My name is Maxim Miller. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a financial analyst. I genuinely enjoyed the work, never failing to find great satisfaction in impressing clients with insights and predictions generated by my financial models. Unfortunately, those were really just moments of pleasure and not how I spent the majority of my days. As anyone working in the industry knows, a great deal of an analyst’s time and intellectual energy is inevitably dedicated to the mundane task of wading through company reports, mining the numbers which then allow the interesting part of the job – the actual analysis – to begin.
In the office we would discuss this conundrum on a regular basis. Pre-prepared datasets from Bloomberg and the like would always have uncertain quality, discretionary adjustments and limited scope. Outsourcing? Yes, that could have been an option, but a costly and slow one. What’s more, all of those solutions would aim to replace analysts rather than empower them.
There we were, handsomely paid and highly qualified, yet spending hours on data search and entry. These conversations would always end the same way: with a shrug. Nothing to be done. Just a hazard of the job. But just like everyone else I often thought to myself: there’s got to be a better way.
And well – yes, you guessed it – there is. It’s called Exerica – a software solution for financial research which we truly believe can revolutionize the financial research industry and liberate analysts to concentrate on the creative, interpretive work where real business value is created.
It all started with a bunch of brilliant computer scientists trying to figure out the best way to link data points in random financial reports. The task looked horribly complicated as each report had its own formatting, style and corporate language. Looking for key word matches to identify meaning and context was not an option. Even the most advanced algorithms still struggle to understand the basics of human languages let alone financial slang and the byzantine complexity of the markets.
The Eureka moment came when we found that numerical information in financial reports is usually presented in form of sums and breakdowns with data points forming mathematical relationships. When every number relates to every other number, data integrity becomes much simpler, and data points can be mapped. We no longer looked for the right number in a 100-page report. Instead, we looked for a data point in the context of dozens or even hundreds of other numbers related to each other in a unique way. ‘Income tax’ was no longer just two words. It became a specific item sitting between Net profit and Pre-tax profit in the hierarchical structure of company accounts. In other words we deal with the original accounting structures rather than a miasma of words and numbers. For every single company this means that its FULL report can now be ACCURATELY matched and compared across time.
After two years of research and development, the Exerica team has come up with a solution for Microsoft Excel which is the natural domain of all financial professionals. The plugin is designed in such a way that literally nothing changes in the way analysts normally do their job. There is an original pdf report and there is your Excel spreadsheet. Yet, instead of searching and typing you just spread Excel formulas. This solution, without exaggeration, can save more than 50%! of every analyst’s time, liberating intellects from repetitive drudgery, and opening up opportunities for much more compleх and sophisticated financial research.
The Exerica team is very excited about the product we are building, and I look forward to being able to talk about all the great work the team has been doing here. The most exciting part of our job at the moment is the development of AI that analyses and links accounting structures of completely different companies . The ultimate objective is to be able to aggregate data across the world and create radically new data sets for economists and researchers alike. We will discuss this in more detail in this blog going forward. We also plan to talk about the new features in our Excel plugin and analyse interesting cases and examples. Stick around.
In the meantime we would be happy to hear about your needs in financial analysis. Whether it is an update of your spreadsheet or some specific data set requirement or automation of the whole risk management function we would be glad to get involved and take your financial analysis capacity to the next generation!