top of page

Structuring Knowledge Graphs for Financial Data in Annual Reports



In today's data-driven world, organizations are increasingly looking for ways to leverage their data assets more effectively. Knowledge Graphs (KGs) have emerged as a powerful tool for representing and querying complex, interconnected data. While KGs have been widely used for representing entities such as people, places, and organizations, their application to financial data, particularly in the context of annual reports, is a relatively new and unexplored area. Annual reports are a rich source of financial information, containing balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and other financial tables. Representing this data in a Knowledge Graph can facilitate more efficient querying, analysis, and exploration of financial information. However, the structure and representation of financial data in a KG require careful consideration to ensure that the graph accurately captures the relationships and semantics of the data.



Representing Financial Entities and Values


The first step in structuring a KG for financial data is to identify the key entities and their relationships. In the context of annual reports, the primary entities are likely to be financial accounts (e.g., "Current Assets," "Retained Earnings," "Revenue," etc.), time periods (e.g., fiscal years or quarters), and potentially companies or subsidiaries. When it comes to representing the actual financial values, there are several approaches that can be taken:


  • Representing Values as Properties: One approach is to create an entity for each financial account and represent the corresponding values as properties of that entity. For example, you could create an entity "Current Assets" with properties like "2021 Value: $1,234,567" and "2020 Value: $987,654".

  • Representing Values as Entities: Alternatively, you could create separate entities for each value, with the financial account and time period being represented as relationships. For example, you could have an entity "$1,234,567" with relationships like "Value Of: Current Assets" and "Year: 2021".

  • Hybrid Approach: A third approach is to combine the two previous methods, creating entities for both financial accounts and values. In this case, you would have an entity "Current Assets" and a separate entity "2021 Value" with a property like "Amount: $1,234,567". The relationship between these entities could be something like "has value" or "value for year".


The choice of approach will depend on factors such as the granularity of the data, the types of queries you plan to run, and the specific KG model and query language you are using.


Representing Relationships and Hierarchies


In addition to representing financial values, it's important to capture the relationships and hierarchies that exist within financial data. For example, in a balance sheet, "Current Assets" is a parent account that contains sub-accounts like "Cash and Cash Equivalents," "Accounts Receivable," and "Inventories." Similarly, in an income statement, "Revenue" may have sub-accounts for different revenue streams. To represent these hierarchies in a KG, you can use relationships like "has sub-account" or "is parent account of." Additionally, you may want to capture relationships between different financial statements, such as the relationship between "Net Income" on the income statement and "Retained Earnings" on the balance sheet.


Here's an example of how you could represent the hierarchy of accounts and their relationships in a KG:


Entity: Current Assets

Relationships:

has sub-account: Cash and Cash Equivalents

has sub-account: Accounts Receivable

has sub-account: Inventories

Entity: Cash and Cash Equivalents

Relationships:

is sub-account of: Current Assets

Entity: Accounts Receivable

Relationships:

is sub-account of: Current Assets

Entity: Inventories

Relationships:

is sub-account of: Current Assets


Querying and Analyzing Financial Data in a KG


One of the key advantages of representing financial data in a KG is the ability to query and analyze the data more efficiently. Depending on the KG model and query language you are using, you can construct complex queries that leverage the relationships and hierarchies within the data. For example, let's say you want to retrieve the total value of current assets for a particular year. With a well-structured KG, you could construct a query that traverses the relationships between the "Current Assets" entity, its sub-accounts, and their corresponding values for the desired year.


SELECT SUM(?value)

WHERE {

?currentAssets rdfs:label "Current Assets" .

?currentAssets has_sub_account ?subAccount .

?subAccount ?year_value ?value .

?year_value year:value ?year .

FILTER (?year = 2021)

}


This query first identifies the "Current Assets" entity, then finds all its sub-accounts, and finally aggregates the values of those sub-accounts for the year 2021. Similarly, you could construct queries to analyze trends over time, compare financial performance across different entities (e.g., companies or subsidiaries), or explore the relationships between different financial statements and accounts.


Challenges and Considerations


While representing financial data in a KG can offer significant benefits, there are also several challenges and considerations to keep in mind:


  • Data Quality and Consistency: Financial data in annual reports can sometimes be inconsistent or incomplete. Ensuring data quality and consistency is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the KG.

  • Handling Updates and Changes: Financial data is often updated or revised over time, and the KG should be designed to handle these changes gracefully.

