As anyone who has ever tried to find an exhibit to an SEC filing that is incorporated by reference knows, it is not always easy or quick!

Help is on the way - yesterday, the SEC approved rule changes that will require companies to include a hyperlink to each exhibit (other than XBRL exhibits and certain other limited exemptions) in their filings' exhibit indexes. The rules will also require all filings to be in HTML format since ASCII format cannot support functional hyperlinks.

The final rules will take effect on September 1, 2017 (September 1, 2018 for smaller reporting companies and non-accelerated filers).