Ticker symbols are letters used to uniquely identify a public company and can be used to make company research more effiicient. Many of the resources in this guide will identify ticker symbols, but one of the quickest way to find a ticker symbol is to use a free website like Yahoo Finance or MSNMoney.
Information on companies varies greatly depending on the type of company. Use a directory to determine whether a company is public, private, non-profit or non-U.S.
There is a great deal of information available on companies which trade on the stock market - SEC filings, annual reports, analysts' reports, news stories, books and case studies.
Information on private companies is usually limited to brief information in directories, news stories, and sometimes books. All 50 states make some level of corporate and business filings available online, see Business Filings Databases for links to the states.
The amount of information on international companies varies. If the company trades on the U.S. exchanges it must file annual reports (20-F) with the SEC. Other information can be found in directories, databases, newspapers and magazines.
Finances and other general information can be found in Form 990 which nonprofits must file with the IRS annually. Many are posted on the web at Guidestar.org. Some information can also be found in newspaper and journal articles.