US companies must submit annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q , and current reports on Form-8-K for a number of specified events and must comply with a variety of other disclosure requirements.
The federal securities laws require public companies to disclose information on an ongoing basis. This means the public can access financial and other information on the open web.
Main form types of interest are:
Form 10-K: audited annual report
Form 10-Q: unaudited quarterly report
Form 8-K: current or “material” information
Registration statement (Form S-1) and prospectus (Form F-6)
The annual report on Form 10-K provides a comprehensive overview of the company's business and financial condition and includes audited financial statements. Although similarly named, the annual report on Form 10-K is distinct from the “annual report to shareholders,” which a company must send to its shareholders when it holds an annual meeting to elect directors.
The annual report on Form 10-K, which must be filed with the SEC, may contain more detailed information about the company’s financial condition than the annual report and will include the annual financial statements of the company. Companies sometimes elect to send their annual report on Form 10-K to their shareholders in lieu of, or in addition to, providing shareholders with a separate annual report to shareholders.
The 10-K begins with a detailed description of the business, followed by risk factors, a rundown of any legal issues, and, finally, the numbers and financial notes in the back. Oftentimes, the most essential components of the annual filing are the following items:
Item 1: Business - a description of the company's operation
Item 1A: Risk Factors
Item 3: Legal Proceedings
Item 6: Selected Financial Data
Item 7: Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition
SEDAR (System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval) is the official site that provides access to most public securities documents and information filed by issuers with the thirteen provincial and territorial securities regulatory authorities ("Canadian Securities Administrators" or "CSA"). Companies traded publicly on exchanges such as the Toronto Stock Exchange are required to file annual reports and other documentation.
The SEDAR site provides you with three search options - NEW FILINGS, ISSUER PROFILES and SEARCH DATABASE.
1. Select "Search database"
2. Select "Search for COMPANY documents"
3. Search by (full) company name, file type, or industry group. Documents are available electronically back to 1997.
Main file types of interest are:
4. If a company doesn't appear in the results, check the name. If you're sure it's right, the company may not be publicly traded in Canada.
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