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How do our subscribers use Calcbench to solve real problems in the real world? Here’s one tale from a customer running the accounting and external reporting function at a large public company, in his own words.

The Issue

We decided to implement ASU 2016-18, Restricted Cash, but we didn’t know how to present and tag our Statement of Cash Flows properly. Given the young age of the standard, we were unsure how widely it had been adopted, fearful we wouldn’t know how others presented their Cash Flow statement. We also had a tight deadline and needed a solution our controller would approve and our auditors would agree to — fast.

What We Usually Would Have Done

We would have tasked a few analysts to search for any company that had restricted cash, and then see whether that company had adopted the new accounting standard. The analysts would have grabbed the list of roughly 15 other peer companies, maybe a few prime companies as well, then headed to the SEC website and hunted in the haystack — crossing their fingers that they found this specific scenario.

What We Accomplished With Calcbench

Using Calcbench, we went to the Multi-Companies page, selected “Choose companies” from the Screen/Filter tab, and typed in “restric” (that is, the first few letters of “restricted cash”).

Immediately, I could see that less than 10 percent of filers employed the tag RestrictedCashAndCashEquivalents. From there, I set my results to be “not equal to zero” and hit “go.” Lastly, I entered the same tag to add a column, selected Q1 2017 to get the most recent filings and sorted by dollar value. That was it! (See Figs. 1 and 2, below, searching for Q4 2018 filings.)




In less than five minutes, we had our list of companies with restricted cash balances. To complete the task, we:

  • traced the tag to the company’s filing, to understand the nature of its restricted cash;
  • drilled to the filing to see if the company had adopted the ASU;
  • selected the company name to see the company’s balance sheet and cash flow presentations; and
  • reviewed the actual tag used.

So within minutes, we found other filers that had recently adopted the new standard and had restricted cash balances. We also had data on how they presented their Statement of Cash Flows. We took that information, marched into our controller’s office, and won approval for our suggestion — which, in turn, was also approved by our auditors.

Without Calcbench, our process would have suffered severe delays as we hunted through the haystack. Instead, we found the needle in minutes, and had our whole problem sovled in less than a day.

OK, readers, this is the Calcbench crew again. That’s one tale of Calcbench in practice. If you have others, drop us a line at us@calcbench.com and let us know!


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