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BUS 100, Introduction to Business: Key Documents

This guide is your road map to completing your BUS 100 project. We can't possibly list every resource you might need, or anticipate every stumbling block, but we've included the ones that address most companies and situations. If in doubt, ask for help.

Overview

This list identifies the documents you will want to find in order to complete your analysis.

Information Provided by Your Company

You must reference the company's web site in your analysis. It's a good source for vision, mission, & strategic statements, organization & structure, current financial information, company promotion & marketing tools, product information, and more. Corporate information may be buried on the main web site - look for an "About Us" or "Company" or "Investors" link on the home page.

But remember: the main purpose of a company's web and annual report site is to promote itself, so "trust but verify" - all of the information on the company's achievements and performance can (and should be) be verified in external sources.

The most recent report (and sometimes previous reports) is usually available on the company's web site. The annual report is a great source for vision, mission, & strategic statements, organization & structure, current financial information, recent achievements, strategic plans, and more. The annual report is a legal requirement for public companies, but it's also a vehicle for retaining and attracting investors - always "trust but verify" using external sources.

Annual reports are also available from these sources:

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Company Profiles

A company profile is the first document you should seek after you locate the company's web site and annual reports. Company profiles can be useful in every section of your analysis and offer basic factual information (e.g., stock ticker symbol, fiscal year end, company history, key people) and third-party perspective on the company's strengths, weaknesses, and competitiveness. Different sources provide different types of company profiles, so look for one in each of the sources below (but be aware that not all companies will be included in each of these sources). 

Company profiles from Business Source Complete offer a great deal of information about your company, beyond the basic facts. A full report will include the following sections (but keep in mind that not every report will be comprehensive):

MarketLine Report Medtrack Report
  • Company Overview
  • Key Facts
  • Business Description
  • History
  • Key Employees
  • Key Employee Biographies
  • Major Products and Services
  • Revenue Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Top Competitors
  • Company View
  • Locations and Subsidiaries
  • Product Glance
  • Products by Therapy Area
  • Product Pipeline/Summary
  • Management Profile
  • Recent News
    • Company Announcements
    • Deals and Alliances
    • Financials
    • Intellectual Property
    • Mergers and Acquisitions
    • Product Updates
    • Regulatory

Tip: Check the date on the report - most reports are no more than a year old, but you'll want to update information in any report older than 3 months.

To find a profile:

  1. Click on the link to Company Profiles in the Browse box:
    Select the Company Profiles link under the Browse options
  2. Type your company name in the search box, click "Browse," and select the link to the PDF report for your company.
    Browsing for a company profile in Business Source Complete

APA Citation Format

References

Marketline. (2012, May 18).BMO Financial Group. Retrieved from http://www.marketline.com/

Medtrack. (n.d.). Pfizer Canada Inc. Retrieved from http://www.medtrack.com/

In-Text Citation

(Marketline, 2012)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page (in this case Marketline). Do not provide the direct URL to the report, or the name of the database (Business Source Complete).

Company profiles from Business Insights: Global offer a great deal of information about your company, beyond the basic facts.

The categories of information vary according to the company, but typically, you'll find the following types of information:

  • Key information (assets, employees, sales per employee, year founded, location)
  • Companies with similar revenue (this is a global database, so this might include companies from around the world)
  • Industries (take note of the NAICS codes - these can come in handy later, when you're researching the industry and your company's competitors)
  • Business description
  • Key facts (fiscal year, company type, variant names
  • Officers
  • Financials (including historical revenue, income statement, balance sheet, cash flow, ratios)
  • Investment reports
  • Market share reports
  • Rankings
  • SWOT reports

You'll also find links to related articles in newspapers, magazines, trade journals and academic journals on topics such as:

  • Financial data
  • Legal issues
  • Management
  • Operations & technology
  • People
  • Products & services
  • Sales & marketing
  • Statistics
  • Strategy & planning

Tip: Check the dates provided for the information; although most reflect the current year, some are older. In all cases, you'll want to make sure you haven't missed any important recent information about your company.

To find a profile:

  1. Type a company name in the search box and make sure the drop-down box on the right says "Company."
  2. Select your company from the list, or go directly to a category of resources about your company.

APA Citation Format

References

Royal Bank of Canada. (2017). Business Insights: Global. Retrieved from http://bi.galegroup.com/global/

In-Text Citation

(Royal Bank of Canada, 2017)


Note: Provide the URL of the database home page, but not of the specific document.

