Here are resources to consider when researching the financial health of suppliers (and potential suppliers). As stated in my earlier post on Supplier and Market Intelligence Literacy, if you are on a lean budget, check to see if your organization already subscribes to any of the sources listed. Also, check your local public and academic libraries to see if they offer access. I just learned that the UNLV Library (which is close to me as I live in Las Vegas) is offering free access to some of their key business databases to the local business community. Also, my earlier post, Supplier Research: A Few Basic Tips, covers factors that help determine the amount of information to expect when researching certain types of suppliers.
SUPPLIER FINANCIALS (PUBLICLY-HELD)
MarketLine (formerly Datamonitor) provides in-depth company financials with key ratios and revenue details by segments and geographies for the last five years. These reports are known because they include profiles on companies’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT). You can purchase reports separately. Business Source Elite, a database found in many public libraries, provides access to these reports; select the “company profiles” button.
Here you will find international and U.S. company data, including historical financial results and financial ratios. Additional modules covering risk ratings and credit information are available. You will need a paid subscription for access.
SEC Filings (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
Look here for current and historical company and other filings for publicly traded companies (e.g., 10-Ks, 10-Qs, 8-Ks) through the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval System (EDGAR). At the EDGAR filings page, select “Search for Company Filings.” Select the company name option (first option). Type in the company name. Click on the central index key (CIK) number. You can filter results at this page by filing type (ex. 10-K) and date.
You can find financial statements on a public company’s website. Look for the section on investor information by searching on the “About us” page, if available, or looking at the site map.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SUPPLIER INFORMATION
You can search more than 85 million companies within 900 industry segments. This source provides company information, company histories, lists of competitors, financials and news, for both public and private companies. It is international in scope. Some information is free, but a paid subscription is required for premium content.
BvD (Bureau Van Dijk)
BvD features global, regional and national coverage for listed and private companies with detailed financials and corporate structures data. Its international private company coverage is its strength. A paid subscription is required for access to content.
ChinaScope’s private company database covers three million unlisted companies. It also covers China-based companies listed on the Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, NASDAQ and New York Stock exchanges. Other products include economic data and research services, as well as industry statistics. You will need a subscription for access.
COMPREHENSIVE RESOURCES WITH BOTH FINANCIALS AND NEWS SOURCES
You can search local and global newspapers, newswires, trade journals, newsletters, magazines and transcripts, with many options to narrow results. Company report options include detailed profile, custom, financial health, executive briefing, and ratio comparison. You will need to purchase a subscription for access.
This is a comprehensive source for finding information on millions of U.S. and international companies as well as full text for thousands of trade journals, newspapers, and newswires. The “Diligence” product provides in-depth research for the diligence side of supplier research. A paid subscription is required for access.
Business Source Elite
This popular database provides full-text for more than 1,100 scholarly business and trade journals. You can find great company information here, especially if the company is being featured in an industry trade article. There also is access to MarketLine company profile reports (use the “Company Profile” tab at top), which contain an excellent SWOT analysis section. This database is often the business database of choice for public libraries.
PRIVATE SUPPLIER INFORMATION
Locating financial information on private suppliers can be tricky. Because they do not, as a general rule, have to report financial information, researching these companies can be a challenge. You might need to turn to other sources, such as local, regional, international and business newspapers, trade journals, press releases, executive interviews, directory information, research companies, credit reports, analysts, and social media.
This is a resource specifically for researching major privately held U.S. companies. Here you can find private company financials and revenues: mergers and acquisition deals, firm valuations, venture capital fundings, private equity deals private and family ownership breakdowns, bankruptcies and restructurings. You can purchase the reports individually.
Credit reports allow you to look at a supplier’s health to determine risk, and many times these sources are the only way to find any type of financial information for private companies. The key sources are Cortera, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Rapid Ratings, and Skyminder. There is also Panjiva’s intelligence platform. For information on their (and other) supplier monitoring products, please see my post Supplier Risk Monitoring Information Services: An Overview.
American City Business Journals
One of the best ways to find information on private companies (and public as well) is through local business newspapers and this source provides coverage of business news from a local, regional and national perspective. Registering allows you to customize a news feed based on companies and industries you want to follow.
Regional Business News
This source provides business publications on a regional level for the U.S. and Canada, containing business journals, newspapers and newswires. This is produced by EBSCO, a database with excellent search features. An added bonus is that it is a popular database for public libraries, thus providing a good chance for free access.
Investext (Thompson Research)
This powerful research resource is primarily for investment information but is useful for extracting very detailed company information not found elsewhere—such as strategy and operations. These company, industry and geographic research reports are written by analysts at more than 300 leading investment banks, brokerage houses and consulting firms worldwide.