What Is In a 10-K?

As most of you probably know, a form 10-K is the annual summary of a company’s performance that all public US companies (and some private ones or companies that trade on US exchanges even if they are based in another country) are required to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission every year.  The 10-K is similar to the annual report, but it focuses less on soothing copy  (i.e., the annual report letter to shareholders is typically useful primarily as kindling, with the exception of Berkshire Hathaway) and pictures for investors and more on hard information.  The filing is one of the best sources of information on a company, but it can be long and rather painful to go through.  I thought I’d write about what I find the most useful.

The sections of the document are always the same, so let’s walk through the main ones.  We’ll use Dun & Bradstreet, the big financial and business information provider, as an example to write about some concrete data points from their 2008 filing (the latest 10-K available since their each year’s filing most often comes out around March of the following year). Continue reading What Is In a 10-K?