Simple way to harness the power of XBRL tagging

There's no need to leave the comfort of Excel in order to download reams of XBRL data. Using Excel web queries, the X Sheet provides instant access to the latest filings in a tagged as reported format for an unlimited number of companies. You can download an X Sheet from here.

Our premium version, standiZd provides additional standardized XBRL tags to make modelling even easier.

The X Sheet is the base for all our products. When you purchase standiZd, you get all the value added additional fields, add on totaliZd and you have a framework to completely control the integrity of your dataset.

So simple to use. Want to change company in an X Sheet, just specify a different ticker in the Search tab. Want to load up an older filing, just change the dates there too. It will even download the last five filings for the same company automatically.

The X Sheet is completely customisable allowing you to leverage the power of Excel to create whatever model you want. You can even create your own X Sheet from scratch by downloading a web query (file) to seed an entirely new sheet.

Each version of the X Sheet uses the same Model/Standard/XBRL arrangement that allows you to hack the data without disturbing your model (or trash the model without effecting your ability to populate a new one - see the blog entry Looking up XBRL in Excel).

Want to add more than five companies/years to your model, no problem, just copy an existing Filing sheet to create more sheets & queries.  See the FAQ's for more information on how to do this. Or watch the "How To" video here.

Using web queries, you can ensure that the model is always up to date. Set the external data range option to refresh on opening and with the latest date parameter set in the Search tab, it will always download the latest filings on opening.

Of course being Excel, web queries can be quickly incorporated into a VBA macro so say you wanted to home in on a particular value or ratio for 100 companies, you could write a VBA Macro in a X Sheet to do just that.

So there's no complicated setup, no need for an application or a website. Just download the X Sheet from here and off you go. Remember to login and take a token with you.

To find out more about web queries, try visiting this site.

Extended tagging for comparable financials.

standiZd provides the additional standardized XBRL tags you need to complete the dataset, ensuring you capture every key data item quickly and easily. Information is also provided about the correct sign to prevent any accidental mis-calculations. See the data FAQ for more information on what is available.

The XBRL filed by US Companies adds up. It has to; strict SEC validation rules and XBRL.US data quality tests ensure the values are invariably correct. The problem is that it may not add up in the way that you want or expect!

A company is not compelled to build a data structure that uses every subtotal. So items that maybe crucial to your model could be missing from the original tagging. Basic tags like Revenues could be and often are not there.

XBRL deliberately allows a filer to tell its own story through it's choice of data points. And that's the beauty of XBRL, but a curse when assembling comparable financials.

US-GAAP obviously provides a solid framework but which keystones it uses is up to the company and so through standiZd, we make sure those fundamental values are firmly in place.

We don't invent any tags. These are simply US-GAAP tags that are missing from the orginal filing.

With standiZd, standard tags are downloaded with the rest of the XBRL data but in a separate column to complement not replace the existing tagging. Our desire to maintain complete transparency means you can see both the tags that were used by the filer and the missing tags we have added.

A set of items to create forward looking models

Designed to work with totaliZd, the X Financials are a comprehensive set of data items that allow you to make the adjustments needed to historic values to create comparable ratios and totals and to build out forecasts based on solid and accurate foundations.

The X Financials are intended to be a complete data set in the same vain as high quality datasets from Bloombergs, S&P Capital IQ or FactSet and whose integrity can be tested and managed through the tools available with totaliZd.

With the X Financials however, you have complete control over the values fed into this dataset and of course complete transparency over where the numbers come from.

The X Financials were designed by Jim Truscott, Product Manager and Architect of the Extel Financials, the first as reported global dataset (sold and marketed by the Financial Times before becoming FactSet's fundamental data set) and have been extensively tested against live data.

Let us know if you have any suggestions of additional items that could supplement this important data set as we can easily expand the universe to include further values.

Framework for error free financials

So why might standiZd not be enough? The short answer - extensions.

Companies can use their own custom tags (extensions to the US-GAAP taxonomy) to describe items that they feel are unique to their business. Again this flexibility is a strength of XBRL but their view of what an item actually is may not always accord with your own.

And sometimes an extension is used when a perfectly adequate US-GAAP tag already exists, out of laziness or unfamiliarity with the conplete set of tags available (there are over 16,000 after all!).

For whatever reason, they exist. And they exist in significant numbers (a couple of dozen per filing) Enough to screw up your analysis. totaliZd makes it easy to spot a problem and rapidly fix it by plugging in a new tag. Depending on the depth of your analysis, you may only need to add one or two tags.

totaliZd came out of a project with a Dutch client who required a bespoke data set with unparralled accuracy. The model they were using was empirically tested every year by an independant academic insititute so there was no room for error. Consequently before the start of our collaboration, each value had been entered and verified by hand, much like many high end research departments where given the size of the deals, a single error could be extremely costly.

In meeting the brief, the totaliZd platform now provides full customisation and fail-safe validation to deliver error free inputs to models higher up the value chain.

Crucially you can create your own layer of tags to supplement the reported and standard tagging already provided by standiZd and the basic X sheet and validate the generated dataset, by default the X Financials. A number of tools are provided to change how the data is combined whilst at the same time checking and maintaining the integrity of the values.

And this layering means there is no end to how you can tag the data. You might want to use your own highly customised set of tags that perhaps views data at a higher summarized level. Coupled with this, is the power to make different sections of the data pyramid add up in entirely different ways. So you can tailor the validation to whichever tags you plan to use

Of course full transparency back to the filed XBRL is provided throughout the process.

Its like having your own personal set of high end financials that you have complete control over. You are no longer beholden to Bloomberg et al as to what set of values you end up with.