Overview of the Securities and Exchange Commission

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has the mission of protecting investors by maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets. The SEC does this in a number of ways, and firms need to pay attention to these ways in order to ensure SEC compliance. The SEC has enforcement authority over a number of areas related to the nation's capital markets, including insider trading, accounting fraud, and providing false information. The SEC's jurisdiction extends to all securities that are traded publicly. Privately-held companies do not need to register with the SEC (SEC.gov, 2012). Any firms seeking to sell securities to the public needs to undergo the registration process, which includes among other things providing a description of the company's properties and businesses, a description of the security to be offered for sale, information about the management of the company and financial statements that have been certified by independent accountants (SEC.gov, 2012). There are a number of different reporting requirements that are needed to comply with the SEC. These include the provision of financial statements on a quarterly basis (10-Q) along with an annual report (10-K). These statements must adhere to a specific format that governs how financial statements are prepared, and how the information is presented. There are many sections to these forms that must be included. Moreover, the information must be accurate, and prepared to guidelines laid out in the Generally Accepted
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