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Corporate Finance

This guide can be used as a starting point for researching companies, industries, market conditions, and scholarly articles for BUS 3401 and similar courses.

What are SIC and NAICS codes?

The NAICS and SIC codes are the most commonly used industry classification codes in the United States. These codes categorize companies by their business activity. 

By knowing the NAICS and/or SIC code for your company, you will be able to locate information about its industry and competitors in databases, books, and on the Internet.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

  • Developed in 1997 by government agencies of the three NAFTA countries:  U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
  • Officially, NAICS codes contain up to six digits.  The longer the number, the more specific the industry.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System

  • Developed by the U.S. government in the late 1930s and last revised in 1987. 
  • While no longer being maintained by the federal government, SIC codes still appear in some databases and reference books as well as in EDGAR filings of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 
  • Officially, SIC codes contain up to four digits.  The longer the number, the more specific the industry.

How to find Industry Reports

Electronic Resources for Ratios

Financial ratios are often used to compare a company against an industry average or other companies in order to benchmark or measure a company's performance.Industry ratios are often useful when creating the financial components of a business plan.

The following databases to The following library databases are strong resources for industry ratio and industry averages.  If industry averages are not included in a particular resource, then you could take an average from a list of companies with the same NAICS or SIC code.