Filing size of 10-K reports

No too long ago a student asked me if it was possible to find out what the size was for specific filings of companies with the SEC. Specifically it concerned the 10-K filings which are the annual reports with a comprehensive summary of the companies financial health. As I understand it, the file size of these filings was to be used in an exercise and served as a proxy for financial reporting readability.

To find the original filings it is of course possible to use the EDGAR search option to find the original full-text filings and parts (including the XBRL filings):

Using the Central Index Key (CIK), Ticker, or Company name it is easy to find a specific company. Using the Filing Type search box you can narrow the search down to specific filings, like 10-K. This is often possible going back to 1993/1994 (depends on the company).

A specific 10-K filing overview in Edgar would look as follows:

If you need to do this for several hundreds of companies and multiple years it would take some time to collect the file size data. If you have access to the Audit Analytics database it is possible to get the 10-K file size for a large number of companies at once through the WRDS platform. Audit Analytics has a part database that is called Accelerated Filer.


Through this part database it is possible to get filings data (from 2000 to now) using Ticker lists or CIK lists. In the example output below I have put the following variables:

NAME = Company Name
FORM FKEY = Form name (10-K and 10-Q)
FISCAL YE = Fiscal Year End
FILE SIZE = Filing size
MATCHFY_SUMFEES_FY = Fiscal Year

Example output using Excel to filter for just 10-K filings:

Important: If you look at the 2015 10-K form file size according to Audit Analytics for the company ADVANCE AUTO PARTS INC this is 17 MB. This corresponds (roughly) with the size of Complete submission file according to EDGAR: 17.748.770. The Complete submission file in Edgar includes not just text and html codes, but may also include pictures and any other file types (Excel files etc.).

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New WRDS platform & Audit Analytics

Last week some major changes were implemented in the Wharton Research Data Services platform. Overall this seems to improve the way you search in the databases.

Today I discovered a problem with Audit Analytics databases, however. No matter what type of search I tried to do in several part-databases, I could not get any data. I kept getting an error message from WRDS stating that I had not selected variables at step 3 (even though I did). The original message was:

I have also checked other databases (Compustat and Amadeus) but there does not appear to be a problem with these sources. I also checked different versions of internet software (IE 10 and Firefox 44.0.2) but this did not help.
I reported the problem to the WRDS Helpdesk and expected a swift resolution of the problem. If you need data from the Audit Analytics database you should try and see if you can also get the data you need directly through their IVES website.

Update 1: Later this evening (February 29) I tried the same type of searches again in Audit Analytics databases using Firefox 42, Edge 25 and Chrome 48 and everything seems to work fine again. Maybe the problem was easily found or small/temporary  and quickly fixed.

Update 2: On Wednesday I was notified what caused the (fixed) problem by the WRDS helpdesk: “[the error] was caused by an effort to preserve column ordering for another client. The process of sorting the columns was in this case impeded by erroneous trailing spaces in the column names.” I am glad that the issue was found and solved quickly.

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WRDS platform: major changes

This week some major changes were implemented in the Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) platform. These changes mainly concern the search options for databases (step 2) and the selection options (step 3). In essence: no options were changed for the databases. Only the way you used to make a selection has changed and the way you make a selection of variables. These are the most recent (major) changes since July 2015.

The selection screen is now much more compact and straightforward with all the options immediately available and more intuitive:

The selection screen has undergone a much bigger change. Instead of scrolling downwards through the list of boxes with lists of variables, you can now scroll sideways through the lists of variables:

The other two steps in WRDS are usually: Step 1 (Selecting a time period), and Step 4 (Output options). No major changes seem to have happened there. If I notice any more major changes in the interface I will post them here.

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New BETA platform: Wharton

The WRDS platform (Wharton Research Data Services) is a web-based interface that allows you to search through many licensed databases and makes it easier to download data from them. The learning curve on how to use the Wharton platform is minimal as all databases can be searched in a similar way. The main effort that you need to expend is: learning the details of individual databases and how the data is made available. Databases that can be searched through Wharton include: Compustat Global & North America, Execucomp, CRSP, Amadeus & Audit Analytics.

The past few weeks it has been made possible to view the new changed BETA version of the WRDS platform which looks much different from the current platform. The old interface looks as follows:

The new BETA WRDS interface looks very different:

Overall, the changes are mostly cosmetic. when you click through to a specific database you still get the same search options that are available in the previous / current version: 1) Select time frame, 2) Make a selection, 3) Choose variables, and 4) Select the output format and date format.

N.B.: The new BETA version can be viewed but as yet I do not know when the current version will be replaced. I expect it to be sometime during the summer or autumn of 2015.

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Auditor tenure as a (control) variable

When doing research on companies one of the variables that could be interesting to take into account when analyzing company data is the tenure of the company auditor. Not many databases include information on the auditor of companies for each year. A few examples are: Audit Analytics, Amadeus, Compustat North America and REACH.

