When starting company research, it is worthwhile to ask yourself some questions.
Is the company Public, Private, a Subsidiary or a larger company, or a Non-Profit?
Is it in the company's interest to reveal the information you are seeking?
What does the company legally have to disclosure?
Would the company want this information known to its competitors?
Type of Company
A company is considered public if its shares of equity is traded on a stock exchange. Public companies are required to submit filings to the SEC, making information much easier to locate.
A company is considered private if it is not traded on a stock exchange and is not owned by a larger parent company. They are not required to submit SEC filings, which can make finding financial information a bit trickier, if it is available.
A company that operates under the control of a larger parent company is a subsidiary. The parent company may be a private or public company. The parent company may not disclose financial performance of individual subsidiaries. You may need to read the management discussion in SEC filings such as 10-K, study the information provided on the subsidiary’s and parent company’s websites, or find news articles in order to find information about financial performance and strategy.
A nonprofit organization is a business granted tax-exempt status by the IRS. Finances and other general information can be found in Form 990 which nonprofits must file with the IRS annually.