- Public companies are required to file written reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- The SEC protects investors by regulating companies and the stock market.
You know how you get report cards when you’re in school? If you’re a public company, you have to file a written report with the SEC every quarter. It’s called a 10-Q, and here’s what one looks like:
The 10-Q has lots of details on the company’s financials and overall performance. It’s a quarterly report card for the company.
Once a year, the company files a 10-K, which is like the 10-Q only it covers the entire year. It’s the report card that has final grades for the year. The 10-K (which is black and white and full of numbers) is often part of a bigger, more colorful report the company puts out called an annual report.
The annual report starts off with a letter from the CEO describing the company’s accomplishments and thanking shareholders for their support. Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders is famous!
You can get the 10-Q, 10-K, or annual report for any stock (even ones you don’t own) for free at the company’s website.