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Use of n/a in data items rather than 0
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TOPIC: Use of n/a in data items rather than 0

Use of n/a in data items rather than 0 1 month, 2 weeks ago #2756

As I'm creating custom variables to use in my screening, I'm coming across the issue of getting lots of results as "n/a". It appears that, if a particular company doesn't report a particular line item on its financial statements, the data comes back as "n/a". Unfortunately, if one variable in a calculated custom variable returns an "n/a" value, the custom variable returns "n/a". Here is a simple example. In my formula to calculate Tangible Fixed Assets, I subtract Goodwill and Intangible Assets. Some companies report both, but others do not. For companies that don't report Intangible Assets as a line item on their Balance Sheet, "n/a" will be returned as the data item. This causes my Tangible Fixed Assets calculation to return "n/a", which is not representative or helpful. Is it possible to have "0" used for line items that aren't reported instead of "n/a"? That way, customized formulas will still work. Thanks.
Thomas

Re: Use of n/a in data items rather than 0 1 month, 2 weeks ago #2757

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Though it is not intuitive, you can create a new Advanced Custom Variable (under Variables->Create Advanced Variable) that recodes NULL to 0 for each variable that you want to recode. For example, you could use the generalized formula:

IFNULL([insert variable to recode from Add Variable menu],0)

so, for Intangible Assets(I), the formula would be:

IFNULL(intangibleassetsq/currencyexchangeq,0)

You could then use whatever name you assigned this new variable (it needs to be globally unique) in Free Form Conditions or Free Form Columns in place of the original variable.

When doing this, NULL values for the original variable will be recoded to 0.
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