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Q. Why is XBRL important? Zacharie B - 5/10/2014 expand
A. XBRL is important because it allows software to quickly render financial information stored in a database, eliminating the need to manually sift through documents. A user can use Calcbench to quickly analyze and compare companies’ financial statements, which saves time and money. Calculating ratios is as simple as clicking a button, and financial information can be easily exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis.
Q. Can I generate my own query using Calcbench’s extensive XBRL database? Zacharie B - 5/10/2014 expand
A. Yes. Head over to the Data Query Tool. To get started, select which list of companies you want to search (i.e. Whole universe, industry sector, peer groups, etc.), then period type, then date range. Next, set filters using the “Data Points” or the “Ratios” dropdown menus. If you are setting multiple filters, insert “and” between each filter with no punctuation marks. You may also use “or” depending on your query. Next, check all the metrics that you would like to have exported to an Excel spreadsheet. When you are done, click “Export To Excel” in the bottom left corner of the browser window. The file will appear in your downloads menu or folder. For an example of how to use the query, you can go to: http://www.calcbench.com/blog/56888656702
Q. Can I search the notes to a company’s financial statements? Zacharie B - 5/10/2014 expand
A. Yes. Calcbench’s Footnotes Query Tool eliminates unnecessary reading and exhaustive searches. Simply select which list of companies you want to search (i.e. Whole universe, industry sector, peer groups, etc.), then period type and the specific period. Next, choose disclosure type from the drop down menu, or if you would like a specific table, input the disclosure title into “disclosure table type”. If you need to be more specific, try the “search text” field. Input what you would like to search for. Expand or narrow your search by using query syntax. Put quotation marks around word groups to specifically search for those groupings. Place an * after a word to search for other words based off of the root word (test* will search for tests, tester, tested, etc). Replacing a letter with a ? will make that letter interchangeable (te?t will search for text or test). Inserting a ~ after a word will search for words that are similar (foam and roams).  
Q. How can I see the components of data points, such as revenue or debt? Aimee G - 5/28/2014 expand
A. In the upper left corner of the Benchmarking tool, you'll find a feature called Breakout Details.  To the right is a dropdown menu.  Here, you can see specific metrics from any sector in greater detail.  Click to get a closer look at revenue be geographical segment, revenue by operating segment, or debt issues.
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Q. What is XBRL? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is a ‘machine readable’ format for financial reporting. All significant facts within a quarterly or annual report are assigned a standardized tag for input into a computing process. Since 2011 XBRL has been mandated for use by all U.S. public companies by the SEC. We have about 9,500 entites in our database.
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Q. How does XBRL work? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. Every company must assign unique tags to every numerical fact (and some text blocks as well) inside each of their annual and quarterly reports. Some examples of common tags include Assets, SalesRevenueNet, and CashAndCashEquivalentsPeriodIncreaseDecrease.
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Q. Does every company use the same XBRL tags in their reports? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. No. There are over 20 thousand unique tags provided as a framework by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. And companies can create their own tags as needed as well. As a result, each company puts its own personalized stamp on the process, based on how they tag the data. This is both good and bad. It results in a tremendous richness of information, but also makes comparing across companies a challenge. For example, there are well over 100 tags that a company can use to report its revenue. Calcbench takes all of these unique tags and maps them to predefined concepts like Revenue.
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Q. Who creates and maintains the list of standard XBRL tags? Where can I see the list? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. In the US XBRL ecosystem, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is responsible for the ‘taxonomy’ of XBRL tags. You can see it here.
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Q. What is an extension tag? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. An ‘extension’ tag is a tag that is not in the standard list, but is instead created by a filer. This happens when the filer believes they are reporting a concept that is sufficiently unique that it is not covered in the standard taxonomy.
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Q. Where can I see the XBRL tags on Calcbench? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. In our Company in Detail viewer you can see the tag names by mousing over the labels on the left side of any statement. In our Benchmark suite, you can see the tags used in our normalized metrics, by double clicking any number to trace its’ source.
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Q. What is a dimension? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. XBRL filings use a multi-dimensional structure. Information can be tagged as non-dimensional (belonging to the entire company), or can be assigned dimensional ‘members’, which describe it as belonging to a subset of the company. For example, a company might report Assets for their whole company of $1 billion. But they might also report Assets for their North America segment of $800 million. They likely will do this by using the same Assets tag, but adding to it a dimensional member, like NorthAmericaMember.
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Q. Who creates the XBRL filings? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. All of the individual companies that are covered by the XBRL reporting mandate are responsible for creating their own filings.
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Q. What filings are included in XBRL? What parts of the filings? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. Currently companies must primarily submit interactive filings for their annual and quarterly reports (commonly known as 10-Ks and 10-Qs). Other reports such as proxy statements and ownership statements are exempt.

