Generally, private companies in the United States are not required to publish financial statements. So, it can be difficult to obtain financial information from these companies.
From the US perspective, private companies refer to the companies that have been registered and filed a certificate of incorporation. Families or individuals may own these companies, and the majority fall into small and medium entities.
Further, private companies have no incentive and no legal requirement to publish financial statements. On the other hand, public companies must publish financial statements on their website. Hence, it’s easy to extract financial and operational information about the business of public companies.
So, how can you obtain a financial statement for private US Companies?
The following circumstance can easily extract private companies’ accounts in the United States.
- The private company has merged with the public company, and they are required to disclose information under regulations.
- The private company once used to be a public company and old information is still available publically. So, it can be extracted and used.
Alternate Ways to Search Information for Private US Companies
First of all, it’s a good idea to search for the company websites. Although, you may not be able to get a full set of financial statements. However, it’s expected to provide reliable information regarding business nature, products, services, geographical location, and other trending news.
Further, it’s logical to visit all pages of the website and the most important pages are ‘’about us ‘’and ‘’about product/services’’. Likewise, some companies also provide financial and operational information in the investor relations section.
Secondly, trade magazines and other local publications can be good options to review. It’s important to note that national newspapers and magazines are not expected to report news and events of the small companies. So, research should extensively cover trade/association-related literature to attain relevant information.
Similarly, Government agencies responsible for registering companies often have an online database. However, it’s expected to provide limited and basic information about a private company. In most states, the registration function is performed by the Secretary of state (Corporation division). However, in some states like New Jersey, the Revenue/Tax agency takes care of it.
The extent of available information on web site varies from state to state. However, it’s overall limited, and some states charge a certain fee to provide information.
Internet resources (subscription-based) sources
The following internet and subscription-based resources can help search for information related to private companies in the United States.
Crunch base – This source is well known for providing analytics and financial data of private companies. Their database contains information about the investors, startups, and incubators. However, you need to get registered for accessing data.
Hoover’s Company profile – This internet-based resource contains comparatively detailed information for the company and its business; its database contains information related to its history, location, operations, competitors, products etc. This source is believed to contain data of more than 18,500 private and public US companies.
PrivCo – They are a well-known market player of financial intelligence in the United States. Usually, they cover up data and facts of the companies with turnover of more than one million. Their unique point is coverage of information about venture capitals, private equity, venture deals, and M&A.
A sound company portfolio backs its financial intelligence with more than 300,000 private US-based companies.
ReferenceUSAGov – This website provides directory information for private and public companies in the United States and Canada. Their database contains over 5,000 yellow pages, SEC filings, Chamber of commerce directories, white pages, SEC 10K reports, and other public information sources. The data retained by them is comprehensive in terms of executive and industrial aspects, SEC filing, and a robust intelligence system.
Dun and Bradstreet – This website collects information directly from companies. However, their data is limited to basic company information like operations and products. Further, information in their database is mostly submitted by the companies voluntarily. Hence, recorded information varies from company to company.
Although information obtained from these sources may not be as adequate as a full set of financial information yet provide comprehensive understanding in terms of business operations and products.
It’s equally important to note that some authentic sources like Forbes have given a list of the largest private companies in the United States. This source gives fair details about larger US companies in terms of revenue, the number of employees, state, and ranking – America’s largest private companies.
Disclosures Required for the Companies in the United States
The company is formed with the certificate of incorporation submitted at the Secretary of State’s office. This certificate allows the company to start operations. Once these documents are filed, the company is not required to disclose additional information to the public. However, it needs to file taxes estimates, tax returns, and other financial information to the inter revenue services. However, it’s restricted to the official use of the Government to collect taxes and control market dynamics. Hence, it’s fairly difficult to find revenue and other company details.
Disclosures Required for the Companies in the European Union
Disclosures related to regulatory requirements for European companies slightly differ from the United States. In Europe, registered companies (private and public) are required to publish certain financial information. So, it’s comparatively easy to obtain financial information for companies in Europe.
In the United States, private companies are not required to publish financial statements. Hence, it can be challenging to get the financial statement of any of the private companies in the United States.
Although there are alternative ways to get some information from different sources, these include subscription-based platforms that offer financial intelligence and other services. These platforms have extensive data for private companies. So, these can be helpful. Although, company websites and trade journals can be good sources to extract operational and financial information.
On the other hand, in Europe, private companies are required to publish certain financial information. So, it’s comparatively easier to get financial information for these companies.
Frequently asked questions
Why are listed companies required to publish annual reports contrary to the private companies?
Listed companies work based on the agency. In other words, managers manage the business on behalf of shareholders/owners. So, managers need to report financial and operational performance to the shareholders.
On the other hand, private companies are mostly owner-managed. There is no agency. Hence, there is no need to externally communicate financial information outside of the organization. Although, there are exceptions like tax reporting.
What are pandemic-related accounting and reporting insights to be included in the financial statement of private companies?
Following are some of the COVID-related resources and insights to be used in the financial statements of private companies.
- Proper accounting treatment for the PPP loan, compliance with forgiveness rules, and CARES act need to be reported.
- Impairment for the fixed assets, financial assets, and intangibles.
- Impact of the pandemic on the debt, inventories, revenue, and taxes etc.
Who makes use of the GAAP with perspective to the financial statement?
The following four groups mainly use financial statements.
Companies – private and public companies use GAAP.
Users of financial statement – Government, Lenders, and investors
Audit companies – These companies include the big four and other small firms.
Legal firms – Attorneys and lawyers.
What Are the roles of SBA and SEC in managing US-based companies?
SBA helps to connect small businesses with lenders; it aims to enhance the growth of small businesses in the United States by arranging finance. They have criteria to vet businesses before approving finance.
On the other hand, SEC is mainly about regulating public companies, maintaining the fairness of the security market, and facilitating investors to trade in the market.
So, the role of SBA is about small business finance management, and SEC is primarily responsible for regulating public companies and shares market.