Passport GMID has two types of company profiles: a local company report and a global company profile (for large, multinational companies). A full report will include the following sections (but keep in mind that not every report will be comprehensive):

Local Company Profile Global Company Profile
  • Strategic Direction
  • Key Facts
  • Company Background
  • Production
  • Competitive Positioning
  • Scope
  • Strategic Evaluation - key company facts, financial assessment, SWOT analysis, key strategic objectives and challenges
  • Competitive Positioning
  • Market Assessment
  • Category and Geographic Opportunities
  • Brand Strategy
  • Operations
  • Recommendations

Tip: Check the date on the profile - most reports are no more than a year old, but you'll want to update information in any report older than 3 months.

To find a profile:

  1. Click on "Companies" in the menu bar, then type the company name in the search box:
    Click on "Companies," then search for your company's name
  2. You'll see the company dashboard; click on the link to the profile you want to see (if there are multiple profiles, you'll want to look at all of them).
  3. To save a copy of the profile, click on the download icon in the top left corner of the screen, then choose the format (PDF).

APA Citation Format

References

Euromonitor International. (2014a, June 26). Estée Lauder Cosmetics Pte Ltd in Beauty and Personal Care (Singapore). Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/

Euromonitor International. (2014b, July 24). Estée Lauder Cos Inc in Beauty and Personal Care (USA). Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/

Euromonitor International. (2014c, July 29). Estée Lauder Cos Inc in Beauty and Personal Care (World). Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/Passport-Home

In-Text Citation

(Euromonitor International, 2014a, p. 8)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page (in this case Euromonitor). Do not provide the direct URL to the report, or the name of the database (Passport GMID).

Reuters provides current information about a company's performance, as well as news, key developments, and social media activity; you'll find the following categories of information about your company:

  • Overview
  • News
  • Key Developments
  • People (including biographies and compensation, where available)
  • Charts (stock performance over time)
  • Financials (including key ratios)
  • Analysts (stock purchase recommendations)
  • Research (reports available for a fee - don't bother)
  • Pulse (social media - look under News or Key Developments tab)

 

To find a profile:

  1. Click on the search icon at the top right of the screen, then type your company's name into the search box.
  2. From the search results page, click on the "Companies" link, then choose your company from the list.
    Reuters Company Search

APA Citation Format

References

Air Canada (AC.TO). (2015, April 29). Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/overview?symbol=AC.TO

Air Canada announces closing of over $1 billion private offering of enhanced equipment trust certificates. (2015, March 25). Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/AC.TO/key-developments/article/3180124

Hodgson, J. (2015, March 30). Nova Scotia firm to file lawsuit after Air Canada accident: CBC. Reuters/ Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/31/us-air-canada-accident-idUSKBN0MP0HF20150331?type=companyNews

In-Text Citation

(Air Canada, 2015)

(Hodgson, 2015)


Note: When referencing the company's main web page on Reuters, use the current date, since the information is reported as of that date.

Morningstar is an investment research company that offers both free and paid content on more than 6,000 investment funds available in Canada. The following information is available for companies listed on the site:

  • Quote (stock price plus summary information: news & events, company profile, key stats, analyst recommendation, competitors, ownership, financials, and filings)
  • Analyst Report (for purchase - don't bother)
  • Chart (interactive, shows stock performance over time)
  • Shareholders(equity and debt, owner activity, fund owners style)
  • Financials (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow over 5 years)
  • Insiders (executive compensation, key executives, board of directors)
  • Performance (return, price history, dividend & splits)
  • Key stats (financials and key ratios over 10 years)
  • Valuation
  • Filings (financial and other documents filed with the government)

To find a profile:

Enter the stock symbol in the "Fund/Stock" search box at the top of the screen, then select a profile from the list (note that there may be more than one entry for your company, if it's traded on more than one exchange):

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Company Filings

Public companies around the world (and, in many countries, private companies, too) are legally required to file documents containing financial and other information with the government. These filings, as they're typically called, are then made publicly available.

To find filings related to your company, use the following resources:

For companies operating outside of the U.S. and Canada, you'll need to search the web for company filings [country]. Note that in many countries (including most of Europe), both private and public companies are required to file documents with the government. Documents from non-English speaking countries may not be available in English. 

