Google data service
Many investors and academics use financial statement data drawn from data service providers. These commercial services generally provide a summarised and normalised version of the face financial statements, without additional data drawn from the notes. Of course, in a number of countries you can now use XBRL formatted data that is filed with the regulator and republished by exchanges and securities regulators.
To simplify analysis of US SEC data, that agency has been regularly republishing the filings they receive in large flat files, which means that academics and others don’t need to know XBRL to use the information.
The folk at Google have now set up a mechanism that means that all of this SEC data is available in their BigQuery database, a massively scaled data warehouse that allows data to be queried using a variety of analytic techniques.
This is all the SEC data going back a number of years, including the notes to the accounts. Anyone not scared of a little light SQL should go and find out exactly what’s possible. It’s still a little experimental but this is a huge dataset of valuable information about public companies. Academics in particular should take note!
Find out more about the data sets on the SEC website here. Play around with the Google data service here. (Fair warning: data analysis knowledge required!) The Google service isn’t available everywhere — but the SEC data is, so somebody enterprising can create their own system…