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GENBA 110 - Business Foundations

Company Filings and Annual Reports

SEC Filings

Publicly traded companies in the United States are required to file reports throughout the year with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) including:

  • 10-K [How to read a 10-K]
    An annual report that contains company history, main products and services, subsidiaries, risk factors, and more
  • 10-Q
    A quarterly report that contains quarterly financial data, updates to the business, and more

You can locate these SEC filings in Mergent Online (a library database) or on the Investor Relations pages of company websites.

Mergent Online Filings Tab

Annual Reports

In addition to 10-K reports, many companies release annual reports to shareholders that are posted on their websites. Annual reports update shareholders about highlights of the company's year. Reports can usually be found on the company's website under Investor Relations or About Us.

Gannett Company Investor Relations Page

Industry Codes

Industry codes are numeric descriptors of an organization's business activities. Organizations may have several codes. They are usually listed in descending order from the primary business activity to those in which the organization has a smaller presence. Codes may be useful when compiling lists of similar businesses. 

Which one to use?

The Standard Industrial Classification, or SIC manual, is the older of the two. SIC codes are four-digit numbers, and although this system was superseded by the North American Industry Classification in 1987, many businesses still use it.

The North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS codes, are 6 digits, providing a bit more flexibility in describing business activities.

Most companies use both codes, so it is not necessary to conduct separate searches for each.