SEDAR provides copies of all legally required filings for public companies trading on stock exchanges in Canada. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • Annual Information Form: information on corporate governance, financial information, capital structure, and strategic directions ("forward-looking statements")
  • Audited Annual Financial Statements: Independently audited financial statements; should be the same as what is reported in the annual report for the same period
  • Code of Conduct: describes the company's policies and practices related to ethical behaviours
  • Interim Financial Statements: quarterly financial reports (unaudited); useful for updating annual financial statements when part-way through the fiscal year
  • Management Information Circular: notice of AGM for shareholders; often contains information on executive compensation
  • MD&A (Management's Discussion & Analysis): companion document to the audited financial statements; narrative explanation, through the eyes of management, of how the company has performed in the past, its financial condition, and its future prospects
  • News Releases: information released to the media and public by the company
     

There are two ways to locate filings in SEDAR:

Search Database Company Profiles
  1. Search for Public Company documents.
  2. Fill in the search form:
    • Company Name: type in full company name
    • Date of Filing... choose your date range (at least one year, preferably three years)
    • Sort documents by... Date of Filing (useful for most recent filings) or Document Type
  3. Click Search.

  1. Browse for name of public company using A-Z list.
  2. From company profile, click to View this public company's documents.

APA Citation Format

References

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2014, December 17). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015a, May 7). MD&A. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015b, May 7). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

In-Text Citation

(Big Rock Brewery Inc., 2015a)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

EDGAR is a database of all legally required public securities filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), including those of public companies. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • 8-K: news release
  • 10-K: annual report; includes audited financial statements, management's discussion and analysis, corporate governance, executive structure and compensation, sources of capital
  • 10-Q: quarterly report; use the interactive format

To search for company filings:

  1. Click on Search for Company Filings.
  2. Click on Company or fund name...
  3. Enter the Company Name or Ticker Symbol (fastest method) in the relevant search box, and click Search.
              
  4. To view a specific document, click on the Documents (list of documents available) or Interactive Data (where available) button next to the document name.
  5. Try the new Search Results BETA View - it offers a more streamlined view of the available documents. Click on the Interactive Data button (where available), or on the document title to view the filing.

APA Citation Format

References

Netflix Inc. (2015, April 17). Form 10-Q. Retrieved from http://www.sec.gov

In-Text Citation

(Netflix Inc., 2015)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

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Industry Profiles

Industry profiles offer an important context for your company's situation. Are the critical issues your company is facing unique to the company, or prevalent within the industry? Are there critical issues faced by your company's competitors that are not an issue for your company? Are there industry trends that are not reflected in your company's strategic directions or reports to investors? Industry profiles will give you a chance to gauge your company's situation against the larger industry.

Passport GMID offers news, profiles, analysis, reports, and data for industries in the fast-moving consumer goods sectors. It's also a good place to find related demographic and economic data for countries around the world. A search for an industry reveals a variety of types of information:

  • Briefings (global and country) by category or strategy
  • Company profiles
  • Datagraphics
  • Market statistics (market size, company and brand shares, distribution, pricing)
  • Opinion pieces
  • Podcasts and videocasts
  • Product ingredients
  • Topical articles
  • Trade statistics (exports, imports, volume)

To find industry data:

  1. Choose an industry from the drop-down Industries menu [1].
  2. The industry landing page include a dashboard, as well as the most recently-added analysis, news, and research. Choose the type of data you want from the dashboard:
    • Search Tree [2]: Select one option from available categories and sub-categories, then click "Go." On the next screen, you'll be able to select additional categories and sub-categories, as well as specify one or more geographies (world, country, region, or international alliance).
    • Analysis Finder [3]: Choose the type of analysis (default is "all") and one country or region and click "Go." You'll see a list of relevant articles. Filter results by survey topic, type of analysis, or data, or change the geography using the lists provided.
    • Rank Countries [4]: Choose a category or sub-category and rank by size, growth, or per capita. You can choose from historical or forecast data. Click "Go." Presented as a data table.
    • Rank Categories [5]: Choose a geography and rank category by size, growth, or per capita. You can choose from historical or forecast data. Click "Go." Presented as a data table.
    • Review Top Companies [6]: Select a company, then a category, from the lists. Click "Go." You'll be presented with a data table showing company shares by country.
    • Visualise Data [7]: Select a category from the list and click "Go." Data will be overlaid on a world map that you can customize.

