Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for finance professionals and academics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I would like to write a program that takes as input a list of CIK/year/quarter entries. The program should iterate through the list and, for each entry, grab XBRL financial data from the SEC website for the given CIK/year/quarter combination.

I can decipher some parts of the SEC file structure, but not all. For example, post fixing Archives/edgar/data/1288776/11/ to the SEC base address gives a directory listing of all filings for the year 2011, for the company with CIK 1288776. Unfortunately I cannot make sense of the naming convention within this directory.

One way around this is to simply use the SEC's search tool. However, this requires that I use a web crawler and I would prefer to use ftp directly.

Can anyone clarify how accession numbers are assigned? How do others go about pulling financials from the SEC website?

share|improve this question

Look in


You can grab the compressed version too:


This will state what file you want.

For example, I want AOL's 10-K that was filed in the first quarter of 2012. So I download


After decompressing, I see that AOL's 10-K is available at

share|improve this answer
Could you please elaborate a bit more on this useful info? – Bob Hopez Oct 20 '13 at 5:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.