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Subject 3. Other Financial Information Sources

Financial Notes and Supplementary Schedules
Financial footnotes are an integral part of financial statements. They provide information about the accounting methods, assumptions and estimates used by management to develop the data reported in the financial statements. They provide additional disclosure in such areas as fixed assets, inventory methods, income taxes, pensions, debt, contingencies such as lawsuits, sales to related parties, etc. They are designed to allow users to improve assessments of the amounts, timing, and uncertainty of the estimates reported in the financial statements.

Supplementary Schedules: In some cases additional information about the assets and liabilities of a company is provided as supplementary data outside the financial statements. Examples include oil and gas reserves reported by oil and gas companies, the impact of changing prices, sales revenue, operating income, and other information for major business segments. Some of the supplementary data is unaudited.

Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A)

This requires management to discuss specific issues on the financial statements, and to assess the company's current financial condition, liquidity, and its planned capital expenditure for the next year. An analyst should look for specific concise disclosure as well as consistency with footnote disclosure.

Note that the MD&A section is not audited and is for public companies only.

Auditor's Reports

See next subject for details.

Other Sources of Information

  • Interim reports. Publicly held companies must file form 10-Q (interim report) on a quarterly basis. It is far less detailed than annual financial statements, as it contains unaudited basic financial statements, unaudited footnotes to financial statements, and management discussion and analysis.

  • Proxy statements. An analyst should look for litigation, executive compensation, and related-party transactions, known as proxy statements. Proxy statements should be considered an integral part of the financial report, and they may contain special compensation "perks" for officers and directors, as well as lawsuits and other contingent obligations facing the company.

  • Companies' websites, press releases, and conference calls.

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