Tutorial on How to Quickly Detect Changes in the Footnotes


You’ve heard and read it over and over again. Management will try to hide information in the footnotes, therefore read the footnotes, read the footnotes, read the footnotes.

But if you are a normal person you don’t like to spend all day, or don’t have the time to spend, reading every fine print in the quarterly and annual reports for each of your companies.

What if I told you there was an easier way?


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Jae Jun

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Changes in the Footnotes

Changes in the Footnotes

Changes in the Footnotes. What to Expect | Flickr: Stephanie Moussie

What can you expect when there are changes in the footnotes?

You’ve heard and read it over and over again. Management will try to hide information in the footnotes, therefore read the footnotes, read the footnotes, read the footnotes.

But if you are a normal person you don’t like to spend all day, or don’t have the time to spend, reading every fine print in the quarterly and annual reports for each of your companies.

What if I told you there was an easier way?

3 Minutes can Save you 3 Hours

That method is to simply let Microsoft Word compare the documents for you and let you know whether there are any changes.

So simple, it’s brilliant. It’s a lesson from Financial Shenanigans that I’ve been using to make things easier.

This will undoubtedly save you tons of time. After all, you only need to read the differences between each filed report. First see what I’m talking about.

This is just one of the changes that was detected between Dolby’s Q2 and Q3 report. Try to detect this by hand and it will be a nightmare.

Now let me show you how easily this is done.

This tutorial is based on Office 2007, but it also works on word 2000 and 2003.

Step 1: Copy the Reports from SEC

  • Go search for the company filings from the SEC
  • (In my case, I’m looking at DLB and the 10-Q reports)
  • Open the latest Q3 report, select all the text and then copy it. (Press CTRL A or right click and select “select all”)

Step 2: Paste to Microsoft Word

  • Open Microsoft Word and then paste in the document. You’ll end up with a document that looks just like the filing.
  • Save the document. See the animated image below.

Step 3: Do it Again with the Previous Document

  • Now that the Q3 document has been copied, pasted and saved, do it again for the Q2 report.

Step 4: Compare Changes in Microsoft Word

  • Now with any of the documents open, select “Review” in the ribbon and then “Compare”.

  • When you select compare, a window will open.

  • In the original document, select the Q2 document, and in the revised document, select the Q3 document.
  • Deselect all the check boxes because you only want to see the word differences. You can choose to check or uncheck “Tables”.
  • Press ok. The images below will be what you see.

And that is how you detect Changes in the Footnotes. If you liked this tutorial please share it  by liking or tweeting it. If you have other ideas for tutorials, leave your comment below.

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