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Business: Company Info

Company Information 

Important Terms

NAICS Code - The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) uses six-digit codes to identify an industry. The NAICS system is gradually replacing the SIC system. Many resources use these codes to identify a company’s activities, index companies by activity, and to define industry data and information. For more information on the history and structure of the NAICS, as well as to search for codes, visit the NAICS Association website at and the U.S. Census Bureau at

Private Company – A private company is one that is owned by an individual, family, or group of partners. The amount of information that private companies must report is limited, and much of that is confidential. Thus, it is often difficult to find much information on a private company.

Public Company – A public company is a company that issues securities or shares of stock for the public. Those who purchase these securities or shares become investors in and owners of the company. This process is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and public companies must file numerous financial and other reports with the SEC. Because these reports are public information, much data and information can be found when researching public companies. For more information, visit the SEC website at

SIC Code - Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are four-digit codes used to identify an industry. Many resources use these codes to identify a company’s activities, index companies by activity, and to define industry data and information. For information on the history of the SIC codes and information about its replacement, the NAICS, visit the NAICS Association website at An excellent website for a list of SIC codes and to search for a code is the OSHA site from the U.S. Department of Labor at

Subsidiary – A company which is owned in whole or in part by another company. When researching a subsidiary, it is often advantageous to also research the owning company or the parent company.

Company Profile - Key facts 

Tip: Use Hoover Reports, in Business Market Research Collection, to find key facts and information about your company. 

Tip: For active companies, the most current and reliable information is likely on their own website. There may be various locations and contact methods depending on purpose.

Best Databases for Company Information 

Tip: In Business Insights, use the company's primary industry link to find competitors 

Annual Reports 

If it is a public company, go to the annual report to shareholders. The annual report is perhaps the best single source of information on a company, but keep in mind that it is written partially as a promotional tool by the company itself and is not an entirely unbiased source. Annual reports appear as parts of various database services, and many companies provide annual reports on their websites or will send out paper copies on request. When you are on a company’s website, look for a link labeled Investor Relations. 

Tip: Business Insights and Business Market Research Collection have Annual Reports for companies. In Business Insights, use the Investment Reports link for company annual reports.  In Business Market, use the Company Profile limiter for company annual reports. 

Tip: If you are searching EDGAR use the 10-K report. It is the company's Annual Report. 

Business Products and Services

Tip: Use news articles to find information about a company's current products or services 

Tip: Use Business (Gale OneFile) to find journal articles on products and services. 

Industry Overviews

Your first step in researching a company should be finding information about the industry the company belongs to. Use the library resources below for industries in the United States. Tip: Business Insights will list the company's industry on the company profile page.