 

 

APA Citation Format

References

Euromonitor International. (2015a, June 29). Beer: What's brewing on the horizon? Global briefing. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Euromonitor International. (2015b, June 30). Sales of beer by category: Total volume 2009-2014 [Table]. In Beer in Canada category briefing. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Euromonitor International. (2015c, July 6). The growth in popularity of craft beer in New Zealand [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Euromonitor International. (2015d, July 8). Beer in Sweden category briefing. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Telford, H. (2015, June 24). What does craft mean in carbonated soft drinks? Opinion Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

In-Text Citation

(Euromonitor International, 2015c)

(Telford, 2015)


Note:Provide the URL of the publisher's home page (in this case Euromonitor). Do not provide the direct URL to the report, or the name of the database (Passport GMID).

Industry profiles from Business Insights: Global are global in scope and offer an overview of the industry (key facts, top countries, and top companies), as well as a variety of documents related to the industry:

  • Industry essays (industry snapshot, organization & structure, background & development, current industry conditions, industry leaders, further reading)
  • Associations
  • Market research from journals and magazines
  • Market share reports
  • Rankings

Tip: Always check the date on the profile - while many are relatively current (within the last year), some are older, particularly in smaller markets, like Canada.

To find a profile:

  1. Enter the name of the industry in the search box, and select "Industry" from the drop-down menu.
  2. Select an industry from the list.

APA Citation Format

Reference

Commercial banking. (2018). In Encyclopedia of American industries. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://bi.galegroup.com/global/

In-Text Citation

(Commercial banking, 2018)

 

Industry profiles from Business Source Complete offer a great deal of data about an industry. A profile will typically include the following:

  • Market Overview
  • Market Data
  • Market Segmentation (by category, geography; market share; market distribution)
  • Market Outlook
  • Five Forces Analysis (buyer power; supplier power; new entrants; threats of substitutes; degree of rivalry)
  • Leading Companies
  • Macroeconomic Indicators (e.g., country data)
  • Industry Associations

Tip: Check the date on the profile - while many are relatively current (within the last year), some are older, particularly in smaller markets, like Canada.

To find a profile:

  1. Enter keywords describing the industry and the term "industry profile" in the search box(es) [1].
  2. Industry profiles are often associated with a specific country or region, but there are also global profiles that look at the industry worldwide [2]  - you probably want to view all that relate to your company's geographic distribution.
  3. Take note of the date [3] - ideally, you want the most current data available, so you may need to look for updated data, if it's available. (Note the source of the data in the report and go directly to the source for updates.)
  4. Click on the "PDF Full Text" [4] link to view the profile.

APA Citation Format

References

MarketLine Industry Profile. (2012a, February). Global Pet Care. Retrieved from http://www.marketline.com/

‚ÄčMarketLine Industry Profile. (2012b, February). Pet Care in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.marketline.com/

In-Text Citation

(MarketLine Industry Profile, 2012a)


Note: Take the title from the title page of the report, not the listing in the database. Provide the URL of the publisher's home page (in this case Marketline). Do not provide the direct URL to the report, or the name of the database (Business Source Complete).

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Financial News & Data

There are a vast number of web sites offering financial news. These are some of the most well-known.

Stock exchanges provide the most current and up-to-date data on stock market activity. Many also offer access to company profiles, securities filings, and company or industry news.

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Other Information Sources

Newspapers can be a good source of information about your company. Most newspapers have a business section that focuses on local business as well as business news in general.A good source of information for critical issues facing your company, product launches and reviews, key trends, personnel changes in the executive ranks, and industry news.

Not all product review sites are created equal, and it's good to treat product reviews with a healthy skepticism. There are essentially two types of review sites:

  • Consumer or customer reviews: these offer reviews based on individual experience with products, and may or may not compare products. Always seek customer reviews from multiple sources and reviewers, so that you get a fuller, more balanced picture.
  • Product testing reviews: these reviews focus on multiple brands in a product category and rate each brand tested using the same criteria and methodology. The best of these sites will explain their criteria or methodology and document any outside sources.

Both types of review sites are valuable. The best strategy is to read multiple reviews from both types of review sites, and look for patterns of agreement or disagreement. Here are a few that we can recommend:

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