  • Metadata and Provenance: It's important to capture metadata and provenance information about the financial data, such as the source document, reporting standards used, and any assumptions or calculations applied.

  • Domain-Specific Ontologies: While general-purpose ontologies like RDF and OWL can be used to represent financial data, it may be beneficial to leverage domain-specific ontologies or vocabularies designed specifically for financial data.

  • Integration with Other Data Sources: Financial data in annual reports may need to be integrated with other data sources, such as market data, industry benchmarks, or company-specific information.

  • Scalability and Performance: As the size and complexity of the financial data grow, considerations around scalability and query performance become increasingly important.


Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of representing financial data in a KG, such as improved querying, analysis, and data exploration, make it a promising area for further research and development.


Use Case: Financial Performance Analysis


To better understand the practical application of Knowledge Graphs for financial data, let's consider a use case involving financial performance analysis. Imagine you are an analyst tasked with analyzing the financial performance of a company over several years, comparing it with industry benchmarks and identifying potential areas of concern or opportunity.


Step 1: Data Ingestion and Transformation: The first step in this process would be to ingest the company's annual reports for the relevant years and extract the financial data from various tables and statements. This data would then need to be transformed and cleaned to ensure consistency and adherence to a common data model.


Step 2: Building the Knowledge Graph: Once the data is prepared, you can begin building the Knowledge Graph. In this case, you might structure the KG with the following entities and relationships:


  • Financial Accounts: Entities representing different financial accounts, such as "Current Assets," "Revenue," "Operating Expenses," etc.

  • Time Periods: Entities representing fiscal years or quarters.

  • Companies: Entities representing the company being analyzed and potentially industry peers or benchmarks.

  • Financial Values: Entities or properties representing the actual financial values, linked to the corresponding financial account, time period, and company.

  • Relationships: Relationships capturing hierarchies (e.g., "has sub-account"), associations (e.g., "value for account"), and comparisons (e.g., "higher than benchmark").


Here's an example of how this structure might look:


Entity: Current Assets

Relationships:

has sub-account: Cash and Cash Equivalents

has sub-account: Accounts Receivable

has sub-account: Inventories

Entity: Cash and Cash Equivalents

Relationships:

is sub-account of: Current Assets

2021 Value: $1,234,567

2020 Value: $987,654

Entity: Accounts Receivable

Relationships:

is sub-account of: Current Assets

2021 Value: $456,789

2020 Value: $345,678

Entity: Inventories

Relationships:

is sub-account of: Current Assets

2021 Value: $789,012

2020 Value: $654,321

Entity: Company ABC

Relationships:

has financial account: Current Assets

Entity: Industry Benchmark

Relationships:

2021 Current Assets Value: $2,000,000

2020 Current Assets Value: $1,800,000


In this example, the financial accounts have sub-accounts, and each sub-account has values for different time periods. The company being analyzed ("Company ABC") is linked to the financial accounts, and industry benchmarks are represented as separate entities with their own values.


Step 3: Querying and Analysis: With the Knowledge Graph in place, you can now construct queries to analyze the financial performance of the company. For example, you could query for the total current assets of the company and compare it with the industry benchmark. You could also construct queries to analyze trends over time, such as changes in revenue or operating expenses, or explore relationships between different financial accounts and statements.


Step 4: Visualization and Reporting: The results of your queries can then be visualized and presented in various formats, such as charts, graphs, or interactive dashboards. These visualizations can help you communicate your findings and insights more effectively to stakeholders, such as management or investors.

Additionally, you could integrate the Knowledge Graph with other data sources, such as market data or industry reports, to provide a more comprehensive view of the company's financial performance and competitive position.


Representing financial data from annual reports in a Knowledge Graph can be a powerful tool for enhancing analysis, querying, and exploration capabilities. By carefully structuring the KG to capture the relationships and hierarchies within the data, analysts and decision-makers can gain deeper insights into a company's financial performance, identify trends and patterns, and make more informed decisions.

However, building an effective KG for financial data requires careful consideration of data quality, consistency, and domain-specific ontologies. It also necessitates a deep understanding of the financial domain and the ability to translate complex financial concepts into a graph-based representation. As the adoption of Knowledge Graphs continues to grow, we can expect to see more innovative applications in the financial sector, enabling more sophisticated analysis and decision-making based on the rich information contained within annual reports and other financial data sources.

31 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page