Reading 10-Ks is one of the best methods for doing research on a company before you consider investing in them. All great investors will read a company’s 10-Ks, 10-Qs, as well as proxy statements, in order to get a deeper insight into the operations of the company, the management running the company, and the financial position the company is in. No other document can provide better insight into a publicly traded company than a 10-K.
What is a 10-K
Every year publicly traded companies are required to file what is called Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The report gives a detailed overview of the company including what the company does, how they make money, the biggest risks that the company is facing, as well as detailed information on their financial position.
Why read a 10-K
Reading 10-Ks is an important part of understanding how a company operates and deciding if it is going to be a good investment or not. While they are extremely long and take a lot of time to read, the information that can be gathered from them is invaluable.
Information such as:
Coca-Cola sells 1.9 billion servings every single day
Walmart employs over 2.1 million people
Progressive spends $1 billion on advertising every year
and much more information can all be found within 10-K reports.
How to find a 10-K
There are two primary ways to find a company’s 10-K.
The second option (and my preferred method) is to go to the company's website under their investor relations tab where you will see a section titled “SEC Filings”. From there you can filter to see a list of just the Annual Filings where you can choose to download the 10-K in a number of different formats, but PDF is usually the best for printing.
The first time you read a 10-K you most likely won't make it through the whole thing (reading a 200 page report in one shot is not easy). However, keep reading the reports until you can make it through an entire one and you’ll be shocked at how much information you learn and how beneficial that information is to your investment results.