Company Research

Librarian: Jennifer Garrett

Directories . Profiles . Histories . Financials . Ratios & Rankings . Market Share . Stocks . Private . Local . News

Identify Companies Using Directories

Directories usually provide addresses and phone numbers, executive names, industry codes, estimated sales, and number of employees. Some directories provide much more information -- biographies of officers, detailed financial information, stock reports, news, analyses of business strategies and recent developments, and more.

Online directories will allow you to generate a list of companies based on various criteria.

Next Search for U.S. or Canadian businesses by name or create an "Advanced Search" to search by NAICS code, city, zipcode, etc.

LexisNexis Academic (U.S., Int.)
Next Dossier Create Company List

Thomson One
Next Use the 'Screening' module to set up specific search queries

ThomasNet (U.S.)


Company Profiles

LexisNexis Academic (U.S., Int.)

PrivCo (private company information)

Business Source Complete (U.S., Int.)
Next Company Profiles

Company Histories

These sources can give you information about ownership, brands and/or products, mergers, boards of directors, name changes, and of course, company histories.

International Directory of Company Histories

Business Source Complete
Next Company Profiles section, older news articles

Company Financials

Business researchers and investors often use Financial Reports, Annual Reports or 10-K's. Financial Reports tend to be of two kinds: balance sheets and income statements. A balance sheet is a status report that describes the financial condition of a company at a fixed point in time. An income statement, also called an earnings report, shows how much money is gained or lost during a given fiscal year or quarter. Financial statements are included in annual reports (sometimes abridged), S&P reports, and Value Line, among other sources.

Two of the most common types of corporate reports are the 10-K and the Annual Report. The 10-K is the detailed report submitted to the S.E.C. and is the most exhaustive source of current corporate information. The Annual Report is the report to the shareholders and is not an official filing. This is often the glossy snapshot: mostly positive, discussing plans and company outlook, with financial data included.

(U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)

Thomson One
(Full functionality requires IE browser)

LexisNexis Academic
Next Business tab Next Company Dossier

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage
Next Company section (Guided Tour)

WRDS (Compustat)
Extract data for use in spreadsheets or statistical software

PrivCo (private company financials)

Company Comparisons Using Ratios & Rankings

One of the ways to evaluate the performance of any given company is by comparing that company to other companies or its industry. To facilitate comparisons, ratios are often calculated using the numbers on financial statements. Financial ratios provide a standard of comparison. Many financial elements, such as inventory size, are validated by their relationship/ratio to other elements in a company's financial record, such as sales. Comparing these ratios to similar asset-sized companies or to the industry can result in a better understanding of the financial health of a company.

See Sources of Financial Ratios.

Find out how a particular company ranks against its competitors, or within a geographical area.

Business Rankings Annual
Available online through Gale Directory Library.
Note: This resource points to various sources of specific trade publications that produce various quantitative and qualitative rankings.

Thomson One
(Full functionality requires IE browser)
Next Screen for similar companies and export financials in Excel to conduct quantitative analysis.

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage
(Stock ratings)

Stock Performance

Stock performance provides information to investors to understand and make decisions to determine a company's financial health. Looking at stock resources is also sometimes a good place to find ratios and other financial information for business researchers, and information sources of stock performance often include commentary by analysts. (Note: In order for companies to provide stock information, the companies must be publicly traded.) 

See sources of Stock Performance information.

Market Share

Market share is the ratio of sales of a company's entire product line when compared to the total sales of all similar companies. It can also refer to the ratio of sales of a specific product or brand to the total sales of comparable products within a defined area (county, continent, etc.). Market share is usually presented as a percentage, although sometimes a raw number representing revenue dollars or units is provided.  Revenue dollars are generally reported as gross sales.

Market Share Reporter
Available online through Gale Directory Library

Business Source Complete
Next Advanced Search Next limit results using the subject term "market share"

LexisNexis Academic
Next Power Search Next limit results using index term "market share"


Next Industry market research with market share available under "Major Companies" tab.

Private Companies

Research on private companies (particularly small private companies) can be challenging, since private companies are not required to make available the same information required of public companies. It is typically necessary to search a number of sources for available information. Some  sources to consider are the company's web site and local/regional news sources.

PrivCo (I recommend starting here)

Lexis Nexis Academic

Corporate Affiliations

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage

Regional Business News Database

Triangle Business Journal

Non-Profit Organizations

The NCCS (National Center for Charitable Statistics) is the national clearinghouse of data on the non-profit sector in the United States. The NCCS offers invaluable, high-quality information about non-profit and charitable organizations including data and statistics, custom search and report builder capabilities, charitable giving information, and rankings by geographic and NTEE classification. Access via the library's website here: NCCS Data Web 

For information about starting or managing a nonprofit (including grant funding and fellowship information): for Nonprofits

U.S. Small Business Association

FindLaw provides legal and tax information for non-profits as well as advice on strategic and financial planning.

For tax and financial information, Exempt Organization Public Disclosure and Availability Requirements are available from the IRS.

Local Companies

Regional Business News Database


State of North Carolina Department of Commerce

North Carolina Department of Secretary of State, Corporations Division

State of North Carolina, List of Agencies

Raleigh Municipal Government

Raleigh Chamber of Commerce