What Is The Form 10-K?

What Is The Form 10-K?

The U.S. stock market is home to thousands of sought-after companies that offer their shares to local and international investors. This increases the demand for transparency in terms of financial performance, as well as governance-related issues.

For this reason, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, enforces regulations and compliance rules and reporting standards for every public company to adhere to if they wish to trade their shares continuously on one of the major stock exchanges in the world, such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. 

The Form 10-K is a comprehensive annual report filed by publicly traded companies with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The form provides a detailed overview of a company's financial performance and operations.

Shareholders and analysts use this information to assess the financial health of the company, as well as evaluate its strategic direction and long-term commitments. 

This data is incredibly important and accurately filing the Form 10-K is essential for the United States stock market to function properly. 

If you are a beginner trader and would like to know more about the information included in the Form 10-K, this Investfox guide is for you. 

What Is Included In Form 10-K?

As already mentioned, the Form 10-K consists of comprehensive financial statements from a specific fiscal accounting year of the filing company and this information is made public at the same date every year. 

Failing to file the form in due time results in harsh financial penalties from the SEC and a continuous failure to do so will result in delisting of the company’s shares. 

Some of the most important pieces of information included in the Form 10-K include:

  • Business Overview: Describes products, services, markets, and the competitive landscape, offering insights into the company's core operations
  • Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A): Provides a narrative overview, discussing financial results, operational achievements, and future expectations
  • Financial Statements: Includes the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement, offering a snapshot of the company's financial performance and position
  • Risk Factors: Highlights potential challenges related to market conditions, operations, and regulatory aspects
  • Corporate Governance: Covers the board structure and executive compensation, revealing the company's governance practices
  • Legal Proceedings: Addresses ongoing litigation and potential legal or regulatory liabilities
  • Forward Guidance: This may include a brief overview of future operational objectives and strategic milestones

All of the above are key data points that analysts and investors use to assess the health and direction of a particular public company to then decide whether the company will be able to achieve its short and long-term objectives as things stand in the present. 

Form 10-K Example - Apple Inc

To better understand how a Form 10-K works and what is included in it, let’s look at the form filed by one of the most sought-after public companies and the largest stock in the world - Apple Inc (AAPL):

apple 10k cover.png

The form includes vital accounting statements, such as the income statement, balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows, which show the revenues, expenses, net income, assets, liabilities, equity, and the movement of cash resources in and out of the business. 

Prospective and existing shareholders of Apple Inc can use this information to see what the current state of the company is and what the forward-looking statements point out as the risks and opportunities facing Apple in the future. 

The Form 10-K is typically filed annually with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Companies, such as Apple, must submit their 10-K within 60 to 90 days after the end of their fiscal year.

Key Takeaways From What Is The Form 10-K

  • The Form 10-K is an annual report filed by public companies that includes financial statements, corporate governance information, and forward-looking statements, among many more 
  • The Form 10-K is typically filed 60 or 90 days after the end of the fiscal year of a company’s accounting period and is filed with the SEC
  • Public companies are obligated to file Form 10-K to maintain their spot on major exchanges, as the SEC upholds strict financial transparency regulations 

FAQ On Form 10-K

What is included in the Form 10-K?

The Form 10-K includes a company's audited financial statements, management discussion and analysis, business overview, risk factors, information on corporate governance, legal proceedings, and other pertinent details, providing a comprehensive view of its financial health and operations.

Who files the Form 10-K?

Publicly traded companies in the United States, including those listed on stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ, are required to file the Form 10-K. This filing is mandated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

When do companies file Form 10-K?

Companies typically file Form 10-K annually with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The filing deadline is within 60 to 90 days after the end of the company's fiscal year.