A:

Thanks to the Internet, finding financial reports is easier than ever. Nowadays, every reputable company has an investor relations section on its website that is a wealth of information.

Walt Disney Co is an excellent example of a business that uses its website to get information out to shareholders and prospective investors. It is very easy to find the link to its investor relations section.

This part of the Disney website contains a downloadable version of its annual report, stock quotes, an investor newsletter, archived conference calls and even the opportunity for current shareholders to sign up for electronic reports. The best part about these online investor relations sections is their extra nuggets of hard-to-find information. For example, most companies will use these spaces to offer detailed info on past acquisitions and stock splits not always available on other financial portals.

If you want to dig deeper and go beyond the slick marketing version of the annual report found on corporate websites, you'll have to search through filings made to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). All publicly-traded companies in the U.S. must file regular financial reports with the SEC. These filings include the annual report (known as the 10-K), quarterly report (10-Q) and a myriad of other forms containing all types of financial data.

Reports are filed through a system known as EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system). EDGAR performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance and forwarding of submissions by companies and others required by law to file forms with the SEC. Information on EDGAR can be found on the SEC's website, where you can search through forms as well as familiarize yourself with the system using its EDGAR tutorial.

Be warned, the tools on the SEC's site are cumbersome at best. For more user-friendly sites, try the following:

Free EDGAR
allows you to search for most SEC forms. It's free, but requires registration.

EDGAR Online is a subscription-based site offering dozens of products on any type of information filed with the SEC. You won't find anything free, but if you need sophisticated services, EDGAR Online is the site for you.

To learn how to analyze a company's financial statements, see our tutorial Introduction to Fundamental Analysis.

RELATED FAQS
  1. Where can I get a company's prospectus and/or financial statements?

    These types of company documents have become increasingly accessible with the advent of the Internet. Most companies have ... Read Answer >>
  2. Where can I find fiscal year data for publicly traded corporations?

    Access fiscal year data for publicly traded corporations that is required by the government to be readily available to the ... Read Answer >>
  3. How do I know if I am buying unregistered securities or stocks?

    All securities, including stocks, bonds and notes, must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before ... Read Answer >>
  4. How often do mutual funds report their holdings?

    Learn how mutual funds are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose their portfolio holdings on a quarterly ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is an unregistered security scam?

    Each year, millions of Americans lose money to con artists who convince them to invest in companies through "private offerings" ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    The SEC’s EDGAR System: Use It Fearlessly!

    Navigate the SEC's EDGAR database system without fear.
  2. Investing

    Top SEC EDGAR Tools For New Investors

    Navigating the plethora of data available to investors can be overwhelming. The SEC has made it a bit easier with its EDGAR system.
  3. Investing

    Data Mining For Investors

    Being an informed investor is extremely important, but where and how do you get the data for your research?
  4. Investing

    Understanding The Top SEC filing forms

    It's easier than ever to keep track of your SEC filing status online.
  5. Personal Finance

    Learn More About Your Investments: Using XBRL In EDGAR

    This data-tagging system makes it easier than ever to research and analyze companies' financial information.
  6. Investing

    Speed Read SEC Filings For Hot Stock Picks

    SEC forms can be a real headache. Find out how to make your research more efficient - and more effective.
  7. Personal Finance

    Policing The Securities Market: An Overview Of The SEC

    Find out how this regulatory body protects the rights of investors.
  8. Investing

    Top 6 Websites For Finding Financial Stats

    These websites are among the best for you to find financial information on a variety of topics.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval - EDGAR

    The electronic filing system created by the Securities and Exchange ...
  2. EDGAR Public Dissemination Service (PDS) System

    A privatized online service that provides the public with the ...
  3. SEC Form 497

    The SEC form that investment companies use to file their definitive ...
  4. SEC Form 10SB12B

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also ...
  5. SEC Form 10

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also ...
  6. SEC Form 10-QSB

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Tender Offer

    An offer to purchase some or all of shareholders' shares in a corporation. The price offered is usually at a premium to the ...
  2. Ponzi Scheme

    A fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme generates returns ...
  3. Dow Jones Industrial Average - DJIA

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange ...
  4. Revolving Credit

    A line of credit where the customer pays a commitment fee and is then allowed to use the funds when they are needed. It is ...
  5. Marginal Utility

    The additional satisfaction a consumer gains from consuming one more unit of a good or service. Marginal utility is an important ...
  6. Contango

    A situation where the futures price of a commodity is above the expected future spot price. Contango refers to a situation ...
Trading Center