Our 10-K Cheat Sheet: How to Speed Read a Company's Annual Report

Make short work of a long form by focusing on these seven points.

It's like Silas Marner -- long and boring and nobody wants to read it. But if you're a serious investor, you need to review a company's Form 10-K. The 10-K is an annual summary of operations required by securities regulators. "It's where the buck stops," says David Brady, a Geneva, Ill., money manager. "There's no sugarcoating. No hype. Just what the company does, its products and how it makes money."

The good news? You don't have to read every word. In fact, smart investors focus on a few key sections for red flags -- and skim the rest.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Kathy Kristof
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kristof, editor of SideHusl.com, is an award-winning financial journalist, who writes regularly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and CBS MoneyWatch. She's the author of Investing 101, Taming the Tuition Tiger and Kathy Kristof's Complete Book of Dollars and Sense. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is that she was once a Jeopardy question: Kathy Kristof replaced what famous personal finance columnist, who died in 1991? Answer: Sylvia Porter.