Researching a Company: Step by Step
1. Visit the company's Web site. The content of Web sites varies, but most companies include mission and vision statements, executive and board member names and biographies, annual reports, press releases, locations, products and brands, and strategy. Check the "About Us" and "Investor Relations" sections. Be aware, however, that the Web site is a marketing tool, and presents only the company’s point of view. You’ll also want to study outside sources.
2. Review the company’s 10K filing, available in FIS Mergent and in EDGAR. These documents, prepared for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are sources of information on business strategy, risk factors, legal matters, financial data, management discussion, and officer and director bios and compensation.
3. Review comprehensive company reports in FIS Mergent, Business Insights and Ebsco Business Source Elite databases. In addition to financial information, these reports include information on competitors, history, SWOT analyses, products and brands, market share, legal matters, and news articles.
4. Examine the company’s financial statements using Factiva and FIS Mergent.
5. Review stock reports and investment analyses in Standard & Poors NetAdvantage, Value Line, Morningstar Investment Research Center and Business Insights. You can also check Yahoo Finance, and your own resources, if available. (Fidelity, Scottrade, etc.)
6. Study the industry in which the company operates. Industry reports can be found in Factiva, FIS Mergent, Standard & Poors NetAdvantage, Business Insights, and First Research. Industry trade association Web sites may also supply research, although often it’s available only to members.
7. Read news and journal articles about the company and the industry in Ebsco Business Source Elite, Factiva, ABI Inform Complete Proquest, and Lexis Nexis Academic. Combine the company name with keywords to find relevant articles.
The Wall Street Journal and The Economist are available in the ABI Inform Complete database. To browse recent issues, click on the links below. There is a link to the current issue near the top of each citation. Expand the dates near the bottom of the page to select previous issues. To search for articles by subject, enter keywords in the search box.