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Industry Computer Software and Information Technology
Founded 1998
Founders Brian Hamilton and Sarah Tourville
Headquarters Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Key people
Brian Hamilton, Chairman
Scott Ogle, CEO

Sageworks is a private company headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. It provides financial analysis software. It collects financial information on the private sector by aggregating data from large accounting firms. The company also publishes "private company indicator" reports, which analyze activity and profitability in certain market segments.

Corporate history[edit]

Sageworks was founded in 1998 by computer programmer, Sarah Tourville and serial entrepreneur, Brian Hamilton.[1][2] They spent two years developing the software, before releasing Sageworks' Financial Information into Narrative Data (FIND) product, which is now part of ProfitCents. Initially the product did not sell well and the founders did not know who to market it to. CitiBank and Intuit were both early adopters.[2]

Its second location was subsequently opened in New York City.[3] Scott Ogle was named chief executive officer in 2013.[4]

Sageworks started in 2000 and collected data widely for financial statement years from 2001 on. By 2009, it could share financial statement data from more than 95,000 firms for one or more financial statements dated 2001-2007, including three or more consecutive years of pre-2008 financial statement data for 32,204.[5]:2,11 At a later date, it included some 2001-2011 data from almost 240,000 private firms, including three or more consecutive years of financial data for each of 99,040.[6]:8 This compares to multi-year data from 2001-2011 being available for just 4,360 public U.S. firms.[notes 1]

By 2007 it had $9.7 million in revenues and was on Inc. Magazine's list of fastest growing companies.[2]


Sageworks provides financial performance data on private companies based on their income statements and balance sheets.[notes 2] The data is provided by large accounting firms that work with private companies, then anonymized by labeling each company with a unique identifier number.[notes 3] Commercial users are given access to aggregated data by industry and region and not the financials of individual companies.[6] Its data tends to be from larger private firms, who use the larger accounting firms that provide data to Sageworks. As of 2014, it contained data on almost 240,000 private companies.[6]:9

Sageworks' data has been used by academics to analyze economics using data from private companies, whereas traditionally only a very small data-set of about 4,000 public companies that publicly reported their data was available.[6]:8 According to a paper from researchers with New York University and Harvard Business School, Sageworks' data is especially useful, because it is free of survivor bias and other selection biases.[5]:1

Analyzing Sageworks' data, academics found that private firms tend to keep less cash as a percentage of assets than public firms, that private firms make more investments in fixed assets and are more financially leveraged than public firms, in their sample;[5]:19[7]

In its Terms of Use online, Sageworks states, " In addition, Sageworks reserves the right to freely use, sell, and distribute all data provided by users from which Sageworks has removed personally identifiable information".

Sageworks also does not comply with the PCI DSS payment card industry data security standard, which is required of all online merchants.

The company obtains additional revenues from customer data resale and seeks to shield itself by requiring an indemnity from its customers in case of legal disputes arising out of its use of customer data. This is stated by Sageworks in its Terms of Use online, "Users represent and warrant that they have all necessary rights and authority to provide the data and information provided through the Products and to permit Sageworks to use such data and information as set forth in the Terms of Use. If you do not comply with this warranty, Sageworks’ sole remedy and your sole obligation will be to indemnify and hold Sageworks and its officers, directors, and employees harmless from and against any third-party claims, actions, investigations, or liabilities (including damages, losses, costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys’ fees) resulting from Sageworks’ possession or use of such data and other information (provided Sageworks permits you to defend Sageworks against any such claim). Users assume sole responsibility for results from the Products and conclusions drawn therefrom. Users will indemnify and hold Sageworks and its officers, directors, and employees harmless from and against any claims, actions, investigations, or liabilities (including damages, losses, costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys' fees) resulting from use of the Products."


Sageworks also uses this data to create the "Sageworks private company indicator", which shows private-company sales growth and profit margins.[8] It also occasionally issues aggregate information about average profitability of private firms in various industries, which is sometimes reported more widely in the business press.[9][10]


Sageworks and its cofounder, Hamilton, started a program called Inmates to Entrepreneurs in 2008, that encourages prison inmates to start their own business in sectors like home cleaning, care detailing, landscaping and being a barber.[2]


  1. ^ As derived by Asker et. al from Compustat and CRSP databases, after certain exclusions including removal of all financial firms and regulated utilities.[6]:8
  2. ^ Statement of cash flow data, financial statements' footnote data, and CEO ownership and most other ownership data are not available in Sageworks.[5]:1,6,15–17
  3. ^ The accounting firms participating "input data for all their corporate clients directly into Sageworks’ database in an anonymous fashion."[5]:1


  1. ^ Stodghill, Ron (June 14, 2006). "Bolt down those costs". FORTUNE Small Business. Retrieved March 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bailey, David (November 2011). "Out on your own". North Carolina Business. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ Follari, Gemma (September 25, 2014). "Manhattan fin-tech incubator unveiled". Crain's New York. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ Weisbecker, Lee (December 27, 2012). "Scott Ogle named Sageworks CEO". Triangle Biz Journal. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Asker, Farre-Menser, Ljungqvist (28 March 2011). "What Do Private Firms Look like? Data Appendix". SSRN 1659926Freely accessible.  (a 34-page paper labelled as a "Data Appendix", which supports the authors' other papers using the Sageworks data: Abstract available here at with full paper also freely downloadable)
  6. ^ a b c d e Asker, John, Joan Farre-Menser, and Alexander Ljungqvist (October 20, 2014). "Corporate Investment and Stock Market Listing: A Puzzle?" (PDF). Review of Financial Studies (forthcoming). Retrieved March 19, 2015.  (full paper available in pre-publication form)
  7. ^ Asker, Farre-Menser, Ljungqvist (2010), Does the Stock Market Distort Investment Incentives?  (Note: Table 1 similar to "Data Appendix"'s Table A9, p.18)
  8. ^ "Sageworks Private Company Data". Fox Business. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ Yerak, Becky (August 6, 2014). "Accounting is most profitable industry, study shows". Chicago Tribune. 
  10. ^ Dougherty, Conor (August 23, 2011). "Private Companies See Record Profits". The Wall St Journal. 

External links[edit]