Answered By: Julie Shen Last Updated: Mar 22, 2016 Views: 333
Annual reports are published by publicly-traded companies to educate current and potential stockholders about company activities and performance. They contain discussions of the previous year's activities, plans for the coming year(s), and financial data. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that companies distribute annual reports to their shareholders. Annual Reports are also available freely to the public for most U.S. companies that offer stock.
Related to annual reports are 10-K reports, which are filed with the SEC. While they do not contain charts, photos or graphics, they do contain more information than a typical annual report. Websites that contain "SEC filings" often have both annual reports and 10-K reports. Thompson's Guide to SEC Filings explains the contents and requirements of each SEC filing and discusses the various situations in which a company needs to file.
It is important to realize that annual reports are publications of publicly traded stocks. Private companies, subsidiaries, and brand names DO NOT have annual reports.
If you need only financial data (income statement, balance sheet) you may not need an actual annual report. Company and investment reference sources can be downloaded from Mergent Online, available on the Business Databases page.
Annual Reports Sources
Company Websites. Recent annual reports are now commonly offered from the company's own website. A search of Google.com will often yield the company website. Annual reports may be hidden under such links as "About the Company" or "Investor Relations".
Web Collections of Annual Reports. The websites below will lead to either company websites or the data directly:
- Public Register's Annual Report ServiceThe annual reports of public companies traded on the NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, OTC and TSX exchanges can be ordered without charge from this searchable site. Reports are mailed free to addresses within the United States. Also links to over 2,000 annual reports online at: http://www.annualreportservice.com/
- The Collection of Historical Annual Reports is a project of the Lippincott Library at the University of Pennsylvania. The Collection consists of annual reports in PDF format from U.S. companies, and covers the period 1800 through 1955. Reports are continuously added.
- Columbia Historical Corporate Reports Online Collection offers digitized annual reports for 36 corporations that operated in and around New York City, ranging from the 1850s through the early 1960s.
- U. S. Securities & Exchange Commission The Securities & Exchange Commission is the United States government agency charged with the regulation of publicly traded companies and the markets and exchanges on which they trade. Filings submitted to the S.E.C. are posted on their Website. Go directly to: http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm
Lexis Nexis Academic Universe. Available from the Business Databases page. Lexis Nexis is good for older annual reports and 10-K's. However, Lexis-Nexis does not have any photos, charts, or graphics.
From the main menu, under Get Company Info, search by company name or ticker symbol. Then click on "SEC Filings" on the left.
For older annual reports, from the Academic Universe main menu page, click on Sources, search for AICPA, and select Annual Reports - Corporate (AICPA) (formerly known as NAARS Annual Reports).
Mergent Online. Available from the Business Databases page. From the main menu, under Company Search, search by company name or ticker symbol. Then click on the "Reports" tab for a list of reports starting with the most recent.
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