How to Use Online SEC Filings for Competitive Intelligence Information
As you research for competitive intelligence, you can find 8-K, 10Q, and 10K filings on corporate websites for publicly traded companies and also on numerous financial websites.
To examine a company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), head to Yahoo! Finance, click in the box next to Get Quotes, type the company’s name or ticker symbol, and press Enter. This should display a page with all sorts of financial information about the company. In the navigation bar (on the left), click SEC Filings.
Yahoo! Finance has some advantages over the SEC’s EDGAR search tool in that Yahoo! Finance makes it easier to find the information you need. You can usually find a company’s SEC filings on its corporate website, as well.
The 10K is an audited financial report that all publicly traded companies in the United States are required to file with the SEC annually. The financial information contained in the report may be useful depending on your intelligence needs, but the SEC requires some additional information that may be of value, including the following:
Consolidated financial data
Management’s discussion and analysis
Ownership changes of 5 percent or more
Numerous other corporate-related reports
Always check to see if the auditors have filed a “Going Concern Letter” on the company. That usually means that they have serious concerns about the future viability of the company. Such filings can often provide your senior management with acquisition opportunities.
Public companies in the United States are required to file quarterly financial reports with the SEC. While unaudited, these reports along with the related information can also provide solid intelligence about a company.
The SEC 8K requirement is a way of making sure that material changes at a company are reported within four business days of the occurrence of an event. A material change is anything that could significantly affect the market value of a company, such as the resignation of a CEO, loss of a major client, or a change in the board of directors.