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 are the differences between a 10-K report and a firm's own annual report?

    Understand the key differences between a corporation's own annual report and its 10-K report filed with the SEC and how investors ... Read Answer >>
  6. When must a company announce earnings?

    The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) requires companies to file earnings reports no later than 45 days after the end ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Data Mining For Investors

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

    How A Company Files With The SEC

    Filing with the SEC is not as complicated as you might thing -- just be meticulous about following the steps.
  3. Investing

    SEC Filings: Forms You Need To Know

    The forms companies are required to file provide a clear view of their histories and progress.
  4. 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.
  5. Personal Finance

    Policing The Securities Market: An Overview Of The SEC

    Find out how this regulatory body protects the rights of investors.
  6. 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.
  7. Insights

    Avoiding Online Investment Scams

    Find out how to spot internet fraud and protect your hard-earned money.
  8. Financial Advisor

    How To Get A Job At The SEC

    Want to make a good living taking on those renegade trading rascals on Wall Street? Here are some tips to help you get in the door at the SEC.
  9. Investing

    Popular Resources for Equity Research and Analysis: A Tutorial

    This tutorial offers details on the most popular resources for equity research and analysis.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval - EDGAR

    The electronic filing system created by the Securities and Exchange ...
  2. SEC Form 497

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

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

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also ...
  5. SEC Form 15

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also ...
  6. SEC Form S-2

    A form from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Price Elasticity Of Demand

    A measure of the relationship between a change in the quantity demanded of a particular good and a change in its price. Price ...
  2. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying ...
  3. Frexit

    Frexit – short for "French exit" – is a French spinoff of the term Brexit, which emerged when the United Kingdom voted to ...
  4. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will ...
  5. Down Round

    A round of financing where investors purchase stock from a company at a lower valuation than the valuation placed upon the ...
  6. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed ...
Trading Center