Annual Meeting Definition

Annual meeting is a yearly gathering of a company's shareholders or stakeholders, where important corporate matters, financial performance, and future plans are discussed, and decisions are often voted upon.

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Do all companies hold an annual general meeting?

In the United States, most states require companies to hold an annual general meeting. Each state also has its own rules about:

  • What happens at the annual meeting 
  • Who attends
  • How the company notifies people of the meeting

The following legal entities commonly hold an annual general meeting:

  • Limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • Corporations
  • Partnerships

Schools, foundations, and other entities also hold some form of an annual general meeting.

Who attends an annual general meeting?

Directors, company officers, and shareholders attend an annual general meeting of a corporation. For an LLC’s annual meeting, managers, members, and those holding an interest in the LLC attend the meeting.

Specific players that attend an annual general meeting include:

  • President/CEO
  • Corporate officers
  • Financial officer/treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Shareholders
  • Directors
  • Managing members (if an LLC)
  • Members (if an LLC)
  • Membership interest holders (if an LLC)

Annual general meetings aren’t open to the public, meaning it’s an “invitation only” event. The number of people who attend the general meeting can vary greatly depending on the size of the company. For a small business, only a handful of people may be at the meeting. For mid-sized companies, the guest list can be in the double or triple digits. 

If a shareholder or voting member can’t attend the meeting, they may do something called “voting by proxy.” This refers to a voter appointing someone to attend the meeting and vote on their behalf. 

What happens at an annual general meeting?

A company’s annual general meeting is where the internal players meet to make important business decisions. What’s discussed at the meeting depends on the company bylaws or operating agreement. In addition, it depends on what unfinished business there is.

Typically, the parties carry out the following matters:

  • Voting on important company decisions
  • Presenting financial reports and projections
  • Election of board of directors
  • Company updates

The attendees also go over any unfinished business and anything else that the bylaws require them to do. 

Companies may also include networking and team building activities at the meeting. This can help build trust in the company and make shareholders feel welcome. 

Annual General Meeting Benefits

Annual general meeting advantages include:

  • Staying compliant with state laws about annual meetings
  • Keeping key players involved and up to date
  • Taking care of important voting matters
  • Informing key players about financial and tax updates
  • Voting for members of the board of directors or managing members

The only potential annual general meeting disadvantage is the cost. Most states require companies to hold this meeting, though. So the benefits usually outweigh the possible burdens. 

Summary

The annual general meeting is the yearly meeting of shareholders, upper management, and directors (or managing members) of a company. At the meeting, directors and management give financial and company updates. Shareholders also vote for members of the board of directors and vote on any other outstanding business. 

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Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.