Within the annual and quarterly reports, all primary financial statements and footnotes to these statements must be included in the interactive filing. Other sections are not included, such as the ‘Management’s Discussion and Analysis’

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Q. Are XBRL filings audited? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. XBRL filings are reproductions of annual and quarterly reports filed by the company. As such, the information contained within was reviewed by an auditor before it was translated to XBRL. However, the translation process and resulting interactive filing is currently not required to be double checked by an independent professional, like an audit firm.
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Q. Who oversees the XBRL process? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. In the US, the S.E.C. is the overseer of the XBRL process. You can read more here.
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Q. What does an XBRL filing look like? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. XBRL filings consist of 6 individual files, which are in XML format. While they are not designed to be human readable, you can take a look at the raw files on the SEC’s website. Here is an example.
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Q. When did the XBRL mandate begin? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. It began in three phases. The largest companies started in 2009. What are known as ‘large accelerated filers’ started in 2010, and everyone else in 2011.
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Q. Your system lets me search by XBRL tag…why should I do this? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. If you are interested in searching for a concept that we don’t yet offer as a normalized data point, you can try searching the tags directly. The results for this may be mixed, depending on the accounting concept you are looking for, and the kinds of companies you are looking at.
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Q. How far back does the data go on Calcbench? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. Because the XBRL mandate is relatively new, small to mid sized companies will have information going back to approximately 2009-2010, while larger firms go back a few years more.
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Q. What is a peer group? How do I create a peer group? Alex R - 2/20/2014 expand
A. Peer groups, or portfolios, are saved lists of companies you can use within all of our analysis tools. In any of the Premium Suite pages you can create a peer group using your own list of companies. In addition, on the Benchmark page you can save a peer group based off of any industry or sector you pull up.

If you would like to receive an email every time there is a new filing from a member of your peer group, check the 'Email Alerts' box. 


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Q. What is a 'Scale Error'? Alex R - 2/21/2014 expand
A. A 'Scale Error' is a common tagging mistake in XBRL, where the filier inputs a number in the wrong order of scale. In other words, they put too many or too few zeros ($1,527 instead of $1,527,000). This is a common mistake because numbers are commonly truncated when displayed in financial reports, to make for easier reading. But in the XBRL all numbers must be the actual value. Calcbench has a number of automates checks to catch and fix this type of error to maintain data quality.
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Q. How do I trace a normalized metric on Calcbench? Alex R - 2/21/2014 expand
A. Calcbench allows you to view the raw or source data for virtually any metric or ratio. In the Benchmarking & Analysis tool, when you double click on any number, a pop-up window appears. Here you will see the specific tag reported by the company. Or for ratios or other calculated values, you will see the makeup of the calculation.

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Q. How do I find footnotes or disclosures related to the normalized metrics? Alex R - 2/25/2014 expand
A. You can very quickly read more detail about any company's numbers by accessing related disclosures. In the Benchmarking & Analysis tool, first double click on any number to trace it. Then, in the pop-up window, click on the highlighted link to search the filing for disclosures about this topic. .

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Q. Can you alert me when a company I am interested in files? Alex R - 2/25/2014 expand
A. Email alerts allow you to receive an email within minutes after your target companies file. To set up an alert, go to the benchmark tool from the Products page, and click on ‘My Saved Peer Groups (create)’. Once you are in the ‘Create/Edit Peer Group’ page, create a group of companies for which you want to receive alerts, and check the box below to receive real-time notifications.

Note: Be sure to add the Calbench.com domain to your safe sender list to ensure your alerts get delivered.

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Q. What are Calendar Years and Periods? What is TTM? Alex R - 4/10/2014 expand
A. Most companies have a fiscal year end around December 31, so their fiscal years and periods line up with normal calendar years and periods. However, for companies that have other fiscal year end dates, there will often be a difference between the calendar and fiscal period and year. 

In Calcbench, we allow you to look at data based its best fitting calendar period, in order to make it more comparable across company. For example, calendar period Q4 2013 contains data from each company that best fits the period from November to December 2013. For most companies this will also be their fiscal period Q4 2013. However, in the case of Apple (AAPL), whose fiscal year ends in September, calendar period Q4 2013 would line up with Apple's fiscal period Q1 2014 (the period from November to December 2013).  

