Finding Company Reports

This post is on the vexed topic of actually finding the company financial reports/statements. The following covers extracting the figures for total income, capital sales, total current deductions, interest payments, total assets in years one and two, and depreciation.

No, companies just don’t hand you the Financial Statements on a plate. “Oh, they are just in the Annual Reports!” Finding a Financial Statement is, for most companies, made hard and difficult. Only a few small companies with good profits make their financial statements easy to find. If you employ someone to find the company financial statements, give them a piece of leather to put between their teeth and double their salaries. If you find someone who does the job of finding financial statements rapidly and well, they are worth their weight in gold!

Financial Reports/Statements are usually located towards the end of the Company Annual Report. You need to find the Annual Report of that company for the latest year published.

In many countries, such as the US, Quarterly Reports are published. As a source of financial information these reports suffer for three reasons:

  1. They are not audited, thus they are likely to be inaccurate (a lot more than the audited reports).
  2. In many cases the figures reported are erratic and unstable. This could be because of the above-mentioned cause of inaccuracy of the report, or seasonal effects.

I am aware of the existence of private aggregators and providers of com information, who can more easily provide the Annual Report information required. These so u h access to this information, lucky you. However these aggregators are expensive. Unless you are very wealthy or run a large investment fund unlikely that you can afford these aggregator services, and I am writing book to explain how even a small investor can improve their investment performance without great expenses are used by large funds and investors. If yo re it is ACCESSING FINANCIAL REPORTS So you don’t have access to the proprietary data sets (I won’t name them but most are very good), and you need to go directly to the source, the Company Annual Reports Nowadays, these Annual Reports are available on the internet, on the company web sites. But often the Annual Reports can be found on the company web site only with a great deal of difficulty, as they are well hidden. I have found that as a general rule, if the company has problems, financial, management, cultural, – a number of obstructions are placed in front of you to prevent you accessing any useful financial results.

However in the US, listed companies are required to file and publish a very useful annual financial reporting form with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), the 10-K. This information can be found on the SEC web site, called EDGAR, though the same information and form is sometimes also published on the company web site. The 10-K contains the Annual Financial Report, usually in a standard format together with a massive amount of detailed operational information. Even so, some fir deliberately I think, try to make it difficult to acces even from this source. Be warned. In over 90% of these cases I have where you have access problems, the company is what I call dodgy eventual Economic Rents figures, obtained after much persistence, Wl confirm this. So it is dangerous to give up!

So how does one find the 10-K? Type in to your search engine SEC EDGAR. The page you find is one of several SEC web sites that allow you to search for a particular company in the company name (not the stock exchange code) into the search Type hox near the top of the page, and press ‘enter. The search engine comes up ith a list of similar sounding companies. (T here are many, many s in the investment galaxy, and while having identical names is forbidden, similar sounding names are allowed.) Choose the company you think it is and double click.

You get another list. Dozens, even hundreds of cryptic titles, 4-Q, 4-K, 8-K many others. You would think American companies have nothing better to do except file reports with the SEC! They are filed in date order, the most recent first. Anyway, look for 10-K.

Once you’ve found the 10-K, you can check out the rest of our guide!