Breaking Down XBRL-based Financial Reports
Friday, May 11, 2018 at 08:58AM
Charlie in Creating Investor Friendly SEC XBRL Filings

I am analyzing the last 10-K of each of 5,734 public companies that submitted financial reports to the SEC as of March 31, 2018.  This number of filings "5,734" differs from the two sets of that I measured in my quarterly analysis of public company reports.

My analysis of the fundamental accounting concept relations is for the LAST REPORT FILED and that last report could be a 10-K or a 10-Q. That total is 5,856.  The reason I use the last report filed is because fundamental accounting concept relations could have been fixed since the companies last 10-K. (Here is a comparison of fundamental accounting concept relations measurements for the past three years.)

My analysis of the reporting checklist and disclosure mechanics is for the LAST 10-K reported, but when I ran that analysis XBRL Cloud was inadvertenly including 272 funds and trusts in that list which I did not want to work with, so that total is 6,006. (Here is a summary of the reporting checklist and disclosure mechanics measurements which I just started in March 2018.)

But for the analysis I am doing now I am working with the 5,734 10-Ks of public companies as of March 31, 2018.

Here is some information about that set of 5,734 XBRL-based financial reports.

In those 5,734 10-K financial reports there were 311,000 text blocks reported using concepts from the US GAAP XBRL Taxonomy.  There were about 964 different text blocks that fell into three SEC/FASB categories:

I am not analysing the Level 4 Disclosure Detail here. I compare Level 4 Disclosure Detail and Level 3 Disclosure Text Blocks here.

What I am doing here is to compare how public companies use specific text blocks.  Here is information about those text blocks:

What is very useful about these comparisons is that you can see how different public companies use these text blocks. I did a specific analysis of the Level 3 Disclosure text block related to the disclosure of the components of property, plant, and equipment.  See the full comparison here. Here are some individual observations:

  1. Most public companies use the text block "us-gaap:PropertyPlantAndEquipmentTextBlock" to represent the components of PPE which tends to look like this.
  2. A good chunk of public companies include the estimated useful lives of each category of PPE in that text block, which tends to look like this.
  3. A small minority use that text block to disclose ONLY the estimated useful lives of PPE categories.
  4. A small minority include depreciation expense AND the breakdown of PPE components.
  5. A minority include PPE components in their PPE policy text block.

Clearly all of these four cannot be considered correct.  My personal view is that #1 is correct.  #2 should be broken down into TWO separate disclosures in my view; one for the roll up of PPE components and another for the estimated useful lives.  #3 clearly cannot be considered correct, it does not match what most public companies do and it does not match the documentation of the text block.  #5 likewise is clearly not correct, PPE components go into the level 3 disclosure text block not the policy.

What causes these sort of issues is a "presentation" orientation when thinking about how to represent these disclosures.  If a "representation" of information orientation were taken, how things should be represented becomes more clear.

What do you think?  More analysis coming, so stay tuned.

Article originally appeared on Intelligent XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting using US GAAP and IFRS (
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