Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In this week’s post we are going to walk through the Segments Query function of Calcbench, to see how you can quickly identify financial data that a company publishes by geographic region.

First, the disclosure theory. Corporations are not required to disclose financial data grouped by country or major market (North America, Europe, Asia, etc.). Securities law only requires companies to disclose data in ways that are useful to investors… which, especially for global businesses, often does mean that they report numbers by major geographic market. But how a company defines those major markets, and the decision about whether to disclose anything at all, generally rests with the company itself.

For our purposes today, we’ll use Apple as the example. It discloses financial performance in three geographic segments: the United States, China, and everywhere else in the world grouped as “Other Countries.” Apple also reports a total sales figure that is the sum of sales in all three regions.

We start by going to the Breakouts tab you can see on the navigation bar at the top of the website. That brings you to the Segments, Rollforwards, and Breakouts page you see below in Figure 1. As usual, the buttons to select a company (or group of companies) are on the left side of the screen, circled below in blue. The default is set to the whole universe of all filers, but we’re going to enter Apple in the text box.

The main list of segment and breakout options is in that scrollable menu on the left side of Figure 1. We’ll walk through all the other features on this page (disclosures about fair value, pension obligations, purchase price allocation, and more) some other day. Here and now, select the second option you see, Geographical Segment.

After that, a series of sub-menu options appear—because hey, we’re Calcbench, and we can get pretty exact in our segment reporting. Select the first one, Geographical Segment-Revenue. (See Figure 2, below.)

Once you select that revenue option, several more boxes appear on the right-hand side. You can select a desired revenue threshold for segments, perhaps to focus on particularly large markets only. (Not that we have anything against Luxembourg or Tahiti; you can also set the threshold to $0 or $1 to capture all segments reported.) And above those boxes, we also have the usual menu options to select the filing periods you want to study (circled in red, above). In our case, we are selecting the annual reports for 2011 through 2015.

Then you hit the Go button. What you get is in Figure 3, below.

The results are neatly grouped by year, with a separate line for each geographic segment. The results for segment are on the far right side. A few points to ponder…

  • The SEC HTML column will lead you directly to whatever filing the company submitted to the SEC’s Edgar database;
  • The Calcbench Link column will take you to the exact footnote or other disclosure the company made to explain the segment’s financial data;
  • If you double-click on the number in the Geographical Segment column, that will call up a summary of the income statement for that period, so you can trace back exactly where that number came from (see Figure 4, below; the display is for the first number reported).

That’s the example for today. Obviously the Segments, Rollforwards, and Breakouts page can do much more than this, and we’ll get to all those other features in other posts. You can also visit our Guides & Videos page to see other tutorials about the wonders of Calcbench—happy digging!

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