Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operation, commonly referred to as MD&A is an integral parts of annual (Form 10-K) and quarterly (Form 10-Q) reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). MD&A is also included in registration statements filed under both the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Form 10) and Securities Act of 1933 (Form S-1). MD&A requires the most input and effort from officers and directors of a company and due to the many components of required information, often generates SEC review and comments. Item 303 of Regulation S-K sets forth the required content for MD&A.
A MD&A discussion for quarterly reports on Form 10-Q is abbreviated from the requirements for annual reports on Form 10-K and registration statements. Although quarterly reports must discuss each item enumerated below the discussion is expected to be more focused concentrating on the most relevant and material items. In addition, as with my other blogs, this discussion will be limited to the requirements for small public companies (i.e. those with revenues of less than $75 million).
The SEC has issued guidance and interpretation on MD&A, which is helpful in understanding its required content. Pursuant to the SEC, MD&A has three primary purposes. These are:
• to provide a narrative explanation of a company’s financial statements that enables investors to see the company through the eyes of management;
• to enhance the overall financial disclosure and provide the context within which financial information should be analyzed; and
• to provide information about the quality of, and potential variability of, a company’s earnings and cash flow, so that investors can ascertain the likelihood that past performance is indicative of future performance.
Management, and company counsel, should keep these purposes in mind in drafting and finalizing MD&A. The content should not be overly technical, but neither should it be a forum for marketing content. Now, onto the specific MD&A requirements as set forth in Item 303 of Regulation S-K.
In each annual report on Form 10-K, and registration statements on either Forms 10 or S-1, a company must discuss its financial condition, changes in financial condition and results of operations. In addition to the four areas of discussion listed below, a company must include any other relevant information within its knowledge, which information provides a better or more complete understanding of their finances and financial condition. The four areas of financial discussion include:
A company must identify any known trends or known demands, commitments, events or uncertainties that will result in or reasonably could result in an increase or decrease in liquidity. In addition, a company must identify sources and uses of liquidity and any known changes thereto. Explanations of the information provided is required. In layman terms, liquidity is a discussion of sources of cash and uses of cash, and factors that could change or impact either, both as reflected in the financial period covered by the subject report, and for the future. Although not all inclusive, the discussion, at a minimum, should address all items included in the statement of cash flows provided as part of the financial statements. This item, together with the second area of discussion, capital resources, are considered so important the SEC has issued an interpretive release addressing these two areas separately from the rest of MD&A.
A discussion of capital resources includes all material commitments for capital expenditures, the purpose and the source of funds for these commitments. This would include outstanding debts and obligations and simply put, where the money will come from to pay them. In addition, capital resources include a discussion of trends, favorable and unfavorable, that could impact capital resources. An obvious example would be a change in government regulation directly related to the company’s business.
Results of operations include four areas of discussion: (i) unusual or infrequent events that have impacted on a company’s financial condition. An example would be a discontinuance of a specific product line, or sale of company subsidiary. (ii) trends that could have an impact on sales or revenues or income in general, including trends impacting costs and expenses; (iii) a narrative discussion of increases or decreases in sale or revenues; and (iv)impact of inflation and other external financial conditions.
Off balance sheet arrangements have gained notoriety as a result of the recent economic turmoil caused by the mortgage scandal. An off balance sheet arrangement is any arrangement that could have an impact on a balance sheet, the most obvious example being a guarantee of a third party’s obligation. Accordingly, if a company has such an arrangement to report, they are required to provide a detailed analysis including the potential impact and relative importance of the arrangement.
Attorney Laura Anthony,
Founding Partner, Legal & Compliance, LLC
Securities, Reverse Mergers, Corporate Transactions
Securities attorney Laura Anthony provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size public Companies as well as private Companies intending to go public on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB), now known as the OTCQB. For more than a decade Ms. Anthony has dedicated her securities law practice towards being “the big firm alternative.” Clients receive fast and efficient cutting-edge legal service without the inherent delays and unnecessary expense of “partner-heavy” securities law firms.
Ms. Anthony’s focus includes but is not limited to compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (“Exchange Act”) including Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K and the proxy requirements of Section 14. In addition, Ms. Anthony prepares private placement memorandums, registration statements under both the Exchange Act and Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”). Moreover, Ms. Anthony represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse mergers and forward mergers, including preparation of deal documents such as Merger Agreements, Stock Purchase Agreements, Asset Purchase Agreements and Reorganization Agreements. Ms. Anthony prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of the Exchange Act, state law and FINRA for corporate changes such as name changes, reverse and forward splits and change of domicile.
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Laura Anthony, Attorney
Legal & Compliance, LLC
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