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Company Research Guide

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

Public Companies: 10-K Annual Filing

First Step for Public Company Research: 10-K Annual Report

Public companies are required to file financial information with the SEC. Each year a public company will produce a 10-K annual report.*  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 closely, especially these two sections:

  1. Item 1: Business
  2. Item 7: Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations ("MD&A") 

*A 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.

You can you usually locate a company's 10-K on the "Investor" section of the company's web site. The library databases listed on the Financial Information page of this guide also contain 10-Ks and other SEC filings.

Company Profiles: Best Sources for Comprehensive Information

These are the best library resources for retrieving a company profile and comprehensive company information.

  • Search Tip: Type a company name or ticker symbol into the search box and choose a company from the list of suggestions to retrieve a company profile. The profile may include financial information, SWOT report, company chronology, market share information, rankings, industry reports, articles about the company/industry, and more.

Note: If you receive an error message, try opening the database link in an incognito or private browsing window. Contact the Reference Desk if you are unable to connect.

  • Search Tip: On the landing page, start by clicking on [Industries], choose an Industry, then click on the [Companies] tile located on the right side of the page. Search for a company by name. After you've performed a search, look for the [Local Company Profile] or [Global Company Profile] report. (Not all companies will have a company profile)
  • 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.
  • Search Tip: Click on [Company Profiles]. Enter the company name in the search box and click [Browse]. Locate your company in the list and click on [MarketLine Report]. Reports contain a SWOT analysis (for most public companies).
  • Search Tip: Search for a company, then explore these pages:
    • Use the [Government Filings] page to search for SEC filings
    • The [Company Details] page 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.
    • The [Company Financials] page includes financial details from the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows, and retained earnings statements. Also includes profitability, liquidity, debt management, asset management, and per share ratios 
    • Use the [Investext] page to access investment research reports written by analysts at leading investment banks, brokerage houses, and consulting firms.
    • The [Report Builder] page allows you to create custom reports, including company-industry comparison reports.
  • Search Tip: Search using the company's name or ticker symbol ro retrieve a company profile. Then, use the links on the left side of your screen to explore related information, such as equity research (stock reports), investment research, financials, news, etc.

Create Lists of Companies by Industry, Location & More

Use these databases to look up individual companies and to generate lists of companies using detailed search criteria, such as industry (NAICS or SIC Code), number of employees, sales, location (country, state, city, zip code), company status (public or private), and more.

Note: If you receive an error message, try opening the database link in an incognito or private browsing window. Contact the Reference Desk if you are unable to connect.

  • Search tip: Click on [PEOPLE AND COMPANIES] in the navigation bar, then select [Business List] from the [List Type] drop-down box. Build a list of companies according to criteria that you select from the options on the left side of the screen.
  • Search Tip: Compile a list of companies based on a variety of criteria (NAICS code, size, geography, etc.): At the top of the Nexis Uni page, click on [Menu], select [Company Dossier], then choose [Create a Company List].
  • Search Tip: Click on the [Browse All Companies] button. Use the drop-down boxes to select criteria (geography, revenue, industry) to generate a list of companies.