If they can do it, others can too…

March 2, 2004

So many Ks came out yesterday that it was hard to pick which one to look at first. At this time of year, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelemed and feel as if you’re drowning in an ocean of 8-point type. The key, of course, is to take your time and start with one company, preferably one that has good disclosure. Which is exactly what the 10-K filed yesterday by General Electric (GE) has. By starting out with a note that provides a road-map to its financials, Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt and CFO Keith Sherin help to reassure scandal-wary investors. And the MD&A, which in the past, has typically been a straight regurgitation of the numbers, provides lots of helpful information for GE’s investors seeking more insight into the company’s relatively complex financials. It’s a huge sea-change from years past at GE and pretty different from the way most other companies are handling thier Ks. “High quality financial reporting is an excellent measure of a company and its management,” Immelt and Sherin note in their letter. Agreed. Now, if only more companies would only follow suit.

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