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Updated Fundamental Accounting Concept Relations Metadata

I have updated the publicly available fundamental accounting concept relations metadata. This metadata is not as straight forward as I would like it to be; but it does work.  This metadata is want drives the public company quality measurements that I make available each month.  Anyone who has the intellectual curiously to dig deeper into how all that works can do so by analyzing this metadata.  All the information you need to know is available.

Now, this is important.  While this information is very good, the technical organization of the information is not.  My current organization is too hard to maintain and I know of better ways to organize this now that I understand what I am working with.  I explained this here and here.  Besides, I don't want two approaches to doing the same thing; and so I am going to refactor the fundamental accounting concept relations metadata.  The goal is to make it pure XBRL, easier to maintain, and one approach that works for both the primary financial statements and the disclosures.

Here is a summary of the mistakes that I made:

  • I represented the impute rules in fairly easy to use proprietary format; but they can be represented in global standard XBRL Formula and then can be better organized to make maintenance 80% easier.
  • The notion of a "report frame code" is not necessary.  For example, consider the code "COMID-BSC-CF1-ISM-IEMIB-OILY-SPEC6".  If only one of the pieces changes, I have to create an entirely new code and therefore you get far too many permutations/combinations to manage.  Which reporting style a filing uses can be dynamically determined using software and therefore the codes are not necessary.  But to do that, a more sophisticated process must be used which is beyond my programming skill level.
  • The mapping rules are expressed in XBRL using XBRL definition relations which is good; but the rules are grouped by report frame code and they should be grouped by network.
  • As I mentioned in this blog post, I have only moved 91.4% of all filers (that is 6,158 of public companies) to more specific reporting styles as opposed to general reporting styles.  I still need to move the remaining 8.6% (that is 577 public companies).  Being more specific is better because it makes the impute rules easier to create.
  • Finally, I need to organize the information along the lines of how disclosures are organized because the primary financial statements and disclosures are really the same thing: pieces of a financial report.

And so, if you are going to use any of these ideas (which I would encourage); don't repeat the same mistakes that I made!  Learn from my mistakes.

More and more people are complaining about the quality of XBRL-based public company financial reports to the SEC. It is only a matter of time before public companies feel more pressure to get their XBRL formated information correctly dialed in.

Posted on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 03:22PM by Registered CommenterCharlie in | CommentsPost a Comment

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