Fundamental Accounting Concept Relations

This page summarizes information related to the fundamental accounting concept relations of US GAAP financial reports. This is a summary of important information:

  • Machine-readable metadata: (New, pure XBRL metadata form)
  • Human-readable metadata: (Old metadata form, but human readable information is the same)
  • Examples: The normalized queries created by 28msec leverage the NEW, pure XBRL metadata.
  • Current validation results: Summarizes the most current validation results of XBRL-based public company financial filings to the SEC.
  • Understanding and fixing errors: Provides information related to detecting and correcting common mistakes when creating XBRL-based digital financial reports.
  • Documentation: Provides documentation which is helpful in understanding the fundamental accounting concept relations.

Professional accountants understand that financial reports are not forms that companies fill in.  However, financial reports are uniform.  Different economic entities use different reporting styles and the relations between the fundamental line items reported change based on which reporting style an economic entity uses.

The best way to understand reporting styles is to understand the most common reporting styles.  Of the approximately 6,500 public companies that report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, about 90% of those companies use only 10 different reporting styles. Here are the most common reporting styles which cover about 75% of all economic entities that report to the SEC:

You can explore all the reporting styles here. Or here.

You will notice the funky looking codes above.  Those codes have meaning and tell you the characteristics of a reporting style.  This resource helps you understand the codes.  Here is an example of the codes using the breakdown of different balance sheet styles:

  • Balance sheet
    • Classified balance sheet (BSC)
    • Classified balance sheet, alterntive where fixed assets is reported (BSN)
    • Unclassified balance sheet (BSU)
    • Liquidation basis of reporting balance sheet (BSL)
    • Balance sheet of a regulated public utility (BSR)

Those are the basics, more information will be provided soon.

The fundamental accounting concept relations are not only good for verifying that financial reports were created correctly, they are very useful for querying information from a financial report also.  Here is a prototype information extraction tool you can download.