CIT students tackle financial data with new product
Parker Woods and Joshua Hall show off their Web-based product, eX-developed.
Two computer and information technology students placed third in the annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan competition (undergraduate division) with their financial comparison product, ex-Developed.
The product takes advantage of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings to compare corporate financial information.
“XBRL is fairly new and a lot of people at companies across the country are trying to figure out what this all means,” said junior Parker Woods, co-founder of ex-Developed.
Woods teamed with senior Joshua Hall to create the Web-based tool that easily compares SEC filings in this new format. They believe their product is the first of its kind in development.
“We got great feedback from the judges,” Hall said. “They wanted us to continue pursuing it.”
The Web site allows users to extract information from financial statements and compare them, even if companies use different terminology for similar line items.
“Portfolio managers, for example, can use this to get the most information possible to make the best investments,” Hall said.
The SEC will soon require that all operating companies file their financial information in interactive data format, specifically XBRL.
“This is huge,” Woods said.
Companies must go through thousands of lines of information and add XBRL tags to make them interactive.
The positive feedback and real-world experience were the best parts of taking part in the competition, Hall and Woods agreed.
The real-world experience included figuring out the best ways to communicate their information technology visions to investors who may not understand the technical aspects. It also put their CIT coursework to use.
“We took a lot of analysis and design classes from the get-go,” Hall said. “By going through this process, we learned why we took the classes we did.”
In fact, they are thankful for the breadth of experiences they’ve received in the classroom and the computer lab.
“I am graduating with critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and real-world skills that are useable immediately. I have friends in similar programs at other colleges, and they have not had the same experiences as we’ve been able to get,” Hall said.
He said the entrepreneurship competitions — he’s participated twice — helped set him apart as he was searching for information technology jobs.
While Hall starts his career in information technology and Woods completes his degree, they continue to plan for other entrepreneurship opportunities. Both are interested in using their skills in the healthcare field.