Analyzing Concept Used to Report Revenues by SIC
Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 07:25AM
Charlie in Creating Investor Friendly SEC XBRL Filings

This is one of the more interesting analysis reports that I have put together, a summary of the concept used to report revenues by a filer, sorting the filers by SIC.

So here is the synopsis.  Of the 5525 SEC XBRL filings I am looking at, 4538 (82%) used one of these 10 concepts to report revenue:

That leaves 942 filers which either used some other concept, created an extension concept, or did not have any revenues.

So, the fact that one third of all filers used "us-gaap:Revenues" makes an important point.  Are all those more detailed breakdowns of revenue more helpful or does it cause problems suchs as having to figure out WHICH concept was used to report revenue.  By contrast, imagine if every industry had their own concept for assets or broke down assets by industry; us-gaap:RealEstateAssets, us-gaap:OilAndGasAssets, us-gaap:RegulatedAndUnregulatedOperationsAssets, us-gaap:HealthCareOrganizationAssets.  Is that helpful or unhelpful?

If you go through the breakdown of which concept was used by industry (the SIC), one would expect to see some patterns of usage of specific concepts by industry.  But I don't really see any real patterns that stand out.

For example, go look at SIC 1311 CRUDE PETROLEUM & NATURAL GAS.

I predict that filers will look at the concepts being used by other filers and they will likely make adjustments to which concept they are reporting.  Perhaps the SEC may provide additional guidance to create more consistency, perhaps not. Software algorithms can certainly figure this stuff out and give those analyzing the data what they need, but writing those algorithms will be costly and therefore not everyone will benefit from those adjusted sets of information.

From what I have seen, the reporting of revenues has more variability than any other area of an SEC XBRL financial filing that I have looked at.  I would suspect cost of revenues to be in the same boat.

Article originally appeared on Intelligent XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting using US GAAP and IFRS (http://xbrl.squarespace.com/).
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