What is 'SEC Form ARS'

The SEC Form ARS is the annual report to shareholders. It is the principal document used by public companies to report on the current state of its financial condition and is followed by an annual meeting of shareholders. It has become common practice for most public companies to combine or replace the ARS with the 10-K, since the financial information in a 10-K is much more comprehensive.



A typical SEC Form ARS will include an overview letter from the chief executive officer (CEO), results of operations, accomplishments and future plans, as well as detailed financial information. These documents, as well as the proxy statement, are essential for fundamental analysis of the ongoing business of a company. An ARS will include:

  • A Director’s Report, which includes information about the Director’s salary and a review of corporate governance policies and procedures
  • General information about the company
  • A review of the company’s financial information and operations
  • A Chairperson’s statement
  • The auditor’s report, which gives an auditor’s opinion on the accuracy of the financial information found in the ARS
  • Financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements and a statement of changes in equity
  • Notes relevant to the financial statements
  • Information on the company’s accounting policies

The ARS may include other information, including non-audited information and other relevant information, including reports on the company’s social responsibility policy, reports on manufacturing operations and other details considered useful for shareholders and investors.

Presentation of the ARS

The ARS is usually published on high-gloss paper with photos, images and colorful graphics. It is a lengthy and detailed document, in contrast with shorter, less-expensively-printed wrap reports. The Form 10-K is a more detailed version of the Form ARS, which is usually submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Financial Information in the ARS

The ARS contains financial statements for each financial period during which the company did business. These statements record and summarize the company’s financial performance during the previous year.

For example, the income statement compares the company’s income with the cost of operating expenses during the year. The balance sheet gives a complete picture of the company’s assets and debts over the course of the financial year previous. The cash flow statement shows how the company has generated and used liquid assets and cash during the year under review.

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