Skip to Main Content

MKTG4160 Situation Analysis: Finding Company Data

Guide for assignment for Sung-Hee Wendy Paik Management class

Need help? Contact us!

Reach out for research help any time, day or night:

You can walk into the Library when the Research Assistance Desk is open and get in-person help. (Hours are listed on the Library Home Page - look for the Research Assistance hours.)

You can call the Research Assistance Desk when it is open to get help via the phone.

You can use the "Ask A Librarian" chat any time, day or night, from the Library Home Page.

If you would like more in-depth research assistance, schedule an appointment with a librarian. The Research Appointments link is right below the Ask a Librarian link. 

Selecting a company for research

When you are researching a company for a class, you have three goals. The first is to learn something about the company. The second is to learn the process for researching a company. The third is to get an "A"!

To accomplish these, you need to begin by analyzing the assignment. What do you need to do?

If you need to do a financial analysis of the company, then you need to select a company that publishes its financial data. 

In the Fall of 1929, in the United States, the stock market crashed. There were many reasons for this, but one of the reasons was that a lot of people were selling wildly overvalued stock. In some cases, people were committing outright fraud, printing stock certificates in their garages and promoting imaginary companies. 

In the aftermath of the crash, the United States government passed a series of laws to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. One of these laws created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Companies that sell stock (also called Public Companies) must submit accurate financial reports to the SEC. If they are too creative in filling out these reports, people go to jail. So you can find accurate financial data on Public Companies. Private Companies (companies that do not sell stock) do not have to submit financial information to the SEC. They have to report their financial information to the Internal Revenue Service to pay taxes, but the IRS does not publish that data.

If your assignment requires a financial analysis of a company, you need to select a company that reports to the SEC, a public company,


SEC data through Mergent

Go to Pfau Library's home page:

Scroll down and select the "Choose a database" tile

Select Business: Company Data

Pfau Library pays for subscriptions to over 100 different databases. Librarians selected the databases listed on this page as being those that are particularly useful to students taking classes in business. The annotations should be used to guide you to the database that is the most useful for your research. (Research time spent in the wrong place is wasted time.)

Choose "Mergent Online" from the list of company data databases. The CSU system has a limited number of simultaneous log-ins. If you are asked for a password then exit the database, wait for a little while, and try again. If the problem persists, use the "Ask a Librarian" reference chat service to get help.

To find financial reports in Mergent: Enter the company name or ticker symbol. Choose your company. Under the "Company Financials" tab you will find the Balance Sheet, Cash-Flow, Retained Earnings, and Income Statement. ALWAYS have the database show you the footnotes. You can download each financial report into Excel.

To create a comparison report: Under the "Report Building" tab click on "Comparison Reports." Determine how you will identify a peer group and then select the elements you would like to see in the report. If you select the "include average" by clicking the box next to the "Report Items" section then the average for each element in the report will show up in the column header for that element in the report.