With all the other goings-on at data-collection company infoUSA (NASDAQ:IUSA) these days, it's a wonder the little company is even bothering to publish earnings results tomorrow. Well, OK, the SEC and the Nasdaq mandate it, but absent those niggling legal requirements, I suspect that infoUSA would just as soon skip the numbers-juggling and focus on fending off the swarm of angry shareholders buzzing around its boardroom.

At least two investment funds, Cardinal Capital Management and Dolphin Limited Partnership, together controlling approximately 7.3% of infoUSA's shares, are demanding access to internal corporate documents at infoUSA. The funds want to investigate infoUSA CEO Vinod Gupta's compensation, various related-party transactions that the firm has entered into, and the strange circumstances surrounding Gupta's abortive attempt to take the company private back in August, among other issues. With all this controversy, a wonder that infoUSA management has time left to run its business.

They'd best find a way, though. Controversy aside, analysts are expecting very good things out of infoUSA tomorrow. Between the two analysts who follow the company, the consensus is that infoUSA will post $94 million in sales this quarter, and translate that into $0.13 per share in profits. Transforming 5% sales growth into 30% earnings growth would be tricky any time. Doing so in the midst of a battle with shareholders will be quite a feat.

Worse for infoUSA shareholders, the company has developed a history of beating estimates, so accomplishing that 5%-into-30% feat still may not give this stock a bounce. Over each of the past four quarters, infoUSA served up a positive "earnings surprise" to Wall Street, beating estimates by an average of 19%. Assuming Wall Street has a similar "whisper number" baked into its expectations for Tuesday's report, even meeting estimates may not meet the Street's real expectations.

Whatever tomorrow's earnings results show, however, the real story behind infoUSA is not in the GAAP numbers at all. Over the past eight quarters, infoUSA has booked just $41.4 million in GAAP profits. But its free cash flow is nearly three times as large, at $118.8 million. For comparison, rival Acxiom (NASDAQ:ACXM) generates nearly four times as much free cash flow as it does reported net profits; Canada's Thomson (NYSE:TOC) generates about 15% more free cash flow than it does GAAP profits; and the Netherlands' Reed Elsevier (NYSE:ENL) is nearly eight times less profitable on a free cash flow basis than it is under GAAP.

For a more on infoUSA's boardroom battles, read:

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Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.