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Company Research Guide

This Bentley Library research guide was created to provide a starting point for researching companies.

Annual Reports, SEC Filings, and Balance Sheets

Starting point: the company's 10-K annual report.

Public companies are required to file financial information with the SEC. Each year a public company will produce an annual report (also known as a 10-K) that is sent to its shareholders.* This report provides valuable information that goes beyond the balance sheet and income statements. Usually, the entire year is recapped and you will learn about the external and internal forces affecting the company. Read this report closely, especially the "Letter to the Shareholders", Item 1 (Business) and Item 7 (Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - "MD&A") sections of the 10-K.

Here are two places to get a company's 10-K:

  1. The "Investor" section of the company's web site

  2. Library database: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Please note that a foreign company (a "foreign private issuer") that trades in the United States files a Form 20-F annual report. A foreign company files a 20-F if 50% or less of its outstanding voting securities are held by U.S. investors; once a company crosses that threshold it must file the same SEC forms as a U.S. company.

Find detailed financial information and SEC filings in the following library databases:

Search Tip: The [Company Details] tab consists of ten sub-pages, detailing various aspects of the company. Information includes a business summary, company history, list of properties owned by the company, subsidiaries (including percentage owned and geographic location), business segments (the business and geographic revenue analyses for major segments of the company’s business operations), financials, long-term debt, capital stock and earnings estimates.

Search Tip: Check the [Reports] tab for Mergent's Ford Equity Reports.

Search Tip: Use the [Investext] tab to access investment research reports written by analysts at leading investment banks, brokerage houses, and consulting firms.

Search Tip: The [Report Builder] tab allows you to create custom reports, including company-industry comparison reports.

  • Industrial Manual since 1920
  • OTC Unlisted Manual since 1986
  • Public Utility Manual since 1981
  • International Manual since 1970
  • OTC Industrial Manual since 1970
  • Bank & Finance Manual since 1928
  • Transportation Manual since 1909
  • Municipal Manuals since 1918

Search Tip: At the top of the Nexis Uni page, click on [Menu], then select [Company Dossier]. Search using the company's name or ticker symbol. Then, on the left side of company profile page, click on [SEC Filings].

Search Tip: Click on [Companies/Markets], then click on [Company]. In the [Get Company Snapshot] perform your search using the company name or ticker symbol. Note: Has a 6 user limit.

Private Companies

Top pick for small private companies:

Additional resources that may provide financial information for some private companies:

Trading Room Resources

Visit the Trading Room for access to other information resources such as Bloomberg, Capital IQ, Datastream, and FactSet.