Friday 15 March 2019


Now here's a great way to access reported XBRL, as filed with the SEC. XBRL US have been databasing filed XBRL since day one and last year they published an accessible restful API designed to make their extensive database available to a wider community.

Now out of beta and with a small but burgeoning community, the XBRL US API provides an excellent way to get hold of individual pieces of XBRL via relatively straight forward http API requests. Pretty much everything is there, although it can take some time and experimentation to get all the pieces together you want, given the breadth and complexity of the dataset.

But never fear, there are two handy templates to get you up and running from day one, one for Excel (which we at Fundamental X have provided) and one for Google Sheets.

The Excel sheet shows you how you can quickly use Power Query as a front end to SEC filed XBRL. See how to immediately get going in this video.

Things to note:
  • As filed, warts and all. So all the errors and missing data is present (or not!)
  • Some limits to the free version (see pricing below)
  • Authentication token required with each request and needs updating every hour
  • Initial registration and Authentication setup a little tortuous (4 bits of info required)*
*Easier with the Official Google Sheets template as just email and password required via in app login (although new login required each time token expires) and with the Excel template setup is required only once with the option to generate new Authentication tokens automatically.

Pricing (individuals) - see also XBRL US Membership
  1. Free - Registration required - Limits: Max 1000** records returned per request; Non-commercial use*.
  2. Individual Membership - $55 a year - Limits: Max 2000** records returned per request; Non-commercial use*.
  3. Power User Membership - $250 a year - Limits: No record limits; Non-commercial use*.
  4. Sole Practitioner Membership - $500 a year - Limits: No record limits; Commercial use allowed*.
*If you are an investment professional who trades on behalf or advises others then you would need to purchase Sole Practitioner Membership. Different rates apply for corporates. Commercial use also allows you to share the data with your clients, with attribution. Redistribution is not possible.

**The record limit may not necessarily be a problem. It may just require you to make more individual requests and frame them more carefully. There may also be a cap on the number of requests made within certain timescales with Google Sheets.