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APS1036: FEEL: Formative Experiential Entrepreneurial Learning

Research strategies and resources for building a market landscape

Company Research

Companies may be competitors, potential customers, partners or an exit strategy. Select a database to search for a company profile created by an analyst or reporter, or search for annual reports and audited financial statements.

Use the links below to access library databases. You may be asked to sign in using your UTORid if you're off campus.

Can't find what you're looking for? More company research resources can be found in the Entrepreneurship Research Guide.

Company profiles

Companies may be competitors, potential customers, partners or an exit strategy. Search company profiles in the databases and directories below, or jump to information resources for Annual Reports and Regulatory Filings.

Annual reports and regulatory filings

US companies must submit annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q , and current reports on Form-8-K for a number of specified events and must comply with a variety of other disclosure requirements.

Understanding filings

The federal securities laws require public companies to disclose information on an ongoing basis. This means the public can access financial and other information on the open web.

 

Main form types of interest are:

  1. Form 10-K: audited annual report

  2. Form 10-Q: unaudited quarterly report

  3. Form 8-K: current or “material” information

  4. Registration statement (Form S-1) and prospectus (Form F-6)

 

The annual report on Form 10-K provides a comprehensive overview of the company's business and financial condition and includes audited financial statements. Although similarly named, the annual report on Form 10-K is distinct from the “annual report to shareholders,” which a company must send to its shareholders when it holds an annual meeting to elect directors.

 

The annual report on Form 10-K, which must be filed with the SEC, may contain more detailed information about the company’s financial condition than the annual report and will include the annual financial statements of the company.  Companies sometimes elect to send their annual report on Form 10-K to their shareholders in lieu of, or in addition to, providing shareholders with a separate annual report to shareholders.

 

Source: https://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/edgarguide.htm

 

How to read a 10-K

The 10-K begins with a detailed description of the business, followed by risk factors, a rundown of any legal issues, and, finally, the numbers and financial notes in the back. Oftentimes, the most essential components of the annual filing are the following items:

  • Item 1: Business - a description of the company's operation

  • Item 1A: Risk Factors

  • Item 3: Legal Proceedings

  • Item 6: Selected Financial Data

  • Item 7: Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition

Source: How To Efficiently Read An Annual Report | Investopedia

See also: 12 Things you need to know about financial statements

Searching SEDAR

SEDAR (System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval) is the official site that provides access to most public securities documents and information filed by issuers with the thirteen provincial and territorial securities regulatory authorities ("Canadian Securities Administrators" or "CSA"). Companies traded publicly on exchanges such as the Toronto Stock Exchange are required to file annual reports and other documentation.

The SEDAR site provides you with three search options - NEW FILINGS, ISSUER PROFILES and SEARCH DATABASE.

1. Select "Search database"

2. Select "Search for COMPANY documents"

3. Search by (full) company name, file type, or industry group. Documents are available electronically back to 1997.

Main file types of interest are:

  • Annual Report, Annual Information Form, Management Proxy Circular (equivalent to U.S. 10-K)
  • Interim Financial Statement (equivalent to U.S. 10-Q)
  • Material Change Report (equivalent to U.S. 8-K)

Full list of file types
U.S. - Canadian filing equivalency chart

4. If a company doesn't appear in the results, check the name. If you're sure it's right, the company may not be publicly traded in Canada.

Researching Private Companies

Because there are no disclosure requirements for private companies, it can be difficult to find any information about them. 

Your best bet is to cast as wide a net as possible, using the following search strategies:

  1. Use ABI/Inform, Business Source Premier or Factiva to find articles about the company.  You may find a profile of the company in a trade publication or in a local newspaper.
  2. If the company is a startup, search CB Insights for profile and investment information, as well as similar companies in the space.
  3. If the company is large or multinational, check Capital IQ (available in the Finance Labs at Rotman, IMI (UTM) and Management (UTSC)) as they may have some non-financial information. 
  4. Google - check for a company website, LinkedIn page, news articles, etc.
  5. Contact us if you're really stuck.

If the company was previously public but has gone private, you can still access their historical public filings from when they were a public company. Check Mergent.