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MGT 1100 - Introduction to Business

Finding company intelligence for all business research, job searching and interviews.

Key Reports from Publicly-Held Companies

Where can you find information on a company's major segments, strengths and weaknesses, operations & supply chain, merchandising and pricing, marketing strategy and more? 

Look for these key reports at a company's web site (search Google), often under Investor Relations:

  • Annual Form 10-K SEC filing

    - Provides information on organization, operations, marketing and competition
    • Alternatives to the 10-K include
      • S-1 Registration Statement and/or 424B4 Prospectus for newly public companies (initial public offerings) - see how to read
      • 20-F SEC filing for non-US companies,
      • SEDAR Info for Canadian companies
  • Annual Report to Stockholders
    • President's letter often outlines strategy
    • Report itself may tell you much about its marketing
    • Available at company web sites and sometimes with SEC filings
  • Latest Quarterly 10-Q SEC filing - for an update to above>
  • CEO Interviews, Conference Calls and/or press releases - updates on strategy, often found at corporate web sites.
  • Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability reports - often a special section of the corporate web site

If you cannot find reports there, use sources on Where to Find Reports? on the tab above.

Where can you find key company reports & SEC filings? 

At the company's web site via Google!


  • At the company's Investor Relations page, look for Financials or SEC Filings
  • When viewing a list of filings, look for a drop-down option to change to Annual Filings

If not on the company web site, check the following sites for reports:

Why Review SEC Filings and the Annual Report?

Companies must file regular reports with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to sell shares on major stock exchanges.  These reports include detailed descriptive information on products, organization, distribution and risk factors ,as well as financial statements.  

A company's annual report to stockholders is often a public relations or marketing tool. A key portion is the President's Letter that will highlight major events and strategies. Many companies now append their annual SEC filing to the letter to form the annual report.

SEC's EDGAR database may also have financials for private company in the early stages of filing with the SEC for an initial public offering (IPO).

Besides the President's Letter, key SEC filings to review are:

10K annual form for operations insight (business description & management discussion) as well as financials. 

S-1 initial registration filing for IPOs & new registrants
20-F reports for non-US companies
Canadian company filings are often referred to as SEDAR, the Canadian equivalent of EDGAR.

10Q - latest quarter SEC filing

But warning! The sources above are crafted by the company.  For alternate points of view, see steps 3 and 4.

Reports on Private Companies

Private companies are not required to reveal publicly information about their operations, however, possible sources may include:

  • Basic annual reports filed with their state governments,
  • Credit reports from databases such as Lexis Uni,.  
  • Preliminary registration and funding reports with the SEC prior to an initial public offering
  • Older SEC filings made before going private, such as for Dunkin Brands.

Check the sources below for possible profiles of larger companies, such as Mars and Dunkin Brands, and credit reports on a wide range of companies.

Next Steps:

Step 3 - Understand your industry
Step 4 - Dig deeper for articles in trade journals, local and national newspapers and more.


Non-Profit Organziations

Nonprofit organizations must file with the IRS and their state agencies for tax exempt status. 

Check with the IRS site and/or GuideStar/Candid to confirm stats. And use the Candid Form 990 finder to locate recent IRS Form 990 tax forms filed annually by charities with over $25,000 in revenues.

Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau evaluate larger non-profits.

Next Steps:

Step 3 - Understand your nonprofit's industry.
Step 4 - Dig deeper for articles in trade journals, local and national newspapers and more.


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