Ten Steps to Company Intelligence
Step 1: Identify the Company
First, find out who the company is and what it does. Good starting places are Hoover's Online and OneSource. Determine whether the company is publicly-owned (stock trades) or privately-held. U.S. public companies must file reports with the SEC. You can usually find annual reports (Thomson Research), SEC filings (EDGAR), stock reports and brokerage-house reports (Investext on OneSource) for them. They are also more likely to make news and be covered in the business press. All of these source are discussed further in the following steps.
Step 2: Profile the Company
Hoover's Online excels at concisely summarizing a company's business. Their subscription Profiles are more detailed portraits that include a company overview, company history, sales, profits, number of employees, principle executives, multi-year financial statements, locations, products and services, brands, and key competitors. Hoover's Profiles are also found in Factiva. OneSource is another excellent source for company profiles, compiling company information from many sources into one coherent report. MarketLine Advantage (formerly Datamonitor360) features profiles for more than 50,000 public and private companies. If your company is not included in these databases you can compile your own profile from sources listed in the next steps.
Step 3: Find Current News and In-depth Articles about the Company
Articles published in leading business magazines and trade journals often provide added depth and insight into a company's operations, strategy and competition. OneSearch is a new discovery tool that simultaneously searches articles published in tens of thousands of our subscription sources. Both ABI/INFORM and Business Source Premier (EBSCO) index, abstract, and provide full-text for leading english language business and economics magazines and journals. Take advantage of the Library's subscriptions to Factiva and Lexis-Nexis to find both current news and business articles. All of our subscription services are listed in the Articles subject guide. You can also check any of the excellent business Web sites devoted to business news such as Bloomberg, CNNMoney, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance or Google Business News.
Step 4: Visit the Company's Web Site
Companies are savvy corporate communicators. They recognize the value of having informative Web sites where they can showcase their products and services and communicate their vision. Hoover's Online and OneSource. CorporateInformation.com is a directory of major U.S. and international companies. The Directories Guide lists and links to databases and Web sites that are helpful in identifying companies. Try searching Google directly by company name or use the Web Sites subject guide to link to other business directories and search engines. provide links to company Web sites.
Step 5: Examine the Company's Financials and Market Performance
Public companies issue annual and quarterly report cards containing income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements that reveal their financial soundness and profitability. The daily stock market reflects investors' collective opinion on publicly traded companies' current performance and future prospects. You can find fully exportable financial statements in Thomson Research (U.S. and Foreign), and Thomson One Banker (U.S. & Foreign). EDGAR (SEC) filings and standardized financials along with ratio comparisons are available through Factiva, OneSource and Hoover's Online. Thomson One Banker provides worldwide company reports, analytics and market data. The Standard & Poor's Stock Reports and the Value Line Investment Survey Online provide quarterly summaries of the business, financial and market performance of public companies. Morningstar, Reuter's and Yahoo! Finance offer free stock reports along with premium services. Check for additional sources in the Investment Subject Guide.
Step 6: Clarify the Company's Strategy
U.S. Public Companies usually succinctly state their Business Strategy in "Item 1. Business" of their Form 10-K, which is the annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 10-Ks are included in EDGAR, Factiva, Thomson Research, Hoover's Online, OneSource, Yahoo! Finance and many other Web sites. For IPOs look for the Registartion Statements, S-1s, and their amendments in 424s. The Business overview in the 10-K provides a detailed discussion of the company's strategy, products and services, operations, marketing, distribution, international business, suppliers and government regulation as well as competitive conditions in the industry.
Step 7: Locate Investment Research Reports
Analysts at leading investment firms such as CreditSuisse, Deutsche Bank, and other firms regularly produce research reports on both U.S. and international publicly traded companies. These reports are written by industry specialists who follow and analyze all developments that impact a company's fortunes. You can access the reports through Investext on Thomson One. You will also find a selection of Investext reports in OneSource.
Step 8: Survey the Industry and Competition
No company operates alone. Each company is affected by industry conditions and the actions of its competitors. IBISWorld U.S. & Global Industry Reports features over 700 reports on U.S. industries and a growing collection of global industry reports. The U.S. reports are written at the 5-digit level of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). All of the reports use Michael Porter's Five Forces Frameowork. Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys provide timely, sophisticated analyses of more than 50 major U.S. industries and a growing number of global industries. OneSource pulls together company and industry reports, statistics and articles from leading business publishers. Euromonitor International's GMID: Global Market Information Database is an online database providing business intelligence on countries, consumers and industries. It offers integrated access to statistics, market reports, company profiles and information sources. 205 countries are researched, with extended coverage of 52. MarketLine Advantage (formerly Datamonitor360) has thousands of in-depth company and industry analyses including SWOT analyses and Porter's Five Forces Industry scorecards. It includes Market Research Monitor. MarketResearch.com Academic features in-depth market research reports on selected products and demographic groups. Business Insights offers international market research reports on Consumer Goods, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Technology, Telecoms, eCommerce and Human Resources. Hoover's Online has lists of competitors for each company it profiles. These lists are also in Factiva. OneSource enables you to create your own lists with criteria that you specify, such as total sales or number of employees . Hoover's Online has industry overviews and First Research Industry Reports. Gale's Business & Company Resource Center combines industry essays with statistics, market share data and company ranking. BCC Research reports explore major economic, scientific, and technological developments in industrial, pharmaceutical, and high technology organizations. Industry analysis and market forecasts for advanced materials, high-tech systems and components, nanotechnology and novel processing methods are at the forefront of the company's expertise. Frost & Sullivan [free registration] provides in-depth market research reports covering: Aeorspace & Defence, Automotive & Transportation, Business & Financial Services, Chemicals Materials & Food. Healthcare, Information & Communication Technologies & more. UF faculty, staff and students click on the information icon for login instructions. The Value Line Investment Survey organizes its individual company reports by industry and includes a quarterly overview. EBSCO's Business Source Premier now features industry reports from Datamonitor and other sources. Search the Articles databases for both industry and competitor information. Click on the Industry Research Tutorial for a step-by-step tutorial on finding industry intelligence. Be sure to check the Industries subject guide for additional sources of industry information.
Step 9: Learn How to Analyze a Company
Now that you have gathered information about the company, industry, and competition, you can fully utilize it by taking advantage of a special feature in Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys. Each survey has a section on how to analyze a company in that specific industry. This feature clues you into what special factors to consider when you evaluate the company and what to look for in the financial statements.
Step 10: Putting It All Together
Factiva permits you to run a Custom Report in the Company section that pulls together a stock quote, profile, articles and financial statements for public companies. OneSource has a One-Stop Report feature that enables you to select data from the underlying sources and create your own customized company report. Gale Business & Company Resource Center also provides access to multiple company and industry sources. And remember that you can always find the sources for company information in the Company Information Center.