SEC requirements make it a lot easier to get real financial data at no cost about any United States companies that are publicly traded. The SEC is supposed to make sure that publicly traded companies publish significant information about the company to help U.S. investors and watch for fraud. To do this, the SEC requires the following information on any publicly traded company be released at least annually: * A description of the company's properties and business. * A description of securities to be offered for sale. * Information about the management of the company. * Quarterly and annual financial statements certified by independent accountants. It's not impossible to get similar numbers from a private company. But since the SEC requires these details about publicly traded United States companies be made available to anyone for free, it's a lot easier to get the details without having to pay a commercial business information provider to do it for you.