The SEC's EDGAR online database offers free public access to corporate information. If you're an investor, EDGAR's search engine is a handy tool for researching a company through its filed company documents with the SEC.
Step 1: Go to the EDGAR website Go to the EDGAR website at SEC.gov. Learn about EDGAR, the SEC's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system. Public domestic companies are required by law to file certain forms with the SEC.
Step 2: Read EDGAR Guide Read the EDGAR Guide for Investors for an overview of available information. For example, a registration statement includes descriptions of a company's properties, securities for sale, management info, and financial statements.
TIP: Company disclosure filings can also include comments and response letters from government agencies.
Step 3: Try Full-Text search Try EDGAR's "Next-Generation" Full-Text search engine for company filings from the past four years. Enter a company name for a simple search, or do a more focused search by clicking on the "Advanced Search" option.
Step 4: Read FAQ Read the FAQ for advanced full-text searches. If the FAQ doesn't answer your questions, send an e-mail to the address provided on the site for personalized help.
Step 5: Try an advanced search Try an advanced full-text search. With this option, you can search for broader company info by selecting a Standard Industrial Classification, such as Forestry or Bakery Production. You can also search for specifics via Central Index Key, or CIK, numbers.
TIP: CIK numbers are given to companies and individuals by the SEC.
Step 6: Use the earlier search engine Use the earlier generation EDGAR search engine for company electronic filings made as far back as 1994. This engine is keyword based and has less focus than the concept based Full-Text search engine. Soon, you'll have all the information you need to make wise investment decisions.
FACT: EDGAR began collecting electronic company filing information on a voluntary basis in 1984, long before the World Wide Web.