Skip to main content Chania

How to Cite Your Sources

Citing Business Documents: APA

Business research is most often done in APA style. For examples of citations in MLA and Chicago, see the guides listed in the More Help box below.


For the most part, business documents - profiles, annual reports, filings, etc. - fall under the term "grey literature." Every APA citation must include certain attributes, but the specifics of each type of document is where it gets tricky. The following recommended citations are based on interpretation of existing APA standards, adapted for each document type.

The APA Formula: "Who. (When). What. Where."


Smith, A. (2015, June 25). Today is Friday. Journal of Days 7(7), pp.1-2. Retrieved from Academic Source Premier database.

Documents From a Database


Levin, D. (2014, April 28). New GM: Same as it ever was? Fortune 169(6), pp. 64-67. Retrieved from Business Source Premier database.

Company filing:

General Motors Company. (2015). 10-K. Retrieved from Mergent Online database.

Company profile:

Anderson, A. (2015, June 15). General Motors Company. Retrieved from Hoover’s Company Records database.

Mergent. (2015). General Motors Co. Retrieved from Mergent Online database. [If no author is listed, use the corporate author]

SWOT analysis:

GlobalData. (2014, July 23). 3M Company - Financial and strategic analysis review. Retrieved from Gale Business Insights: Global database.

Documents from a Website

Company Annual Report:

3M. (2015). Annual report 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2015 from

Other Company Documents:

3M. (N.d.) Q4 2015 data book investor relations. Retrieved 26 June 2015 from


Note: As documents on the web are less reliably located than those in databases, it is recommended that you include the date retrieved in the citation, so that if anyone goes to look for the document in question and can't find it, it will at least be clear that it was available when you originally saw it.

Government Documents (not from a database)

SEC Filing (from EDGAR):

3M. (2015, February 12). 10-K. Retrieved from

Industry Snapshot (Census):

U.S. Census Bureau. (2015, April 23). Insurance carriers and related activities (NAICS 524). Retrieved from

Data from a Government Document:

U.S. Census Bureau. (2015, April 23). Key industry statistics: United States [table]. In Insurance carriers and related activities (NAICS 524). Retrieved from

More Help

Business documents being categorized as "grey literature" means there's no official way to cite many of them. Therefore, many libraries have guides for their business students in which they interpret existing citation standards and adapt them for documents like company profiles, SEC filings, industry reports, and much more. This means you may see different recommendations for the same documents in these guides. If you have any questions, check with your professor or a librarian. As long as the information you present is clear and directs the reader back to your source, you are doing it right.