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Company Research: Financial Information

Strategies and resources for conducting research on a company's financials, operations, and industry environment

Terminology used on this page

Familiarize yourself with these key terms:

10-K – Following a set order of topics required by the SEC, a company's 10-K filing typically contains more detailed information than its annual report. describes the 10-K as a "detailed picture of a company’s business, the risks it faces, and the operating and financial results for the fiscal year."

10-Q – Publicly reporting companies use the 10-Q to submit unaudited financial statements to the SEC for the first three quarters of the fiscal year. 

Annual Report – Public companies must provide an annual report to shareholders that describes operations and discloses financial data. 

SEC – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

EDGAR – Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system

CIK – Central Index Key (CIK) is an unique 10-digit number assigned to corporations, individuals, and foreign governments by the SEC.

Ticker Symbol – Arrangement of letters (and occasionally numbers) representing the stock of a company traded on a particular exchange. 

Open access resources for understanding financial terminology

Corporate filings with the SEC

Go directly to the SEC for company filings

Instructions for using EDGAR

You can also retrieve SEC filings from a Library database

  1. Open the drop-down Menu option at the top of the Nexis Uni homepage. Select Company Dossier.
  2. Search by Company name or Ticker symbol.
  3. After selecting the correct company from the results list, locate and select the SEC Filings option on the side of the screen.
  4. To compile selected filings into a report, select the Generate Report button.

Annual Reports

Visit the company's own website

Public companies generally make their annual reports available on their websites. Like the 10-K filed annually with the SEC, the annual reports should include information about the company and the financial performance over the last year. Since annual reports are intended for shareholders and potential investors, they are designed to be more aesthetically pleasing with additional elements like pictures, graphics, company history, descriptions of major company activities, and a message from the CEO. 

Keep a lookout for sections with labels such as investor relations, about us, publications, and -- of course -- annual reports.

Harness the features of an aggregate service

Review advice on how to use an annual report