Keeping Good Company: quality business information on the web

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Presentation Description

One day workshop on business information resources organised by UKeiG and held at the University of the West of England, Bristol on 8th September 2011.


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PowerPoint Presentation:

This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License Keeping Good Company: quality business information on the web UKeiG, UWE, Bristol Karen Blakeman, 8 th September 2011 Business Sources Presentation available at:

Outline for the day:

Outline for the day Mixture of talk and practice Ask questions as we go along Follow me on your computer as we go through the sites or wait until the practical sessions – I leave it to you to decide (presentation at ) Sites that are mentioned (and more) are at Finish off with top tips and sites (from you) 19/11/2013 2

Recommended reading:

Recommended reading Business Information Sources: A Beginner's Guide (Paperback) by Christine O'Hare Publisher: Facet Publishing (18 Mar 2007) ISBN-10:1856046036 ISBN-13: 978-1856046039 Much of the content is still relevant 19/11/2013 3

Why not just Google for business information?:

Why not just Google for business information? Content of many business resources not searched by Google, Bing etc. information held in databases password protected even if free priced and subscription services Best source of information may be way down your results list Google personalises and “tailors” content depending on your location, computer, browser, past searches, your social network, what you had for breakfast.... and anything else it can think of to mess up your results! More effective to go direct to relevant starting points and known sites 19/11/2013 4

Some real enquiries:

Some real enquiries I‘m involved in a foreign merger with a take-over of an American company called [ name deleted ] by a Japanese company. The regulators dealing with the merger are called Eastern Equity Division. They have told me that before I can receive my funds for the sale of the shares I need to pay first a 28% offshore withholding tax. Is this correct in a take over situation? thanks. Everything on fish and chip shops in Reading and surrounding area. Location of premises, photos of the neighbouring premises and location, what’s on their menu, prices charged by each one, amount of traffic through the door by day and time slot – and I need it today Having double glazing installed. Which companies are likely to be still in business over the next couple of months TV advertising spend forecasts up until 2015 for UK, France and Germany 19/11/2013 5

Free vs. Fee:

Free vs. Fee Free Company information not comprehensive, search for companies by name/number one at a time Anonymous statistics, total market/industry figures Current news - free text searching, many key industry publications not free, difficult to focus search May be limited in coverage, time span Fee Full company accounts, historical data, search by multiple criteria, analysis and report features Detailed market share by company name, product/brand Indexed content, easier to search for historical information by event type, more flexible search and print options More likely to be comprehensive and have more extensive archives 19/11/2013 6

Social media and professional networks:

Social media and professional networks Part of the web, included in search, infiltrated most of the digital world Where people and organisations share, discuss, comment and ask questions It is where the conversations are happening It is where a lot of marketing takes place Used for research, competitor intelligence, reputation monitoring Google and Bing automatically incorporate social and professional networks, blogs, Twitter etc in results 19/11/2013 7

General starting points:

General starting points Business Sources on the Net BL - Business Essentials on the Web “ a one-stop shop for website listings for entrepreneurs and SMEs, covering topics such as ‘business planning’, ‘grants and finance’, ‘marketing and PR’ as well as industry specific pages.” SCOTBIS (Scottish Business Information Service) Biznar – federated search FITA (links do not seem to be checked so some old entries no longer work) Alacrawiki Industry Spotlights (but does not seem to be updated any more) 19/11/2013 8

Company information :

Company information Ownership, structure, accounts, activities, news Availability depends on type of company sole trader partnership “privately” owned limited liability e.g. Ltd, LLP companies with publicly traded shares e.g. PLC business size (large, medium, small) country state or region within the country 19/11/2013 9

UK Companies Act 2006:

UK Companies Act 2006 Some of the main changes: memorandum of association now only needs to state that the founders of the company wish to form a limited company directors no longer need to apply to withhold their private address, for example if they believe they may be targeted by activists. Can now choose to supply a “service address” requirement to have a company secretary removed UK Companies House details of registration and filing requirements examples of documents WebCHeck - search for companies for free, some information free, accounts and other documents priced free Disqualified Directors search 19/11/2013 10


