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 the 10-K report closely, especially the following two sections:
You can you usually locate a company's 10-K on the "Investor" section of the company's web site. The following library databases also contain 10-Ks and other SEC filings:
*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:
Top pick for small private companies:
Additional resources that may provide financial information for some private companies:
Visit the Trading Room for access to other information resources such as Bloomberg, Capital IQ, and Datastream.