Weighing in on an ongoing effort to modernize Securities and Exchange Commission’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval filing system, business groups have teamed up  to share their thoughts on improvements that can be made in the near-term, without the need for SEC rulemaking, and prior to more substantial enhancements. The suggestions were detailed in a comment letter submitted to the SEC on Friday by the Business Roundtable, Center for Audit Quality, Financial Executives International, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness.

The group’s placed their focus on consolidating and updating current EDGAR search features by improving their visibility and organization. Among the recommendations:

Show all available search options on one consolidated search page, rather than multiple screens.

Make company searches easier by adding the ability to have companies and their related ticker symbols appear, while the user is typing, to help narrow the search.

Expand form search options, including the ability to click multiple form types and ability to search form item numbers.

Improve the company search results page by adding the ability to sort results in multiple ways, such as by form type or form series.

Add the capability of accessing all of a company’s exhibits from one screen rather than having to go into individual company filings, with a way to identify which exhibits have been amended. Also, enhance the ability to use a search engine across the exhibits.

Highlight existing search options more clearly for users from www.sec.gov main page.

Add a “save search to favorites” link or button to save customized searches.

Add a date range search option.

When viewing specific documents, create an outline or a navigation panel (e.g., on the left side of the screen) to allow users to jump to different sections or exhibits within a filing instead of going back to table of contents or filing detail page. Some preparers do use hyperlinks in some of their filings to help facilitate navigating the document, but most do not, the groups note.

Add functionality that allows users to download financial information in MS Excel over a period of time and have the ability to convert/download filings to Adobe and MS Word for printing and enhanced readability.

When performing a company search, the letter suggests adding the  ability for the parent company to come up first in search results. Currently, a company search, brings up a list of all company affiliates registered under Section 12(b) or (g) and the parent company may be far down on the list. It could either be identified through a flag, XML tag, or through the company ticker symbol identified on the search page.