Company Research Guide

This guide identifies sources for basic business and company information, but not specific resources for broad business disciplines such as accounting, marketing or management.

Annual and Quarterly Reports and Proxy Statements

Annual reports

Documents published by public companies discussing their products and financial position for the previous year. Annual reports (also called a form 10K by the SEC) typically include the following:

  • A letter from the Chairman of the Board to the shareholders
  • Financial statements including sales, stock, and marketing data
  • Information about products and subsidiaries
  • A list of directors and officers of the company

For private companies that are subsidiaries of public companies, annual reports are often the only way to locate information about their operations. One of the easier ways to locate a particular company's annual report is to go to Google and type (using quotations) "Name of company" and "annual report".

Proxy Statements

The proxy statement (also called a DEF 14A by the SEC) is a shareholder report filed with the SEC soliciting shareholder votes. It also contains additional information that the 10K does not necessarily include such as:

  • Background information about the company's nominated directors including relevant history in the company or industry, positions on other corporate boards, and potential conflicts of interest.
  • Board compensation.
  • Executive compensation for the top five compensated officers, including (but not limited to) salary, bonus, non-equity compensation, stock awards, options, and deferred compensation.

The Annual Report and Proxy are often filed on the same day or within a very few days of each other.

Quarterly Filings

Quarterly financial statements (also called a form 10Q by the SEC) give a structured overview of the most recently completed quarter's financial position. They are usually accompanied by a press release and a conference call for shareholders.

The following resources index the full text of annual reports and proxy filings: