Home > company information > Compustat fundamentals – finding data tips

Compustat fundamentals – finding data tips

WRDS-iconCompustat North America Fundamentals on WRDS (Wharton Research Data Services) offers such a large number of data items that it can be tricky to find the ones you require.

The following tips for finding data items can be used whether you are Compustat Fundamantals directly, or through CRSP/Compustat Merged (CCM) Fundamentals.

WRDS Compustat Simplified Financial Statement Extract - Variable Defns (click to expand)

WRDS Compustat Simplified Financial Statement Extract – Variable Defns (click to expand)

There is a WRDS Compustat North America request – Simplified Financial Statement Extract – that gives only the most commonly used items – 25 rather than 382 from the balance sheet, 14 rather than 328 from the income statement etc.

Selecting the Variable Descriptions link at the top of the request online form gives an alphabetic list of these variable (item) names and their descriptions (see screenshot). As on other WRDS pages you can use “Ctrl-F” to search for specific word.

There is also the Complete Financial Statements form under Compustat Tools. This gives the most common items in a financial statement order.

On occasions you may be looking for Compustat data items that have been mentioned in academic research papers.

If you see a paper mentioning Compustat numbers, e.g. “6 – Total Assets”, then the paper is referring to the older method of identifying data items.  In 2007-2008 Compustat changed from a legacy FTP format to the current Xpressfeed (XPF) format. The CRSP/Compustat Merged Database Guide Annual Data -Industrial provides a link between the older item numbers and the newer item names.

WRDS Support - Compustat (click to expand)

WRDS Support – Compustat (click to expand)

The WRDS Support tab provides Vendor Manuals –  Compustat vendor as one of the frequently visited links. This gives a quick way of reaching the WRDS Support – Compustat Manuals and Overview page.

Compustat annual variables (click to expand)

Compustat annual variables (click to expand)

This page has links to the detailed Compustat manuals, including two describing the format change “Comparison of the Legacy FTP format to Xpressfeed” and “Variable Translations – Compann Compqtr and PDE”.

Finally

Thanks to Praj Desai for the advice on searching Compustat, especially when papers refer to older compustat numbers, included in this post.

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