Exemptions For UK small and medium sized enterprises May prepare and file abbreviated accounts Must fulfil at least two of the following conditions to qualify 19/11/2013 11 Exemptions not available to public companies, banking, insurance or shipping companies Small Medium Turnover not exceeding £6.5m £25.9m Assets/balance sheet not exceeding £3.26m £12.9m Average number of employees 50 250

Total exemption:

Total exemption “Total exemption small” means that a company is qualified to trade as a "small company" and therefore can submit abbreviated accounts and does not need to have the accounts audited “Total exemption full” means that the company is exempt but that it has chosen to file full accounts 19/11/2013 12

UK filing requirements:

UK filing requirements Small companies Medium companies Large companies Balance sheet Abbreviated balance sheet with notes Full balance sheet Full balance sheet signed by a Director Profit and loss Not required Abbreviated profit and loss account Full profit and loss account Turnover Not required Not required Required Auditor report Special auditor report if required Special auditor report Required and signed by an auditor Director report Not required Required Required and signed by an officer of the company Notes to the accounts Not required Required Required 19/11/2013 13

PowerPoint Presentation:

UK Companies House - Webcheck free, subscription, and document pay per view options documents £1 each 19/11/2013 14

Company Check:

Company Check UK companies Uses Companies House data Provides 6 years of figures and graphs for Cash at Bank, Net Worth, Total Liabilities and Total Current Liabilities free of charge Monitor company for financial changes and when new accounts are filed – email alerts (free) Lists directors of a company links through to Company Director Check can see past and present directorships for a person Part of who can supply official documents, credit reports and detailed directors’ reports for a fee 19/11/2013 15 : 19/11/2013 16 19/11/2013 17 : 19/11/2013 18


Bizzy Uses Companies House Data Also some free information on European companies Free credit rating displayed for companies with a score of more than 30 (free registration and sign-in required). Lists directors for all companies plus other companies of which they are a director (but not for small companies) For larger companies lists peers and industry competitors Supplies official documents and credit reports for a fee 19/11/2013 19 : 19/11/2013 20 : 19/11/2013 21

Director searches:

Director searches Make sure you have the right person! Tom Bloggs director of Tom Bloggs Ltd may not be the same as Tom Bloggs listed at Companies House Tom Bloggs director of Tom Bloggs Ltd may be listed as Thomas Bloggs. Tom Bloggs listed as a director at Companies House could be someone completely different Multiple IDs for the same directory quite common and does not denote anything untoward Companies House has tried to amalgamate IDs but not managed it completely Search on a director can reveal unusual patterns e.g. the setting up of a new company a few weeks or days before the current company goes into liquidation 19/11/2013 22

Company documents:

Company documents May need to look at original companies house documents cost £1 each and there can be lots of them, need to decide which ones you really need Credit reports may be more useful, usually include any CCJs (County Court Judgments) 19/11/2013 23

County Court Judgments (CCJ):

County Court Judgments (CCJ) Claims made against an organisation or individual by another organisation or individual for example failure to pay an invoice failure to complete work despite having been made If a county court judgment is paid in full within one month of the judgment date it is removed from the register If settled after one month the claim is marked as “satisfied” and stays on the register for 6 years Registry Trust - CCJs, court orders & fines London Gazette – insolvency data, public notices 19/11/2013 24

CCJ status :

CCJ status JG - CCJ is still an active judgment SS - CCJ has been satisfied (paid). “set aside” did not receive the original claim form moved house and not had post from previous address. an order was made against you in your absence in certain circumstances wished to put in a defence but were unable to do so there may be an error in the judgment. the proceedings did not follow the court rules. 19/11/2013 25

Official company information – other countries:

Official company information – other countries Lists of official company registers Official Company Registers Company registration around the world Companies House Links US – listed companies SEC Edgar IDEA – Interactive Date Electronic Applications Canada - listed companies SEDAR 19/11/2013 26

European Business Register:

European Business Register Gateway to official company information in 23 European countries UK distributer is GBRDirect Priced service 19/11/2013 27


