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Business Administration: Financial Statements

Research Guide for Business students.

Financial Statements

Basics of Financial Statements

Publicly-traded companies must file financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the body that oversees all US stock exchanges.  Un-audited statements are filed quarterly and audited statements are filed annually.  These SEC filings are the basis of the financial statements found in our databases, providing identical numbers as those found on a company's website or at the SEC:

Primary Source for Financial Statements

Securities and Exchange Commission

Publicly traded companies are required by the SEC to file financial statements; unlike those found in annual reports, these statements are standardized in both content and format. A complete set of any company's financial reports can be found at the US Securities & Exchange Commission website. These filings include:

  • Annual Report (10-K)
  • Quarterly Report (10-Q)
  • A myriad of other forms containing all types of financial data

Auditor's Opinion

To find the auditor's opinion:

  • Visit the Securities and Exchange Commission (www.sec.gov)
  • On the home page, click "Search EDGAR for Company Filings"
  • Enter your company's name or its ticker symbol
  • Choose your company from the list of companies (if applicable). Be sure you're selecting the parent company and not a subsidiary.
  • Of the forms listed for your company, select the most recent 10-K. Click "Documents" (not Interactive Data).
  • Within the Document Format Files, click on the .htm link that corresponds with the 10-K.
  • Find the Table of Contents.
  • Select the section "Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm"
  • This is the auditor's opinion. Note: if management responds to the auditor's letter, that response will follow the opinion.

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