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Researching Publicly Traded Companies: Home

Tutorial: How to find SEC reports using EDGAR

Below is a printer friendly PDF file containing a step by step tutorial on how to use EDGAR to find and analyze a 10K annual report of a publicly traded company.

Common SEC Terms

Form 10-K - Annual reports filed within 90 days of a company's fiscal year end

Form 10-Q - Quarterly reports filed for each of the first 3 quarters of a company's fiscal year 

Form 8-K - Reports used to report material events or corporate changes to investors or security holders 

Williams Act Filing Form - General statement of beneficial ownership (e.g., going private transaction, tender offer statement, solicitation/recommendation statements)

Form 6-K - Report of foreign issue from foreign private companies not required to file Forms 10-Q or 8-K

Registration Statements such as S-4 - Filed to register securities prior to being offered to investors and to permit trading among investors. Note: Private companies can file registration statements to raise funding and still remain private companies.

20-F - Integrated form used to register securities of foreign private issuers or as their annual report

Proxy Statements - Information needed to vote on issues at security holders' meetings, either annual meetings or special meetings

Form 5 - A document that must be filed by an insider who has conducted insider transactions during the year which were not previously reported

The Basics of SEC Filings

By law, all publicly traded companies must make their financial statements available to the SEC. 

When you’re using the SEC website, you will want to look for 10-k reports, the annual report.

If there is a parent company, Annual Reports to Shareholders and 10-Ks are issued under the parent name.

For examplple:

You won’t be able to find data like stockholders equity for Qdoba and Taco Bell. Qdoba isn’t its own publicly traded company, so if investors want to invest in Qdoba, they can do so by purchasing Jack in the box stock. If you want to analyze Qdoba’s financials, you’ll need to use the Jack in the Box financial statements. Since Taco Bell's parent company is YUM, you’ll need to look at the YUM financial statements.

- The Annual Report to Shareholders is not required to be filed with the SEC, but the 10-K must be filed.

- Usually, only publicly traded companies must file SEC reports. However, under some circumstances, private companies must file certain SEC reports.

For Example, any Company with "more than $10 million in total assets and a class of equity securities, like common stock, that is held of record by either (1) 2,000 or more persons or (2) 500 or more persons who are not accredited investors" is required to file a registration statement, whether the securities are publicly or privately traded.

- Regulated companies (e.g., banks, insurance companies, utilities--publicly held and private), must file reports with their regulatory agency (e.g., FDIC, FRB, FHLBB, insurance commission, state auditor), rather than the SEC. Filings may include articles of incorporation, annual report, corporate name changes & operating locations. For these reports, contact the regulatory agency or the company itself, or check the Secretary of State, where companies usually must register and describe their company and activities.

Citing sources from Databases & Websites


10K Annual Report from EDGAR at the Securities & Exchange Commission Website

Wright Express Corporation. (2009, February 27). Form 10K. Retrieved from


Company Website:

Company’s Annual Report from Company Website

Boeing. (2012).The Boeing company: 2011 annual report. Retrieved from


Business Source Complete:

MarketLine Company Profile from Business Source Complete (called Datamonitor on older reports)

MarketLine. (2012, May 9). Infosys Limited. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.

Where else can I find company information?

What kind of information does a 10-K report include?

  • Primary Business and Risks
  • Information on products, markets, distribution channels, and business alliances
  • Financial reports (2-3 years of operating results, income statements, balance sheets, cash flow)
  • Segment reporting (e.g. sales by major lines of business)
  • Research & development and patent ownership
  • Advertising expenses
  • Subsidiaries, major properties owned, and foreign operations
  • Areas of vulnerability (e.g. environmental safety, legal proceedings, dependence on a few customers)
  • Ownership and management of the company (see also Registration Statements)
  • Company's opinion of future performance
  • Matters affecting company operations (e.g. discontinued operations, restructuring, other changes)
  • Exhibits such as government contracts, joint ventures