Volume 22, No. 4: 2012 Annual Reports: A Peek Inside


A peek inside the annual report is a peek inside the life of a company. With the volume of information contained in the annual report, it’s never “just a peek” – it becomes a catatonic stare if you’re not careful. Investors can’t pass up the chance to get an up-close glimpse of how the firm made its way in the world over the last twelve months – and how its managers allocate the capital entrusted to them by shareholders. Nor can they memorize every paragraph and fact contained in a 300-page 10-K. To get the most value out of each hour spent with the annual reports, investors have to develop a strategy of working on the best information they get only at this time of year.

March 1, 2013 should have been called “National Investors’ Day:” that was the 10-K filing deadline for the largest companies in the United States. It was a Friday, no less: all the 10-Ks you want for free, just in time for the weekend! Celebrate “National Investors’ Day” all month long, right up until Opening Day for baseball. In this report, we’ll go over some of the analyses you should make with some information that’s available only once a year, and review some of the annual report rituals worth repeating each year to help refresh your knowledge of a firm’s inner workings.

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