Common SIC Questions
Yes. SIC Codes are used to identify the primary line of business for any specific company, however, many companies have more than one line of business. As such, secondary, tertiary codes and so forth may be used to identify other lines of business in which a company participates and from which it produces revenue.
SIC Codes have changed many time since their initial creation in 1937, however, the US Government discontinued use of the Standard Industrial Classification System in 1997 and replaced it with the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). As such, the codes have not been updated in that time. There are, however, private businesses that have developed six, seven, and eight digit SIC Codes for marketing and identification purposes, and these businesses often update and add codes to their proprietary coding systems to reflect new industries. Those changes, however should not in any way affect your use of four digit SIC Codes for regulatory purposes.
The US Census Bureau discontinued the use of SIC Codes in 1987. They were replaced by the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).
SIC Codes are based on Primary Business Activities. It is a much more general and less specific classification system than the newer NAICS Codes, especially at the official, 4-digit level. You should be looking for the code that best describes what your business does.
Using the SIC Code Drilldown List to Identify Your Code:
The SIC Drilldown is broken out by the following categories: Division, Major Industry Group, Industry Group, Industry Title.
Each Code fits into one of 10 SIC Divisions. A Division breaks down into Major Industry Groups, and Industry Groups Break Down into Industry Titles. 3rd Parties such as Dun&Bradstreet have developed the 8 digit SIC system to further delineate related industry titles. As you navigate the SIC Drilldown, simply select the most appropriate title at each level to find your code.
NOTE: It is possible that the agency or firm requesting your SIC Code is interested in the 8 digit code, however most government agencies currently use the NAICS system, and where they do still use SIC Codes, may only be looking for the 4 digit code.
Visit the SIC to NAICS Crosswalk Page to Find Your SIC Code. You can enter your NAICS code into the NAICS to SIC Crosswalk tool to find the corresponding SIC Codes. Where there are more than one corresponding code, simply pick the one that best describes your business activities. Alternatively, you can download the PDF with the full crosswalk for Free or Purchase the Digital File (Excel Format) at the NAICS Product Store.
This tool allows you to purchase the record for any company listed with Dun & Bradstreet. Records include SIC and NAICS Codes.
The Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC) was discontinued in 1997. While a number of organizations and industries still utilize the SIC Coding system, there is no official way to create a new industry within the SIC.
The US Census Bureau no longer utilizes the SIC system, however there are a number of organizations and agencies that still utilize the SIC Coding System. Traditionally, the SIC is a self assigned system, meaning your company would identify itself by the code that most accurately reflects its line of business. If an organization has you listed with an SIC Code that does not reflect your line of business properly, you would contact that specific organization and request a change.
Of course, some will have alternate preferences, but we have found the most popular pronunciations for these codes are as follows:
NAICS is said “NAKES” and Rhymes with SNAKES.
SIC is said “Ess-Eye-Sea” or S-I-C.*
*You will notice throughout this site that a single SIC Code will be referred to as ‘AN’ SIC code as opposed to ‘A’ SIC Code for this reason.
The first two digits of the code identify the major industry group, the third digit identifies the industry group and the fourth digit identifies the industry.
|Major Industry Group||25||Furniture and Fixtures|
|Industry Group||252||Office Furniture|
|Industry||2521||Wood Office Furniture|
Note: The digit “9” is used in the third or fourth digit position of the classification code to designate miscellaneous industries not elsewhere classified (NEC). These miscellaneous classifications are not comprised of homogeneous primary activity groups. They are grouped together and treated as a separate industry in order to retain the homogeneity of the other industries in the group.
The Standard Industrial Classification SIC is a system for classifying industries by the type of activity in which they are primarily engaged with a four-digit code. It is used by government agencies, as well as some in other countries, e.g., by the United Kingdom’s Companies House.
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) was originally developed in the 1930’s to classify establishments by industry. The purpose of this task was to promote the comparability of establishment data to describe the US Economy.
In the United States the SIC code is being supplanted by the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS code), which was released in 1997; however certain government departments and agencies, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) still use the SIC Codes.
The Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC) was created in 1937 by the US Government. The census discontinued use of the SIC in 1997.
SIC Codes are no longer assigned by the US Government as they have been replaced by NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System). However, there are many agencies and organizations both government and otherwise that do still utilize these codes for a variety of reasons. Some will assign you a code themselves, though in most cases, you will be asked to provide your code.
An example of a company that may assign you an SIC Code is Dun & Bradstreet. If more than one SIC Code is assigned to a company by D&B, the first one listed is the primary line of business. The remaining codes, if any, comprise at least 10 percent of the firm’s annual revenue. These codes can be updated by using the D&B iUpdate Service.
An example of a government agency that uses SIC Codes is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC does not assign codes, however, when a company registers their IPO, they will select an SIC code by assessing its primary source of revenue. The SEC and other agencies that use these codes can usually be reached if you need to alter the code they’re using on your record.
U.S. SIC Codes are defined at the four digit level. Eight-digit SIC Codes are not official U.S. government SIC codes, therefore, historical statistical data cannot be found for any SIC Code beyond the four-digit level via government sources. Six, seven and eight-digit codes have been created by private data companies to help further classify industries for marketing and identification purposes.
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