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Topics in Business: Company Research: Free online resources

Image from Freestock. Image used under license from Freestock.com

Federal Government Resources

U. S. Securities & Exchange Commission
THE place to find 10-ks, 20-fs and other useful public filings. Use the search function at the top right ("Company filings"). Remember: to search for the 10-k or 20-f for a particular company, always search for "10-k," not "10k" without the hyphen.

The federal government is a treasure trove of information about companies, both public and private. However, searching for that information can be a complex matter. Please consult the business research specialist, Olivia Olivares, for more information. Contact information is on the first tab of this guide ("Starting company research").

 

Additional free business resources

Company websites

Company websites contain a wealth of information about companies -- IF you know where to look. Most companies in the United States are easily found online simply by searching Google or another search engine for www.nameofcompany.com. For example: www.cocacola.com, www.macys.com, www.homedepot.com. However, those websites are primarily marketing tools, created to sell the company's products. What you want is the corporate website, not the marketing tool.

Fortunately, the corporate website is almost always linked to the marketing website. It's usually at the bottom of the marketing website's initial page. For example: Here's Home Depot's marketing website. Note: the URL is www.homedepot.com.


To find the corporate website for Home Depot, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. You'll see a range of options, but the ones you want are "Corporate Information" and "Investor Relations."



The marketing websites' links to the corporate websites will most often be called by similar names: "corporate information," "investor relations," "about the company," "about us," and similar names. The most important thing to note is that the URL will change, too. When you click "Corporate Information," the URL changes from www.homedepot.com to corporate.homedepot.com. Clicking "investor relations" will change the URL from www.homedepot.com to ir.homedepot.com. Should you use information from either website in assignments, you'll need the new URL for citation purposes.

The corporate webpages will get you in-depth information about the company's operations and initiatives that aren't always found in other resources like the 10-k. For example, Home Depot's corporate information page has links to the company's sustainability initiatives and charitable endeavors.