Dun & Bradstreet, or D&B (NYSE:DNB), as most business owners call it, is an organization that compiles data on businesses all over the world. The D&B commercial database contains more than 225 million companies and includes company information such as registered name, address, contact information, subsidiaries, and nature of the business.
More importantly, it has compiled financial information about each registered business that enables the D&B to assign a rating for financial stability and credit use based on the available data. Each registered business is assigned a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number by which it can be identified and the accompanying data retrieved. It is free for U.S. businesses to register for a DUNS number, and the entire process can be done online. Businesses outside the U.S. may register for a DUNS number if they pay a small fee.
D&B also offers business solutions for risk management as well as sales and marketing.
Why should you register with Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)?
The value of the D&B is that it provides insight into the financial standing of any business in its database. This is used primarily to assess the risks of establishing a working relationship with a particular company.
For example, a bank may check the D&B rating for a company that is applying for a business loan to see if it is considered a good risk. They can see all of the business’s credit history, including if it made timely payment on any previous loans and its overall financial stability. The bank wants to make certain that the business will, and is capable of, paying back the loan. In such cases, the D&B takes on the same role for a business that credit reporting companies like Experian take on for private citizens.
Because other businesses give the D&B rating such strong credibility, you want to have a good D&B rating. For example, your D&B rating may be taken into consideration if you want to apply for a line of credit, bring in more investors, or win a contract.
Like with most credit reporting companies, those who want to check a business’s D&B profile do have to pay a small fee.
A company must be registered with D&B and have a DUNS number before it can apply for any U.S. government grant or federal contract. The government requires all businesses to register so that they can check their financial history and related organizations to make certain the business meets all grant or contract guidelines.
Controversy: D&B and small businesses
Many startups are advised to get a DUNS number to make it easier for them to establish their credit. However, the importance of the D&B rating for small companies is often challenged. There are many companies that claim they have never needed a DUNS number on a loan application or when acting as a prospective client for another company. Some companies that do have a DUNS number also claim that they have not really seen any benefit from being a registered company.
History of D&B
Dun & Bradstreet Corp., was founded in 1841 and currently has its headquarters in Short Hill, New Jersey. It was one of the first companies to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. While it started out somewhat small, today the company has offices in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
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