ACCT 202 Principles of Accounting II

This guide will help students analyze a company's financial health

Privately Vs. Publicly Held Companies

Privately held companies are not under the same legal obligation as publicly held companies to disclose their financial information. Consequently, the web site of a privately held company will generally not be as informative as a public company web site.

Articles are frequently your best resource for analysis of the financial health of a privately held business. Use the Finding Articles page of this guide to search in library business databases for business articles and company profiles.

Information to look for

Search Tips

Look on the company homepage for an About Us page or a direct link to Investor Relations. 

  • Investor Relations link to annual reports and other financial information, including company outlook and stores opened worldwide.

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On the Starbucks web site, the Investor Relations menu links you to twelve years of annual reports, financial highlight reports, SEC filings, and more. 

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screenshot with info posted below

Fig 2. About Us and Investor Relations. Starbucks. Web. 18 Feb. 2012.

Company Info

Similarly, FedEx offers links to substantive financial information: annual and quarterly reports, statistical books, financial goals, performance, and SEC filings.



Fig 3. Investor Relations. FedEx. Web. 16 Feb 2012.

Reading company web sites

Start at a company web site for financial information.

Businesses post their latest annual reports and other financial information for their share holders.


  • Be aware that companies keep some financial information confidential for competitive reasons and to craft a positive message about their financial health.
  • Look for the Investor Relations  or About Us link.
  • Download the file to a flashdrive or your student H: drive. Do Not Print the Entire Report!