When it comes to how the public keeps publicly traded companies accountable, there is much to consider. Long story short, an SEC filing is a legal way to accomplish that.

What is an SEC filing?

An SEC filing is a form submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which requires public businesses to fill out to maintain operational transparency. 

There are several types of forms that businesses may need to submit.

data rooms for SEC filing

SEC filing forms

From annual reports to special occasions, the SEC has a form to document these events. Here is a list of filings that a public company may be required to submit:

  • Form 10-K This is a company’s comprehensive annual report. Usually filled between 60-90 days after year-end, it details the variety of operations a business has undertaken. It is an incredibly complex statement—more specific and inclusive than the investor’s annual report. 
  • Form 10-Q This is a corporation’s quarterly report and captures the range of operations and financial health for the prior three-month period. Investors and analysts utilize this data to track the company’s performance and to establish if the company is a worthwhile investment. 
  • Form 8-K If there is a major event in the lifespan of the company, a Form 8-K needs to be submitted. This document discloses to the public any material changes in assets, earnings, stock adjustments, bankruptcies, or changes in management, etc
  • Forms 3, 4, and 5 Those forms are filed by corporate insiders, such as executives, directors, or investors owning at least 10% of the company. These documents detail purchases, sales, and holdings of company stock. Form 3 is an ownership statement, Form 4 is filed when ownership changes, and Form 5 is a yearly update to Form 4
  • Form 144 If a company officer, executive, other insider plans to sell more than 5000 shares or execute a trade valued at more than $50,000 over the next 3-month period, the SEC requires public notification. 
  • Form S-1 A company wishing to issue new shares is required to petition and register notice with the SEC. It illustrates the financial health of the company and details its operations. This form includes how many shares will be made available to the public and what kind of risk is associated with them. 
  • Form S-3 If the company is unable to issue shares to the public on the date they announced, Form S-3 needs to be filled out. It is an update for the interested parties. 
  • Form S-8 Some companies like to reward their employees with company stock options as part of their compensation package. To provide these benefits, the SEC requires the business to file Form S-8 to register the shares. 
  • Schedule 13D Anytime an individual or group of investors acquire over 5% of a company’s stock shares, and thus voting shares, a Schedule 13D needs to be filled out within ten (10) days of the event. It includes information about the buyer and the source of his funds. 

How can data rooms help?

As you have probably noticed, there are many things to keep in mind when you want to complete an SEC filing. There are virtual data room solutions that give a helping hand to businesses that find the process overwhelming.

Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN) specializes in SEC filings, and through their ActiveDisclosure software, they optimize the process to ensure that you file all of the necessary SEC forms. 

Advanced virtual data room solutions bundled with outstanding technical support will help you with everything connected to your SEC documentation.

Conclusion

A public company is legally obligated to keep the public informed about business dealings. Commissions like the SEC require notification to track such business operations so investors can make informed and sound investment decisions. Filing all of the forms may be burdensome and time-consuming, but with the help of virtual data room solutions, it is possible to do that without altering the workflow of the company.

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