Recommendations could help SEC improve EDGAR database

By Ken Tysiac

The SEC can make certain improvements to its EDGAR company filings database in the near term and without the need for SEC rulemaking, according to a joint comment letter filed Friday by a consortium of organizations, including the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ).

The CAQ, which is affiliated with the AICPA, filed the letter along with Business Roundtable, Financial Executives International, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. The letter provides recommendations on the SEC’s EDGAR Modernization Initiative.

A two-phased approach developed by the organizations would initially focus on consolidating and updating current search features by improving their visibility and organization. A second phase would focus on additional enhancements to EDGAR, which would include improvements to the company search page, filings detail screen, output functionality, and interactive data functionality.

The recommendations would be a first step in the SEC’s efforts to modernize EDGAR. Recommended improvements include:

  • Showing all available search options on one consolidated search page, rather than on multiple screens.
  • Making company searches easier by adding the ability to have companies and their related ticker symbols appear, while the user is typing, to help narrow the search.
  • Expanding form search options, including the ability to click multiple form types and the ability to search form item numbers.
  • Improving the company search results page by adding the ability to sort results in multiple ways, such as by form type or form series.
  • Adding the capability of accessing all of a company’s exhibits from one screen rather than having to go into individual company filings, with a way to identify which exhibits have been amended. Also, enhancing the ability to use a search engine across the exhibits.
  • Creating an outline or a navigation panel to allow more users to jump to different sections or exhibits within a company filing.

Ken Tysiac (ktysiac@aicpa.org) is a JofA editorial director.

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