In addition, companies that do not have periods ending at the end of December, may assign their fiscal year however they see fit. One company might consider themselves to be in fiscal year 2014, when another similar firm may consider themselves to be in fiscal year 2013. In order to compensate for this, we assign a standard calendar year. If a company's year ends on or before June 30, 2014 they are in calendar year 2013. If it ends after, they are in calendar year 2014.    

TTM (or trailing twelve months) means that we are adding up the quarters necessary to show a full year's worth of financials ending at the specified calendar period.

Q. What is a sector? How do I use sectors in Calcbench? Alex R - 4/10/2014 expand
A. A sector is a grouping of companies based on common business type (e.g. car manufaturers, or aerospace companies). In Calcbench, we use the company's self reported SIC (standard industrial classification) code in order to determine its sector.

To look at companies by sector you can:

1) Navigate the sector tree by first selecting an industry, and then choosing a sector that belongs to that industry

2) Search for a sector by name OR 4 digit SIC code or 6 digit NAICS code using the 'Search Sector' box

3) Choose a company in the 'Find Peers For' box to bring up that company's sector

Q. What is a disclosure type and disclosure table type? Alex R - 4/11/2014 expand
A. Calcbench categorizes every disclosure into one of approximately 100 predefined categores. Some examples of common categories are tax, compensation related costs, or inventory.

Disclosure tables are the individual pieces that make up the full disclosure. For example a tax disclosure might have an overview table, but also a deferred tax assets and liabilites table, a tax reconcilliation table, and others. There are about 1,000 standard disclosure table types, and we allow users to search by any of these.     

Q. In the Benchmarking & Analysis tool, how do I create calculations across metrics? Alex R - 4/29/2014 expand
A. When clicking on the gray arrow pointing to the right in between any column, a window will appear where you can enter your formula to make further calculation to the metrics available.

NOTE: You can click on any column header to add that column to the formula. When you are done, click the icons to format the values to the appropriate type ($, %, or raw)


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Q. How Can I Create A Spreadsheet to Use With the Excel Add-In? Alex R - 8/14/2014 expand
A. You can use the Benchmark tool to choose companies and data points that you are interested in. Exporting this information will put it in spreadsheet form. HOWEVER, if you want to continue working with and pulling more data after you export, choose the Export w/ Formulas option instead. This will create a live spreadsheet that will work in our Excel Add-In.
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Q. How to Re-enable an Add-in That Has Been Disabled? Alex R - 4/16/2015 expand
A.  https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms268871.aspx
Q. Where can I find Info about how to use the Calcbench API? Alex R - 6/12/2015 expand
A. For Python users, we have some documentation on our API page: https://www.calcbench.com/home/api

Please feel free to contact us for additional information or for help in other languages.  


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Q. Where can I get help with the Calcbench Excel Add-in? Alex R - 6/12/2015 expand
A. Our support page is here: https://www.calcbench.com/home/excel_support. In addition, please contact us with any questions.
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Q. Starting today, our Benchmark tool has been renamed to ‘Multi-Company.’ Sorry if there is any confusion! We think it is better name to describe what you can do with that page. Alex R - 6/2/2016 expand
A.
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Q. How is the Calcbench Earnings Indicator Calculated? Ariel M - 11/7/2014 expand
A. We aggregate all filings received up to that point in the day and sum the data point for all companies that have filed during that calendar period. For example, we would sum all revenue for all companies and compare that total revenue to the total revenue reported for the same set of tirms in the same period last year. We present the change in the total amount reported. The indicator is updated throughout the day as files come in.
Q. What is the difference between “As reported” data and “Standardized Metrics”? Alex R - 8/4/2016 expand
A.  

When you are researching a company, it is often desirable to look at data unadjusted, exactly as the company reported it. This way you are sure you are getting the picture straight form the company. On Calcbench, you can use our Company in Detail page to always get data exactly ‘as reported’ by the firm, or export as reported financial statements directly into Excel, using our Excel Add-In.

 

However, when you are screening, or researching multiple companies at once, it is necessary to standardize items for comparability. This might mean summing up individual line items to get a revenue total, for example. We do this for you, and offer a large number of standardized metrics for both the primary financials and the footnotes. You can easily access these on our Multi-Company page, or by using ‘=CalcbenchData()’ formulas in our Excel Add-in.