While eating my favorite Italian food for lunch, I found myself wondering what tools I could use to identify information regarding companies and potential company contacts.
A few came to mind…
First, meet EDGAR (the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system), a historical archive of submissions by companies as required by law for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In 1984 EDGAR began collecting electronic documents to help investors acquire information (or for us to use in the future).
EDGAR search tools allow the user to search information related to company or fund name, ticker symbol, SIC (Standard Industrial Classification), recent filings, voting records and much more.
For sourcing purposes, I like to use the option, “Boolean and advanced searching, including addresses.”
There are others you can check out here, too!
This archive has historical documents from 1994-2017 related to companies who have filed with the SEC.
You will find an easy-to-use search box, which allows you to enter specific dates and company names with simple Boolean terms, such as “sun|microsystem.”
Documents you might run across include:
- Form 144 (notice of proposed sales of securities)
- Forms 3, 4 and 5 (ownership and transactions reports files by insiders)
- Filings by foreign companies and foreign governments before November 2002
My favorite page to check out is the “Filing Detail” page, which gives a lot of information. I like to click the .html, .xml and .txt files to see what goodies are inside. You can find company names, reporting official’s names and more. The XML files allow you to see information as a document tree and the .txt file is often the complete submission text file. Who doesn’t love a text file?!
Everyone reads magazines, but did you know that they can be used to find valuable information on many different companies and organizations? I have often been in the doctor’s office, scrummaging the massive stacks of expired magazines. Before my career in sourcing, I would have never thought of periodicals as a “go-to” resource for data and competitive intelligence.
Many popular business magazines and newspapers include Fortune, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and their kin are chock full of company information. If you are a paperless kind of person who does not like the feel of a new magazine, you can find them on the Internet in digital format, too.
Here are some popular ones:
- www.fortune.com – Enter your favorite companies or keywords to get the latest and greatest.
- www.forbes.com – #LikeABoss is a great section regarding those in business as well as #StartupLife.
- www.wsj.com – Coverage of current headlines from the US and around the world.
- www.bloomberg.com – My favorite go-to for data and analysis regarding companies. Additionally, it has articles from Businessweek and Bloomberg News.
You can determine which companies are hiring and what type of job openings they have, thus putting you ahead of your competition. I find that researching companies, whether Fortune 500 or start-ups, can be instrumental in identifying a company’s daily insights into their activities from mergers and acquisitions to information about the company’s C-level staff.