I’m often asked: why do you spend so much time with XBRL, both professionally and as a volunteer? What is it about XBRL that so attracts you? I started my professional life on the business side, in banking. As I became immersed in the various operational challenges bankers face, I became fascinated by how many problems derive from one common issue: the difficulty of having the right information available at the right time. This realization led to an interest in the IT side, and I began to come up with solutions to the problems that faced me....read more
Q The DATA Act aims at introducing open standards for the communication and publication of Government data. Doesn’t this require changing all the software applications and information systems of the reporting agencies, which tanslates into huge additional costs? A Actually, the opposite is true. Firstly, existing information systems do not have to be changed to enable them to generate data using open standards such as XBRL. This is a common misconception, mostly based on inefficient approaches adopted by software vendors and users to embed...read more
Adopting XBRL for companies’ internal data needs represents nothing less than an epochal shift to a new paradigm for handling data. The current paradigm is built on processes that are manual, resource-intensive, and error-prone. A lot of money and resources is spent on these processes, which typically require software replacement or upgrades at high cost. The large outlays include not only the purchase price, but transition and training costs as well. But again and again, organizations find themselves in the very same situation that prompted...read more
Q What is a Standard Business Reporting (SBR) program, and what are its defining features? A SBR programs are regulatory initiatives aimed at streamlining and reducing the cost of business-to-government reporting. There are currently two officially recognized SBR programs: the Standard Business Reporting Programma in The Netherlands and the Standard Business Reporting Program in Australia. The SBR approach is also under consideration by various other countries. The key features that distinguish a SBR initiative are: They are...read more
A few different documents and reports recently published by the Australian Government offer a wealth of information on the origin and history of the SBR program, on its current status, on its impact on the Australian business environment so far and on its future perspectives. The Productivity Commission Report On May 15, 2012 the Productivity Commission of the Australian Government — an independent research and advisory body on a range of economic, social and environmental issues — published a research report titled “Impacts of the Council of...read more
XBRL FAQ: XBRL is not a transactional standard, and at the same time it is used to represent transactions in domains like HR, auditing, integrated reporting. Why is that?
Q I often hear that XBRL should not be used to record transactions, but I also hear about the benefits of XBRL in domains like human resources, manufacturing, auditing, integrated reporting, where much of the relevant information is transactional in nature. How is this possible? A XBRL is not a transactional standard, meaning that it was not conceived nor optimized to standardize transactional data — such as invoices, orders, time sheets, or sustainability information — for the purpose of easily exchanging them between different parties....read more
Q I hear a lot about the benefits of XBRL re-usability. What does this mean in practice? A XBRL is a technical specification optimized to represent business and accounting data. This means that the same syntax and the same semantic model can be used to represent very different types of information – such as financial statements, tax returns, invoices, inventory, fixed assets, trial balances, payroll information, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), sustainability data, just to make a few examples. These different types of information are used...read more
XBRL FAQ: Does a Taxonomy Extension Create Additional Burdens for the Base Taxonomy Owner or the Extender?
Q Does the fact that a user creates an extension to a regulatory taxonomy create confusion and additional burdens for the owner of the base taxonomy (the regulator), for the filing process in general, and for the extender, for example when a new version of the base taxonomy is released? A No, it does not. An extension to a taxonomy can be created for one of the following reasons: Because the filing program supported by the base taxonomy is an open program – which means that it allows, or even requires, filings based on a filer-specific...read more
Introducing DEXT — the Deeply Embedded XBRL Toolkit for data integration, internal and external reporting, data monitoring and auditing
While the benefits of XBRL in terms of data transparency, cost savings and greater efficiencies in handling data are widely recognized by data consumers (regulators, analysts and investors), businesses and not-for-profit organizations are not typically looking at XBRL to achieve the same benefits internally. IPHIX is releasing DEXT, a set of software tools, free knowledge bases and other resources that help organizations do just that – leverage the benefits of “deeply embedded XBRL” internally, whether they are subject to an XBRL mandate or...read more
There are so many email newsletters out there, and if everybody is like me many of them remain mostly unread. Great sources of XBRL related news abound — the news feed at xbrl.org, some very comprehensive daily Twitter summaries, and many others. IPHIX just released the first issue of iNEWS, a monthly newsletter that provides a list of key XBRL updates, and one may wonder why we felt that it could be useful. The idea is to provide a one-stop source of relevant XBRL developments and of key non-XBRL stories from the financial reporting world,...read more