The database Audit Analtics covers only the companies that file reports at the SEC (many companies from the US) but it does include a few variables to easily determine the Auditor tenure when combined:

  • LAST REPORTED AUDITOR FKEY = Unique numeric identifier for each auditor
  • LAST REPORTED AUDITOR NAME = Name of the auditor to which the fees in the data row correspond
  • LAST REPORTED AUDITOR SINCE EVENT DATE = known engagement. The auditor since date comes from either the historical auditor databases (i.e. auditor changes) or from directly inquiring with the public registrants.
  • LAST REPORTED AUDITOR SINCE EVENT TYPE = Qualifier field for “Auditor Since Year”. The field can come with two values “Since” or “Since at Least”. “Since” indicates that the auditor was first engaged in the year given in “Auditor Since Year” and has been the auditor since then. “Since at Least” indicates that the auditor has been engaged since the year given in “Auditor Since Year” however we have not confirmed that this was the first year of  engagement.

The first two identify a specific Auditor. The last two identify how long the tenure was/is.
Example data a for a company:
LAST REPORTED AUDITOR FKEY: 1
LAST REPORTED AUDITOR NAME: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
LAST REPORTED AUDITOR SINCE EVENT DATE: 1950-12-31
LAST REPORTED AUDITOR SINCE EVENT TYPE: S

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Using Compustat data with Audit Analytics

On a regular basis I get questions from people who want to get Auditor-related data from Audit Analytics. Audit Analytics is a database that has (among other things) Auditor data for companies that have to file reports with the SEC in America. This not only includes many American companies but also some foreign companies.
Very often the starting point for the research question, however, is a list of companies that was created using the Compustat North America databases (Compustat databases cover financial and stock related data). Through Compustat you can not only create lists more easily with direct searches, it is also possible to use the Consituents Index database to work with historical indexes or index-related lists from exchanges (like S&P 500, etc.).

The important thing to remember is: only two link options exist for data from both databases: Tickers or CIK codes. Tickers may change for companies over time, but CIK codes should not (unless the company itself changes or transforms due to M&A activity, for instance). In a previous blog post I mentioned some research that I did using historical tickers but it seems both Compustat and Audit Analytics keep their databases pretty much up to date where Tickers are concerned. I am, however, inclined to think that using CIK codes to search (and later, match) data is the safer option.

In both the Compustat North America Fundamentals Annual database as well as the Audit Analytics databases it is possible to upload/search using text files containing a list of CIK codes. This way you can find data on the same companies in both databases.

It is also important to not only use the same list of CIK codes to search for data, but you must also select the CIK code varable to get it returned in your output. That way, both the dataset/output from Compustat, and the dataset/output from Audit Analytics, can then later be matched again based on the unique combination of the CIK-codes with the respective Fiscal years. In the WRDS versions of Compustat and Audit Analytics the CIK variable can be found at Step 3 when you are selecting variables for the Output:

  • In Compustat the CIK variable can be found in the block Identifying Information. It is easily recognizable by name: CIK Number
  • Audit Analytics lists the CIK variable under the name “Company FKEY“. It can usually be found in a block of variables with company-related data variables

N.B.: if you need to match both datasets on the unique combination CIK code and fiscal year you can use the Excel functions:

  • Concatenate() (=Tekst.Samenvoegen) to combine the CIK codes and Fiscal Years
  • Vlookup() (= Vertikaal.Zoeken) to match datasets using the unique coes you created.

See examples in my previous posts for Datastream and Compustat.

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Governance committees & companies

Corporate governance in larger & public listed companies usually involves the formation of several internal committees. These specific committees are formed around specific separate governance issues and are generally composed of directors, supervisors and usually also include non-executives or non-board members. Over years the members change and the number of committees change. One person is often a member of more than one committee.

Examples of these committees are:

  • Audit Committee
  • Remuneration / Compensation committee
  • Corporate Responsibility Committee
  • Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee
  • Supervisory Committee.

On websites for larger companies it is often possible to find out who the current members are for each committee. You can also regularly find this type of information in the annual reports or annual reviews. One of the few databases that also list this type of information for many companies (mainly US), is Audit Analytics. The information is available when you click onwards (after a search) to the company snapshot. The quickest way to go there is:

  • Choose the sub-database D&O Changes (Directors & Officer changes) on the right side in the screen
  • Search by 1 or more tickers
  • At the bottom in the search result (list): click the name of a company

See example:

When you reach this point the screen shows the company data from the tabGovernance“. It is possible to click on the subtabCommittees“. There you will find the latest data on committee compositions and committee remunerations for a company (if available of course). See example:

If you need historical data you can use the link at the top to go all the SEC Filings. This link leads to the EDGAR database which has all available historical filings. The DEF 14A or 10-K/20-F filings usually have information on previous years for the committees.

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