Toward Semantic Model of Financial Reporting
Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 01:41PM
Charlie in Creating Investor Friendly SEC XBRL Filings, Modeling Business Information Using XBRL

Over the past several days I have been undertaking a fascinating review of a set of 5525 SEC XBRL financial filings for the purposes of (a) better understanding the semantic model of financial reports and (b) to see how SEC XBRL filings adhere to that model.

This is what I have found for those 5525, all 10-Q and 10-K SEC XBRL filings:

Now, what is even more interesting is that 3,170 (57%) have a combination of all of the characteristics which I was looking for in that bulleted list!  There were 21 different "generators" of this set of SEC XBRL financial filings.

What does this mean?  Well, to me it means a few things.  First, for where we are in the SEC XBRL reporting game, this is pretty impressive in terms of quality particularly considering the large group of those creating this XBRL. If all 3,170 of these were from one source that would be significantly different than from this much larger source of these filings.  Second, while my models were simpler, the model is expanding in complexity but not by a lot really.  Third, there is definitely a leveragable semantic model peering out from that set of 5,525 SEC financial filings.

My next step is to drill into the cash flow statement one more level, which will be rather easy.  After that I will tackle the income statement which be more of a challenge as there is very little consistent upper level structure to leverage.  Or said better, it may be that there is more variety so it is harder to detect the patterns.  Or another way of looking at it is that a bottom up approach may be superior to a top down approach.  We shall see.

The individual disclosures are a bit of a different story, but how to handle them is beginning to reveal itself.

Article originally appeared on Intelligent XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting using US GAAP and IFRS (http://xbrl.squarespace.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.