Finding Company Information

last modified 2019-07-16T18:01:26-04:00

This guide is intended to serve as a starting point for researching company information using both online and print resources available through the University Library

Getting Started

When researching a company it is important to know if it is public, private, non-profit, a subsidiary or division of a larger company, or foreign owned. Determining this basic information will help guide you to locate the appropriate type of sources.

  • Public companies are companies that sell stock to the general public and are legally required to meet public disclosure requirements of the federal government's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). There is a great deal of information available on public companies.

Ticker symbols are letters used to uniquely identify a publicly traded company and are used to quickly locate stock price and company information in business databases. You can look up ticker symbols on freely available websites such as Yahoo! Ticker Symbol Lookup,, or within actual business databases.

  • Private companies do not sell stock to the public and are usually owned by individuals. They are not legally required to release any information about their activities. Therefore, very little information is available on private companies.
  • Mergent Online — Select D&B Private Company Database to begin finding Private Company Information.

Please look in local and state newspapers for private company information or visit the company's website. See Business Filings Databases for links to the offices of the Secretary of State where companies usually register and provide information about their operations.

  • Non-Profit organizations do not sell stock to the public and use their excess income to achieve the goals and mission of their organization’s cause. This is in contrast to public companies that distribute excess income to company shareholders. is a great website to look for non-profit organizations.
  • Parent vs. Subsidiary. A parent company is a top-level organization unit and information on a parent company is easy to find. Subsidiaries and divisions are a smaller part of a parent company. Information for a subsidiary is usually folded into the parent's company's information. It is difficult to research subsidiaries.
  • Foreign-owned companies can be difficult to research. There are some large international companies that are traded on the U.S. stock exchange, but those without markets in the U.S. are more challenging to find information.
Company Directories

Directories provide basic information for a company including the company name, address, telephone number, a list of key personnel or company officers, and some financial information. Directories also help to find out if it is a public or private company, and determines competitors.

GeorgiaNet - Georgia Corporate Search (Secretary of State Records)
This searchable directory lists all organizations or individuals licensed for business by the Georgia Secretary of State. Information provided for each license holder includes: address, chief executive officer, secretary, and chief financial officer.

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers (Free registration required) is the most comprehensive directory of North American manufacturers and products, listing over 650,000 suppliers.

Guide Star

GuideStar is the most complete source of information about U.S. charities and other nonprofit organizations there is. Search our database of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized organizations to find a charity to support, benchmark your own nonprofit's performance, research the sector, and more.

Company Profiles

Company profiles provide a wide variety of information including company's history, primary line of business, products and operations, business strategies, competitors, and historical financial information.

Business Market Research Collection (ProQuest) — Conduct company, industry, economic and geopolitical market research with information from these sources: Hoover's Company Profiles, OxResearch, and Snapshots.

Business Source Complete Business Searching Interface (EBSCO)
Business Source Complete provides full text for over 2,345 journals covering all aspect of business. In the advanced search interface, quick access is available to company profiles, country reports, industry profiles, market research reports, SWOT analyses, and articles.

Mergent Online — Provides web-based access to the most detailed, accurate and comprehensive global company database. Mergent Online provides U.S. company data as well as international company data including U.S. company data for over 15,000 public companies and their SEC filings, U.S. annual reports, international company data for approximately 17,000 companies, international annual reports, FactSheets, and country information.

Westlaw Campus Research: Law, News & Business — A comprehensive database of legal materials. Also includes a number of newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and company information, including Company Investigator and EDGAR Filings.

News & Articles

Business Source Complete Business Searching Interface (EBSCO)
Business Source Complete includes histories for approximately 10,120 largest companies. Select "Company Profile", click on the hyperlink for your company and then click on "PDF Complete Report".

ABI/INFORM Complete (ProQuest)
ABI/INFORM Complete provides full text for over 2,000 U.S. and international journals covering all aspect of business and management. ABI/INFORM Complete is a complete database comprised of ABI/INFORM Global, Dateline, and Trade & Industry sub-sets.

New York Times & Wall Street Journal via Proquest Newspapers
This database offers full-text articles from the New York Times (coverage:1980-current) and from the Wall Street Journal (coverage:1984-current).

Atlanta Business Chronicle via Westlaw Campus Research: Law, News & Business click on News and search Atlanta Business Chronicle for current articles. The Atlanta Business Chronicle features local business news about Atlanta.

Financials & Annual Reports

Many annual reports can be found on a company’s website.

Mergent Online — Select D&B Private Company Database to begin searching for Private Company information.

EDGAR Database via SEC

EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, provides free access to full-text of U. S. public corporation documents filed with U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including 10-K and 10-Q reports.

Westlaw Campus Research: Law, News & Business — Select Company Investigator and enter the ticker symbol in the box labeled Ticker/Symbol.  Select the appropriate Legal Ultimate Parent.  Mouse over the Report tab and select Company Investigator Report (Premier).  Scroll through the column on the left for links to SEC Filings, Growth Rates, Fundamental Ratios, and more. 

Value Line Investment Survey — The Value Line Research Center provides online access to Value Line's leading publications covering stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities as well as special situation stocks.

Yahoo! Finance
Yahoo! Finance provides extensive stock information, business and earnings announcement summaries, and financial statistics and ratios for over 9,000 public companies.


Rankings compare companies to each other within designated categories. Three general types of rankings are financial, geographic and market rankings.

Value Line Investment Survey — The Value Line Research Center provides online access to Value Line's leading publications covering stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities as well as special situation stocks.

Inc. 5000
Inc. magazine produces the Inc. 5000, a list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.