Every day, in­vest­ment pro­fes­sion­als parse through cor­po­rate fi­nan­cial re­ports, down­load se­lected num­bers, plug those num­bers into their cal­cu­la­tions, and then buy, sell, or hold based on the re­sults. For decades, large data aggregators have pro­vided cor­po­rate fi­nan­cial data to meet investment pro­fes­sion­als' need for numbers. Typ­i­cally, a data ven­dor employs many an­a­lysts to read fi­nan­cial re­ports and clas­sify the line items accord­ing to the ven­dor's Chart of Accounts.

In­creas­ingly, these ven­dors have be­gun us­ing tech­no­log­i­cal tools to "read" the finan­cial re­ports and clas­sify certain num­bers au­to­mat­i­cally, reserv­ing an­a­lysts' time and at­ten­tion for more dif­fi­cult clas­si­fi­ca­tions. How­ever, even with the introduc­tion of au­toma­tion, these ven­dors still formulate their clas­si­fi­ca­tions, whether ma­chine- or hu­man-gen­er­ated. These data ven­dors' main prod­uct is their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of what the numbers in a fi­nan­cial state­ment mean.

Meet XBRL - the Global Standard for Digital Reporting

In 2009, the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion made a cru­cial change. The SEC mandated that U.S. pub­lic com­pa­nies file their fi­nan­cial state­ments in the eX­ten­si­ble Busi­ness Re­port­ing Lan­guage (XBRL) for­mat. Un­der this re­quire­ment, cor­po­rate fil­ers turn their fi­nan­cial state­ments into XBRL doc­u­ments or in­stances. In an XBRL in­stance, fil­ers themselves use electronic tags to in­di­vid­u­ally clas­sify every num­ber on the face of the finan­cial state­ments and from foot­notes. The SEC pub­lishes every XBRL instance on its web­site within min­utes af­ter it is filed.

There is No Longer the Need for Investment Professionals to Rely on Data Vendors’ Interpretations

XBRL in­stances pro­vide all of the clas­si­fi­ca­tions needed—com­ing di­rectly from the filer, rather than from a ven­dor. Because all U.S. public companies now report their financial statements as XBRL instances, the public can access these filers’ own financial classifications. There is no longer any need for investment professionals to rely on vendors’ interpretations.

Since 2014, idaciti has been perfecting a process to harvest every XBRL instance, extract every electronic tag chosen by the filer, and provide this filer-classified financial data to investment professionals for easy use.

When you choose a fi­nan­cial data provider, you are choos­ing be­tween two ba­sic op­tions. Do you want data from fi­nan­cial state­ments and foot­notes clas­si­fied by the filer—straight from the most knowledgeable source—or do you choose a vendor’s in­ter­pre­ta­tions?