For those interested in fundamental analysis of publicly traded companies, it starts at one place: the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) EDGAR website.
Sure, you can find financial data in countless places, but only EDGAR has the original company filings, "right from the horse's mouth".
This is important, because financial data is often grouped and fitted into pre-existing models by data providers, which can skew the figures.
Additionally, a company's 10-K and 10-Q filings have invaluable information about the business operations, risks, and accounting techniques a company uses. The DEF 14A, better known as the proxy statement, is useful for learning about upper management and board members, their compensation, and insider ownership in the stock. And the various 8-K filings provide timely, important info about a variety of company developments.
Put simply, if you are not using EDGAR for stock research... you really aren't doing stock research!The SEC Site is Not Very Easy to Use
But, as is often the case with government websites, the SEC site... well it kinda sucks. Why?
1) The filings are just dumped in chronologically with no real organization.
2) You can only view one filing at a time... there is no aggregation of data.
3) Filings like 10-K's can be hundreds of pages long, and even something as simple as trying to find the financial statements can be like digging for a needle in a haystack. Finding the desired section is not always easy.
4) The filing text is printed in ridiculously small lettering. You can always zoom on a laptop, but trying to read these filings on an iPad (without a microscope) is almost impossible.
5) Without printing these huge documents, annotating them and taking notes is not possible with EDGAR.
Put simply, the SEC site is a treasure trove of information for investors, but could stand to be a lot easier to use.
But now, you can get the same data, organized and formatted much more efficiently, with a new FREE service.SEC Live - EDGAR Gets a Makeover
That new service is SEC Live. SEC Live takes the information from EDGAR, aggregates and organizes it, and formats it into a much more user-friendly and editable manner for company research.
I've been using SEC Live for a few weeks now, and wanted to share the list of things I like so much about it:
- Lets you follow a list of stocks, and notifies you whenever one of your stocks files a new form with the SEC.
- At a company level, neatly formats SEC filings for easy access to find what you are looking for. Organizes filings into fiscal year, type, etc.
- Great aggregation of financial statements. Instead of having to flip through several documents to get financial data, SEC Live organizes the actual filing data into quarterly and annual groupings.
- Filings are formatted for easy readability. Can now easily read them on an iPad!
- "Smart Views" allow you to quickly jump to important sections of a 10-K or 10-Q filing. Looking for the financial statements or the risks section? Just a click away, no searching needed.
- Ability to highlight, annotate, and add notes to any filing, and have them saved as part of your account.
- Maybe my favorite feature... the ability to download an Excel-compatible CSV file with the financial numbers.
- Oh, wait, no... my FAVORITE feature is that the service is 100% FREE!
In all honesty, I've been really impressed by SEC Live and easily recommend it over digging through EDGAR. The only one, minor complaint I have so far is that the quarterly financial statement organization leaves out Q4 numbers. If they can fix this, I'm not really sure what I would complain about.
SEC Live is a really great resource for investors and research analysts alike. Give it a try, I think you'll be impressed. It has replaced EDGAR in my search for the best stocks in Magic Formula® Investing.