Skyminder Pulls together company information from a variety of sources from across the world Registration required, free to search but many documents are priced 19/11/2013 28

Examples of problem areas for the researcher:

Examples of problem areas for the researcher Switzerland only banks, insurance companies and companies traded on the Swiss stock exchange are required to provide financial statements Cayman Islands “ The Registrar of Companies can only release the name and type of company, its date of registration, the address of the registered office and the company’s status. Disclosing any other information is prohibited unless requested by a law enforcement agency .” British Virgin Islands “ A company is not required to file its register of directors, register of members, register of charges or an annual return with the BVI Registrar of Corporate Affairs.” 19/11/2013 29

Databases for information on smaller companies:

Databases for information on smaller companies Confirm contact details using telephone directories BvD Mint Free Directory search only basic contact details free of charge, additional information priced Directories such as Applegate Europages solusource Kompass see also the list of directories at “Company and Telephone Directories” 19/11/2013 30

Databases for information on smaller companies:

Databases for information on smaller companies FITA and select Really Useful Links from the left hand menu and then Business Directories and Trade Information Import/export directories Sometimes have more information about small companies than official company registers size, number of employees and turnover contact names e.g. marketing director, sales director, export director export markets, sectors/products exported Search using export directory combined with country and/or industry sector e.g. export directory switzerland 19/11/2013 31

Publicly traded companies – share prices:

Publicly traded companies – share prices Free current share prices delayed by 15-30 minutes real-time prices if you have a share dealing account with a broker e.g. TD Waterhouse ( .) only cover companies currently listed on the exchange some historical data as charts or figures (e.g. Yahoo Finance and Google Finance) Yahoo and Google cover major stock markets go direct to the stock exchange web site Priced for more detailed analysis full historical data stocks no longer traded or merged with another company 19/11/2013 32

Company financials - selection of priced services:

Company financials - selection of priced services Bureau van Dijk (BvD) Corpfin Dun and Bradstreet Factiva Hoovers ISI Emerging Markets Research, News, M&A, Statistics, Economic Indicators, Islamic Finance LexisNexis Perfect Information - Skyminder - Thomson Reuters - 19/11/2013 33

Share prices:

Share prices Yahoo Finance (major stock markets only) Google finance (US, UK, Canada, some European stock markets, Australia, Hong Kong, China) – Markets, Equities section Go direct to the stock market site RBA Stock Markets and Share Price Information Priced services – FT, Reuters, DataStream, Bloomberg 19/11/2013 34

Yahoo Finance:

Yahoo Finance 19/11/2013 35

Google Finance:

Google Finance 19/11/2013 36

Historical annual reports – SCoRe:

Historical annual reports – SCoRe SCoRe ( S earch Co mpany Re ports) Catalogue of printed company reports, both current and historic, held in UK libraries Libraries that hold copies of the reports are listed together with the earliest and latest years of a collection’s holdings A good place to pick up clues on past corporate relationships 19/11/2013 37

Types of companies & company formations:

Types of companies & company formations - Company Extensions and Security Identifiers Types of business entity – Wikipedia Company Formation Survey 2011 Doing Business - Measuring Business Regulations - World Bank Group 19/11/2013 38

Mailing lists:

Mailing lists RBA Direct Marketing wide range of mailing lists free searching of lists can test out a list by selecting first 50, 100 etc. results pay as you go Help desk very good at pointing you in the right direction 19/11/2013 39

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A):

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Search free news on the web (e.g. ) using keywords Detailed information on rumours, deals in progress and completed deals usually priced Mergers and Acquisitions BvD’s Mergers and Acquisitions Portal news, features, summaries and basic deal information are free of charge free reports reviewing recent activity in M&A free reports discussing industry sectors where there is increased activity links into the Zephyr database – full reports on deals are priced. 19/11/2013 40

Mergers and Acquisitions Portal :

Mergers and Acquisitions Portal 19/11/2013 41 Companies as well as people (need an account to search within LinkedIn) 19/11/2013 42

Who owns a website?:

