Company Research

This guide provides an overview of how to conduct detailed company research

Company Financials

The following databases provide access to company financials and other finance related information (such as stock prices, analyst estimates, etc.).

These databases are available through the Boston Public Library All students in Massachusetts are eligible to sign up for a BPL ecard. The links  will bring you to the BPL list of resources. Scroll through the list to find individual titles.

The Annual Report to Shareholders is the principal document used by most public companies to disclose corporate information to shareholders. It is usually a state-of-the-company report including an opening letter from the Chief Executive Officer, financial data, results of continuing operations, market segment information, new product plans, subsidiary activities and research and development activities on future programs. Annual Reports are probably the best single source of information on public companies.

CAUTION: Keep in mind that annual reports are written by the companies themselves and used as a public relations tool. Although there are guidelines, companies do have a fair amount of freedom in preparing the reports. The amount of information included will vary greatly from company to company, and you often have to read between the lines or consult other resources to obtain a truly accurate view of a company.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations require companies that sell stock (public companies) file a number of financial reports with the Commission. These reports are made publicly available and provide a wealth of information. Below are some of the key reports used in company research. Check out the SEC website for more information about the SEC or descriptions of the many corporate filings and forms.

10-K: An SEC filing containing more detailed financial information than annual reports; text may include products, markets, distribution channels, research and development, patent, and environmental safety information. Available in Mergent Online and EDGAR.

10-Q: Quarterly financial reports. Available in: Mergent Online and EDGAR.

Proxy Statements: A report to stock holders issued prior to the annual meeting or a vote on significant changes to provide security holders the information needed to vote informed. You often find ownership information and salaries of company executives in these documents. Available in EDGAR (labeled as DEF 14A), and on some company websites.

In addition to the resources available through the MCLA Library, there are a number of companies and organizations that make some information available for free through their websites. Some of the information listed below will be completely available for free, while others will give you a preview in hopes that you will pay for more access.