Analyzing SEC Filings

A great way to polish your business plan or predict the strategic intent of key players is analyzing SEC filings. 10K reports present a yearly review of a company’s performance while 10Q filings go over quarterly performance. By law, public US corporations are required to disclose material information in a constant and timely fashion, so these reports are always interesting to read and contain good insights.

SEC Live is a free tool that lets you navigate SEC filings and learn about key financial metrics in the process. While it lacks powerful comparison tools, SEC Live is great to familiarize yourself with the financials of the major players in your industry. You can also pick your favorite companies, save notes and highlight key details for later retrieval. Here’s a sample 10Q filing from Apple, Inc.:


A comprehensive report of a company’s performance that must be submitted quarterly by all public companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the 10-Q, firms are required to disclose relevant information regarding their financial position. The form must be submitted on time, and the information should be available to all interested parties.


The 10-Q is due 35 days (it used to be 45 days) after each of the first three fiscal quarters. There is no filing after the fourth quarter because that is when the 10-K is filed.

10-K = Yearly
10-Q = Quarterly

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Reading 10Q and 10K filings on a quarterly basis can help you understand where your industry is going before uneducated competitors. Additionally, the comments and definitions present in the report can help you learn about finance and discover key industry trends if you take the time to compare and contrast key ratios with their historic figures.

How to Read Annual Reports