and the pdf guide to help you find SWOT reports on a company of interest.

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