To leverage company data with confidence, you need to know that it’s as up-to-date as possible.
But thousands of companies are created every day, and the fundamental information on existing companies changes all the time.
This makes it difficult to get fresh data about companies in one US state alone. But it’s even more challenging when you need data from across the whole of the US on an ongoing basis, as US company data is siloed across the 50 states and the District of Columbia – which all provide data according to their own schemas and idiosyncrasies.
In this blog post, we’ll explain why fresh data is critical and outline some of the steps we take to provide you with fresh and transparent company data from across the US.
We’re proud that for most US states, information about new company incorporations now appears in our database within a week of it appearing in the respective company registry – and for some states it’s even quicker than that.
What does ‘freshness’ mean for company data?
Freshness of company data simply means the ability of a provider to offer up-to-date data from a Secretary of State.
This data should reflect important changes such as:
- Newly incorporated companies being added to the registry
- Changes to existing companies, such as a change in status or a change in directors
An understanding of ‘freshness’ must be built on a foundation of well-provenanced data for it to mean anything. After all, you can’t prove that the data you’re working with is fresh unless you have a line of sight showing where the data came from and when it was collected from the official source.
Why does freshness matter?
Whatever you want to use company data for, you can leverage it with greater confidence when you know it’s fresh.
Fresher company data helps with:
- More accurate risk decisioning
Onboarding, credit risk or other risk-related decisions need information that is as up-to-date as possible. Nowadays, understanding a legal entity and its risk profile is seldom a ‘snapshot in time’ exercise, but requires periodic and even ongoing monitoring. Relying on data that is out of date throws out your ability to accurately rate the risk a third party poses to you. This could lead to unwittingly onboarding or maintaining a higher risk client, or failing to react to changes in the risk profile of a third party – as you didn’t have the fresh data to know a change had occurred. This could expose your organisation to heightened risk.
- Greater analytical insight & fewer false positives
Any analytics or investigatory effort using company data needs the freshest data, otherwise you risk arriving at false positive conclusions based on data that is no longer accurate – or, on the flip side, missing out on insights that could otherwise have been identified.
- Competitive advantage by spotting new opportunities earlier
When a provider offers structured up-to-date data from the official source, this allows you to spot potential business opportunities in the most recently created companies. This gives you a head start against competitors who, if relying on data that isn’t as fresh, would lag behind.
How do we deliver fresh US company data to you?
Building and maintaining everything that’s required to deliver fresh US company data only from official sources is difficult. We do this challenging work so you don’t have to!
This includes sourcing the data, transforming it into a consistent global schema, quality assuring it to spot anomalies and the ongoing maintenance to keep up to speed with registers that can change with little notice. We at OpenCorporates want for you to be able to leverage this data with as little friction as possible whether you’re generating insights, investigating corruption or building products on top of it.
Our data freshness is getting better and better through efforts including:
- Relationship building with registries
We build relationships with company registries, which helps us better understand their data, react to changes in the way they structure it and acquire it through various official means.
- Open data collection
Where registries offer their data at scale as open data, we make every effort to understand, standardise and ingest it. Open data can be offered as flat files, via API or other means by registries.
- Responsible web scraping
Where appropriate, we create bots to scrape the data from an official registry. This activity is conducted responsibly, and in a way that minimises the possibility of any disruption for a registry’s users.
- Purchasing data
We purchase data directly from some official company registries. Whilst we believe all company data should be openly available, where it isn’t openly available yet, we sometimes purchase it to illustrate the value of that data once it’s made openly available on OpenCorporates.
But our approach to securing the most up-to-date data is evolving. We’re constantly striving to create new ways to provide fresh company from across the US and the rest of the world in our unique, transparent way – so you benefit.
You may also be interested in…
- Transparent company data
Find out how we’re leading the creation of an entirely new transparent company data market, so everybody benefits.
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Todd Conklin, Chief Data Officer and Chief Information Officer at the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence speaks to us about the role of transparent company data in investigations.
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