Who owns a website? good starting point for identifying who owns a domain name but.... may be hiding behind an agent may be using a service such as Privacy Protect ( ) if in the UK and an individual with a personal page then contact details other than name are not publicly available (Data Protection) Run a Google or Bing search on the ‘registrant’ or agent and see if you can find out anything more about them 19/11/2013 43

Domaintools check on – good news:

Domaintools check on – good news 19/11/2013 44

Domaintools check on - bad news:

Domaintools check on - bad news 19/11/2013 45

Statistics and industry data:

Statistics and industry data Free government statistics industry overviews executive summaries press releases trade press - possibly Priced for industry specific market shares named companies brand names detailed rankings When carrying out research often have to use data from different sources 19/11/2013 46

Bits and pieces from everywhere?:

Bits and pieces from everywhere? Is there a problem? Not necessarily but must be aware of the context why and how was the original research conducted what sources were used when was the data gathered free resources may take information out of context press releases and news articles focus on single issues background and methodology often missing may be several times removed from original research or data collection Multiple free sources are often used to build a picture of a market piece by piece Not comparing like with like 19/11/2013 47

Statistics and industry data:

Statistics and industry data Use advanced search options to limit your search to file types or format: pdf or doc/docx for government or industry/market reports xls/xlsx for data and statistics ppt /pptx or pdf for presentations Search in both Google and Bing for a comprehensive search Docjax – searches PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS in Yahoo/Bing and Google Looking for experts on a topic, presentations, general background on a subject, information on an organisation? advanced search ppt or pdf format Slideshare Slidefinder 19/11/2013 48 19/11/2013 49 Search: biofuels UK public transport


Slidefinder Identifies individual slides within a presentation 19/11/2013 50


Zanran Zanran – a new data search engine 19/11/2013 51

Statistics and industry data:

Statistics and industry data Google Numeric range search can be weights, distances, years, prices use Advanced Search screen or the search box on the Google home page search term(s) first value..second value unit of measurement Examples: beer per capita consumption uk 2008..2011 TV advertising spend forecasts UK 2012..2020 19/11/2013 52

Starting points for statistics:

Starting points for statistics Statistics Sources Official Statistics on the Web http://w .nz UK Official Statistics often get better results by running a Google advanced site search Welsh Assembly Government StatsWales SCOTBIS (Scottish Business Information Service) Business Essentials on the Web – Industries 19/11/2013 53 : 19/11/2013 54

UK Official Statistics:

UK Official Statistics 19/11/2013 55 : 19/11/2013 56

Opening up government data:

Opening up government data 19/11/2013 57

New ways of accessing statistics:

New ways of accessing statistics 19/11/2013 58 Guardian data store - data journalism and data visualization Data and analysis on topics that are in the news Links to the original datasets are provided

New ways of accessing statistics:

New ways of accessing statistics 19/11/2013 59 Guardian World Government Data

Assessing quality of visualisations national-public-data-repository?INTCMP=SRCH Look for notes on coverage and how information is collected & analysed :

Assessing quality of visualisations national-public-data-repository?INTCMP=SRCH Look for notes on coverage and how information is collected & analysed 19/11/2013 60

Assessing quality of visualisations :

Assessing quality of visualisations Visualisation sometimes highlights problems with the datasets or missing data (note that in this case details of coverage are under Service Coverage) 19/11/2013 61

Open Data Directory:

Open Data Directory 19/11/2013 62

Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer Future uncertain as Google closes down Google Labs 19/11/2013 63

Google Internet Stats:

Google Internet Stats Google - Internet Stats 19/11/2013 64

UK Trade & Investment

UK Trade & Investment 19/11/2013 65

Business Essentials on the Web - Industries :

Business Essentials on the Web - Industries 19/11/2013 66

Cobweb Information - Small business ideas, news & support :

Cobweb Information - Small business ideas, news & support 19/11/2013 67

Finding market research - aggregators:

Finding market research - aggregators Pull together reports from many publishers and make them searchable through a single interface Can purchase reports through the one service Aggregators may not be comprehensive many publishers embargo reports for weeks or months many publishers withhold reports from aggregators check the publisher’s own web site or email them to see if there is additional or more recent research available may get a better deal by going to the publisher direct use aggregators as an index to see who is publishing on your topic 19/11/2013 68

