A Q&A with Jack Ciesielski, Portfolio Manager and Accounting Analyst

Publisher of The Accounting Observer for 26 years


How did you learn about Calcbench?

It was many years ago. I was at an AICPA-SEC Regulation Current Event and met the team. I did not immediately sign up for Calcbench although I was frustrated with my current solution and was looking for an alternative. At the time when I met Calcbench personnel, the platform was pretty primitive. It took a little while for the platform to evolve to where I could get on board, but I’ve been a Calcbench customer for almost six years and I love it.


What frustrated you about your previous financial data provider?

Within my circle, we all used the same financial data company. That company had a monopoly on the data and knew it. But the solution was not faithful to financial statements, and the quality of the information was poor. Couple that with increasing prices (it was the biggest line item in my budget) and it was a big headache. Even though I disliked the data, and so did others in my field, at least we all spoke the same language. Calcbench is changing that, for the better.


What was the trigger that moved you to Calcbench?

The Calcbench platform had developed and became a very powerful tool. First and foremost, you can access native financial statements with XBRL fields behind it. And what I really like is that the platform is great for time series analysis. You can easily stitch together prior years or have a continuous view. That was a big persuader: data that was more faithful to the reported financial statements.


What features do you use on the platform?

While I don’t consider myself a power user, I do go deep on things like cash flow statement data, pension data, the contractual obligations table, and more. I don’t think that enough financial analysts read the MD&A, but in my line of work, it’s important to understand. The risk factors are especially important to explore and are easily accessible using Calcbench. I also really like the alerts. I keep track of changes in my portfolio companies through the alerts features.


What features do you expect to use on the platform?

I am fascinated by the revision history, but perhaps that is more for academics. I’m also planning to do more with IFRS filings (for some clients this really matters). And I’m starting to look at employee and auditor data; it’s very interesting.

While COVID expense exclusions are not part of what I currently look at, over time such special geography on income statements will become important and things like supplemental employee benefit costs may have a material impact – and require analysis.


Talk about a typical day using Calcbench.

My bread and butter is cash flow analysis. I have a detailed, proven model in Excel. With Calcbench’s Excel Add In, I can just change a ticker and get 90 percent of what’s needed.

In addition, I am a heavy user of the data query tool. Getting historical, empirical data is primarily how I use Calcbench.


What would you like Calcbench to add to its platform?

For some of my clients, I need access to the Russell indexes. I use the multi-company tool a lot. It would be great to have the Russell 1000, Russell 2000, Russell 3000 for peer comparisons. In addition, I wish there were more standardization around segment data.


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