The most expedient way to find corporate information is to look online. There are numerous sources of corporate information readily available on the Internet. When researching a particular corporation begin by looking at its Web site. Most corporations have a Web site with basic information describing the business, key personnel and contact information. Also most corporations will post their annual report including financial statements and other key information necessary for analyzing the corporation's structure operations and activities.
The daily business reports on the television news can be a good way to find corporate information. When something is reported in the news that is of interest it can always be further researched through other sources. There are also newspapers and magazines that provide corporate information, such as the Wall Street Journal, Barons, Business Week, etc. These sources can be used for historical research as well because back issues are readily available in libraries and on the Internet.
Another good way to find corporate information is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) EDGAR data base. Public companies (those that have had a public stock offering) and companies that issue debt (bonds) must report to the SEC on a quarterly and annual basis. The quarterly reports are called 10Q and the annual reports are called 10K. These reports are very detailed financial and operational reports designed to keep analysts, investors and potential investors fully informed as to the financial and operational status of the corporate entity making the report. Most investment and business analysts rely heavily on the EDGAR data base for their information.
Another valuable source of corporate information is subscription service businesses that sell corporate information. Companies such as Moody's, Standard and Poor's, Reuters, Bloomberg L.P., and Dunn and Bradstreet all maintain elaborate databases on corporations and sell reports and information as well as subscriptions to their databases which allow subscribers to perform their own research as needed. The information in some of these databases has the advantage of being gathered by third parties as opposed to being reported by the corporation in question as with the EDGAR database.
Most corporations are willing to make information available to interested parties. Of course there is some information that cannot be made available such trade secrets, personal information about employees and other confidential information. However, in today's business climate it is in most corporations' best interest to be as transparent as possible and most investors expect transparency to the greatest extent possible. This makes it very easy to find corporate information.