Examples of aggregators:

Examples of aggregators Alacrastore ISI Emerging Markets Mindbranch Report Buyer Research and Markets 19/11/2013 69

Opinion Polls: Getting the results you want:

Opinion Polls: Getting the results you want 19/11/2013 70

PowerPoint Presentation:

Exercise What information do you need to assess the usefulness of this story? “40% surveyed say Belgium makes the best chocolate Switzerland comes 2 nd and the UK gets only 11% of the vote” Belgium Switzerland UK


News Most newspapers and magazines are on the web Free services may not be complete publication may not have archives search facilities may be limited print stories one by one Many news and trade press titles are free but some are priced Officially company press releases ‘Listed’ companies major news, developments and changes affecting their operations have to reported to shareholders via the stock exchange announcements for example UK Regulatory News Service Various sources e.g. FE InvestEgate | Company Announcements 19/11/2013 72


News For tracking down individual newspapers Google News latest free news usually 30 days advanced search options limited and not always reliable no source list and sources frequently change key industry publications may not be included and definitely not included if subscription older and Archive News may be priced Use Google news and web search to identify specialist news portals or aggregators for your subject and monitor those direct 19/11/2013 73

Google News Archive:

Google News Archive 19/11/2013 74 for list of scanned newspapers

Google can seriously damage your news:

Google can seriously damage your news Experiment by Mary Ellen Bates Is Google really filtering my news? - Librarian of Fortune Google can seriously damage your news Highlights 1 story appeared in more than 90% of the search results, another in 70%. Of the remaining 14 stories none were seen by more than 30% of the searchers and most were seen by less than15% of the searchers More than a quarter of the stories showed up in only one searcher’s results Almost one in five searchers saw a story that no one else saw Only 12% of searchers saw the same three stories in the same order 19/11/2013 75


Silobreaker covers free resources: news, blogs, video, images geographical location of stories, people, networks use as a starting point for in depth research 19/11/2013 76

Priced services:

Priced services The Times and Sunday Times £1/day or £2/week Financial Times (priced for full access) £3.79/week for standard subscription £5.49/week for premium subscription (includes mobile news reader & Lex ) LexisNexis subscription service, prices on application Factiva subscription service, prices on application also a pay as you go option 19/11/2013 77


Alerts Email alerts still available on a few news sites and services RSS now more common use a reader such as Google Reader, RSS reader option in Outlook 2007 and later pull them into iGoogle, My Yahoo or 19/11/2013 78

Blogs and Twitter:

Blogs and Twitter Many experts, academics, researchers, industry gurus have active blogs Great way to tap into expert knowledge especially with new and innovative technologies and industries Essential for competitive intelligence and reputation monitoring But Twitter limited to current data & selected networks Twitter up to the minute but skewed view of what is happening Blogs – or use the Blogs option in the menu on the left hand side of your results page 19/11/2013 79 – Web “realtime” search : – Web “ realtime ” search 19/11/2013 80 (rather erratic and slow but interesting) : (rather erratic and slow but interesting) 19/11/2013 81 19/11/2013 82 – ‘Trend this’: – ‘Trend this’ 19/11/2013 83

What can go wrong?:

What can go wrong? 19/11/2013 84

What can go wrong?:

What can go wrong? iPhone 4 to be recalled: it’s true – the Daily Mail says so Phil Bradley's weblog: Incompetent Journalists Richard Ashmore and Barbara Ellen Phil Bradley's weblog: Fair Play to Richard Ashmore See also: Internet Explorer is for Dummies! Anatomy of a hoax 19/11/2013 85

Keeping up to date:

Keeping up to date BUSLIB-L – business information email discussion list Scottish Business Information Service Twitter alerts @ ScottishBIS can also set up RSS alerts under What’s New Karen Blakeman’s Blog Arthur Weiss Find It Out: Research secrets and more! Annual Online Information Exhibition, London, 29 th November – 1 st December 2011 extensive programme of free seminars, updates and master classes on the exhibition floor 19 November 2013 Karen Blakeman 86

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