What is an Annual Report?

Annual reports are published by publicly-traded companies to educate current and potential stockholders about company activities and performance. They contain discussions of the previous year's activities, plans for the coming year(s), and financial data. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that companies distribute annual reports to their shareholders. Annual Reports are also available freely to the public for most U.S. companies that offer stock.


The Differences between an Annual Report, a 10-K, and a Proxy

Companies file a variety of documents relating to their financial and operating activities. This section provides a brief introduction to the most sought after filings.


Filing Name Purpose & Content
10-K The official annual financial document that companies file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The 10-K contains detailed financial statements and financial footnotes. While it does not contain charts, photos, or graphics, it does contain more information than the typical annual report. It is particularly useful for accounting research or for very specific information.
Annual Report The official document companies distribute annually to shareholders. Annual reports include financial statements and highlights and a management discussion of the previous year. Companies often also add in some graphs and photos to give the document a more polished appearance. The annual report is briefer and easier to read and understand than the 10-K. It is a nice document for researchers to start with, particularly those just trying to get an overview of the company. It includes charts and other images which sometimes contain critical information.
Proxy A filing that contains items on which shareholders vote at corporate annual meetings. Executive compensation, for example, is usually contained within proxy statements.


Note: Edgar's descriptions of SEC forms explains the contents and requirements of each SEC filing and discusses the various situations in which a company needs to file.


Annual Reports & Filings Available via the Library


Date Location Type of Filings Information
Current reports and filings Company website Sometimes finding the most recent annual reports and filings is a easy as searching the Web for a company's investor relations webpage.

ProQuest Historical Annual Reports


Mergent Archives

Thousands of annual reports from more than 800 leading North American companies available online in PDF format.
Current reports and filings Capital IQ Annual Reports, 10-Ks, and proxy statements as well other Edgar filings, extracted financials in spreadsheet format, and more.
1996/1997-Present Mergent Online Annual Reports, 10-Ks, and proxy statements as well other Edgar filings, extracted financials in spreadsheet format, and more.
1996-Present EDGAR U.S. regulartory agency system for retreiving most filings of publicly traded companies.
Current reports PRARS The Public Register provides free annual reports of public companies trading on the NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, and OTC exchanges.
1971-1995 Ask for assistance 10-Ks, Annual Reports, and proxies from OTC, NYSE, & AMEX companies in microfiche format.
Pre-1971 Ask for assistance Covering 1953 - 1970, the library has a collection of annual reports on microcard available at the Annex and for delivery to libraries on-campus. A listing is available for download on eCommons.
Varies Annual Reports at Academic Business Libraries Purdue's Annual Reports at Academic Business Libraries database indexes the annual report collections of the following universities: Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Purdue, Stanford, University of Alabama, UC Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, University of Western Ontario, Yale, and SIBL.
2001-Present EDINET Electronic Disclosure for Investors NETwork contains filings and financials for Japanese companies (website is in Japanese.)
varies Guidestar Annual filings of non-profits to the IRS.
1997-Present SEDAR Annual and interim financial statements, compliance reports, and proxies for Canadian companies.