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Finding Company Information: A Research Guide: Important Terms

This guide describes locating company information using resources provided through the University Libraries.

Important Terms

  • NAICS Code - The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.

NAICS was developed under the auspices of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and adopted in 1997 to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. It was developed jointly by the U.S. Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC), Statistics Canada , and Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia , to allow for a high level of comparability in business statistics among the North American countries.

This official U.S. Government Web site provides the latest information on plans for NAICS revisions, as well as access to various NAICS reference files and tools.

The official 2012 U.S. NAICS Manual includes definitions for each industry, background information, tables showing changes between 2007 and 2012, and a comprehensive index. The official 2012 U.S. NAICS Manual is available in print and on CD-ROM from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at (800) 553-6847 or (703) 605-6000, or through the NTIS Web site. Previous versions of the NAICS Manual are available.

Additional information on the background and development of NAICS is available in the History section of this Web site.

Private Company – A privately held company or close corporation is a business company owned either by non-governmental organizations or by a relatively small number of shareholders or company members which does not offer or trade its company stock (shares) to the general public on the stock market exchanges, but rather the company's stock is offered, owned and traded or exchanged privately.

 

 

 

Public Company – A public company is a company that issues securities or shares of stock for the public. Those who purchase these securities or shares become investors in and owners of the company. This process is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and public companies must file numerous financial and other reports with the SEC. Because these reports are public information, much data and information can be found when researching public companies. For more information, visit the SEC web site at http://www.sec.gov/index.htm.

SIC Code - Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are four-digit codes used to identify an industry. Many resources use these codes to identify a company’s activities, index companies by activity, and to define industry data and information. For information on the history of the SIC codes and information about its replacement, the NAICS, visit the NAICS Association web site at http://www.naics.com/info.htm. An excellent web site for a list of SIC codes and to search for a code is the OSHA site from the U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.osha.gov/cgi-bin/sic/sicser5.

Subsidiary – A company which is owned in whole or in part by another company. When researching a subsidiary, it is often advantageous to also research the owning company or the parent company.

Subject Guide