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Financial Reporting Experts Urge The SEC To Improve EDGAR In Several Key Ways

Merrill Disclosure Solutions | September 23, 2015


In a comment letter to the SEC, representatives of four prominent organizations involved in financial reporting set forth several ways in which the SEC can improve the EDGAR filings database. The SEC could adopt the recommendations now, without resorting to rulemaking, according to the letter's three authors: Cynthia Fornelli (Center for Audit Quality), Tom Quaadman (Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness in the US Chamber of Commerce), and Paul Chase (Financial Executives International and Business Roundtable). The suggested enhancements focus on the search feature in EDGAR and on the presentation of search results. For example, consolidate search options on one page rather than on multiple screens; show companies and their ticker symbols predictively while the user is typing, which would help to narrow company searches; expand form search choices, giving users the ability to select more than one form type and to search for form item numbers. The comment letter also suggests that company search results be sortable in various ways (e.g., by form type or by form series); that all exhibits of a company be accessible from one screen (so users need not seek out each filing separately); and that every filing have an outline or navigation tool, letting users move quickly between different sections or exhibits. The authors add that these tweaks “would only be an incremental first step in the SEC's EDGAR Modernization initiative.”

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