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Tutt Library Research Guides


Economics and Business: Company Types


For conducting company research, there are 3 major types:

Publicly Traded Companies

Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and/or its international counterparts

Offer shares in the company for sale to the general public

Required to make a variety of public disclosures throughout the year

  • to protect investors
  • ensure equal access to company financials

SEC - Securities and Exchange Commission

Important filings include: 

  - the 10-K Annual Report,
  - 10-Q Quarterly Report,
  - 8-K disclosure of material events

Access through:

    - each company has a report tab

LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe
    -Use company section on left navigation

   - SEC's system (Free)

Privately-Held Companies

These companies do not need to make the comprehensive SEC filings that required of publicly-traded companies.

Consequently, the amount, quality, and scope of available information is limited.

Sources for information:

  • Business entity filings
       (i.e. articles of incorporation)
  • Required government filings for companies in regulated industries
       (i.e. banking, insurance, etc.)
  • Newspaper articles
  • Subscription services
  • Voluntary disclosures


Information varies greatly for nonprofit companies.
   - Larger nonprofits may voluntarily disclose financial statements and other useful documents.  
   - 501(c) tax-exempt companies are required to file a Form 990 with the IRS.

Guidestar provides information about nonprofits

  - most of it free with registration

Nonprofit Explorer just over 600,000 nonprofit organizations

- organizations that has been recognized as tax exempt by the IRS
- includes all 27 nonprofit designations

The United States of Nonprofits

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