We all know that bad data in means bad data out. For that reason, since our founding, Calcbench has had an unwavering commitment to enhancing the quality of XBRL data, so much so that we’ve built it into both our platform and our processes. This way we ensure that we don’t pass any XBRL data quality problems on to our users.
As part of this dedication to data quality, we recently set out to quantify all of the errors we’ve identified and corrected in XBRL filings filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the past several years. Through this study, we examined several types of mistakes most likely to throw off an end users’ analysis, including errors in the Document and Entity Information (DEI), scale errors, and sign switches. (Please note, these are NOT the only types of errors a filer can make!) What we found was somewhat encouraging: over time, companies seem to be getting better at catching common errors before they file. Yet, clearly a lot more can be done. And we remain committed to providing as much feedback as possible back to corporate reporting professionals about their own filings, so they can learn from past filing errors (something we do via our complimentary Filer Portal service).
We know that XBRL data holds significant benefits, including easy access to significant amounts of valuable data. However, our findings suggest that most XBRL filings contain errors, most of which are relatively easy to correct and may be the result of a learning curve by both filers and third parties creating the XBRL filings. Nevertheless, the prevalence of errors suggests that filers should pay more attention to their filings as these errors can expose filers to further actions from the SEC and to potential litigation from financial statement users.
You can read a more comprehensive overview of our findings in our recent report. Some of the key insights include:
To learn more about the current state of XBRL and read more of our findings, we encourage you to read our report, “What Filers Should Know about the Quality of XBRL Filings”.
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