Many years ago (when I had long hair and glasses), I wrote a silly little hack – the Made-up-ness Quotient calculator – to run a simple statistical test on the numbers in company’s SEC filings. The idea is very simple: when humans make up numbers, the distribution of digits in those numbers is very different from those generated by actual true data. In particular, human-generated numbers don’t follow Benford’s Law, whereas real financial data generally will. People thought it was cool, but I never took it public because (a) if it had a bug and people made investment decisions based on that, I would feel bad and maybe get sued, (b) the obvious thing to do is write a generic framework to perform these analyses and share the results.
And with that, I am free to make my Made-up-ness Quotient calculator public again:
First person to implement a Benford’s Law test on this system wins a Friends help friends use Linux shirt.