We believe in forward planning here at Calcbench, so even though Corporate America won’t start filing its 2017 annual reports for a few more weeks yet, let’s take a moment to show how you can use Calcbench to get the most analysis done once those Form 10-Ks do start rolling in.

First, know the companies you want to follow, and how to set up alerts for when those filings reach Calcbench. We’ve written before about how you can set up email alerts. It’s an easy process. You can create a group of companies that you want to follow, and we will automatically email you any time one of those companies submits a filing to the SEC. (Thanks to the data technology we use, we can capture the data from those filings within a few minutes of them arriving at the SEC.)

What if you don’t have any specific companies in mind, and just want to see the newest filings? No trouble there, either. Simply visit our Recent Filings page to see what’s come over the transom today, yesterday, or the prior days. You’ll see the following:

You can filter those results by filing type (quarterly report, proxy, earnings release) or by company size: large, medium, small, or micro-cap. By default we arrange the results starting with most recent and working backwards, but you can also sort them alphabetically.

When you do click on a recent filing, typically we take you to the Interactive Disclosures page for that filing— that is, we drop you at Item 1, which typically is “Description of the Business.” That’s what you would see as the first written portion of the filing.

If you then want to see the numbers, just click on the Company-in-Detail tab at the top of the page, and you’ll be whisked over to the financial results. And if you want to see how those filed results compare to the company’s previous guidance, remember that you now can click on the “Show Guidance and Non-GAAP Metrics” tab, and Calcbench will automatically add a few lines at the top of the financial tables showing what that guidance was. (This assumes the company in question does offer guidance in the first place! Some don’t, and in that case you’ll get nothing.)

Comparing Results

By default, when Calcbench displays financial results, we should the most recent period’s numbers and several prior periods next to them, so you can make quick year-over-year comparisons. That’s clear.

You can also, however, do the same with written disclosures. When you’re on the Interactive Disclosures page and find whatever disclosure you want to read (we have a lot; you can find ‘em on the “Choose Footnote/Disclosure Type” pull-down menu on the left), that disclosure will then appear in the main text box.

Look closely. Above that main text box are two options for “Add Previous Period” and “See All History.” Select either one of those and you’ll get whatever disclosure the company made in the prior period. (That is, if you’re looking at an annual report, you’ll get the prior year’s report; if you’re looking at a quarterly report, you’ll get the prior quarter’s report.)

And all of this, of course, can be exported into Excel. Power users can even take all this data and dump it into your own templates with our Excel Add-In. (We’ll write more about the Add-In another day.)

That’s all for today. The filing deadline for large companies with Dec. 31 year-end is March 1, 2018, so those reports will start arriving in the next few weeks. Happy digging!

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