What is XBRL?
XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an information standard that will significantly change business reporting. Designed specifically to enhance business information exchange, XBRL is an electronic format for simplifying the flow of financial statements, performance reports, accounting records, and other internal and external financial information between software programs. A major advantage is complete compatibility in communication as well as presentation on the INTERNET. Today, companies use many different hard copy and electronic formats to report and exchange financial information including annual reports and regulatory filings.
XBRL is based on eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and is independent of any hardware platform, software operating system, programming language or accounting standard. The standard is being supported by more than 200 organisations worldwide – the XBRL International consortium.
Who has developed XBRL?
XBRL International is made up of over 200 global companies, including the world’s leading accounting, technology, government and financial services bodies.
For producers of information, it means 'prepare once, use many times'. It will be cheaper and faster to produce and deliver better, even real-time, information to stakeholders for immediate analysis and decisionmaking.For consumers of information, who have had to hunt down information and manually input it into their systems, XBRL will exponentially increase the transparency of reported information by allowing instant access and reuse. More time will be spent analysing, rather than gathering, information.
The consortium is responsible for raising the awareness of XBRL, driving its adoption and developing taxonomies – the dictionaries of terms that form XBRL.
For a current and comprehensive list of all companies participating in XBRL development, please go to http://www.xbrl.org, the website of XBRL International.
What are the benefits of XBRL?
XBRL offers wide-ranging benefits to all participants in the business reporting supply chain – both consumers and prepares of financial information: accountants, auditors,financial analysts, investors, creditors, the public sector, business and technology decision makers, such as the CFO, CIO, CTO, Controller, and senior executives of Finance, Investor Relations, Financial Research, Software vendors, and Information Technology.
- CPAs and CPA firms: XBRL allows CPAs to focus on the value-added work of analysing business information. CPAs also benefit from the reduction in data errors and the increased speed at which information is accessible.
- Companies who prepare business reports and financial statements: These companies can increase efficiency and accuracy in the preparation of business reports and financial statements because they are created one time and published as printed reports or on web sites, exchanged in internal corporate reports, or submitted as regulatory filings.
- Financial publishers and data aggregators: More efficient data collection lowers operating costs associated with custom data feeds and reduces errors, allowing these groups to concentrate on adding value to the data and increasing transaction capacity.
- Analysts, Investors, and Regulators: Consumers of business reports benefit from new possibilities in automated analysis and more frequent release of information. These groups also benefits from receiving information in an electronic, reusable format.
- Independent Software Vendors: Virtually any software product that manages financial information can use XBRL for its data export and import formats, thereby increasing its potential for full interoperability with other financial and analytical applications. XBRL also opens up better pro duct possibilities for analyzing the information in business reports.
- Information Technology consultants: Like software vendors, this community can discover better opportunities that result from XBRL adoption. These opportunities include data and application integration as well as customizing analytical programs and reviewing the impact XBRL can have on IT throughout the customer's enterprise.
Who is already using XBRL?
Many of the world’s exchanges and regulatory bodies are in various stages of XBRL acceptance: Danish Commerce and Companies agency, Dutch Water Boards, UK Inland Revenue, the US Federal Deposit Insurance Commission, Toronto Stock Exchange and the Tax Authority of Japan.
Organisations working on XBRL include Morgan Stanley, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Reuters,the Big Four and many more.
What is happening with XBRL in Sweden?
Over the last years there has been a growing interest in Sweden for XBRL. Interest has been shown from the public sector (e.g Bolagsverket and Skatteverket), software vendors and companies specially in the financial services sector.
XBRL will have a significant impact on the flow of financial information in Sweden. It will make the production of financial information more efficient, secure and transparent and thus it will have an impact on the private and public sector as well as their auditors. Therefore, the two large accounting organisations FAR and SRF have agreed to become the founders of the Swedish XBRL organisation.
XBRL Sweden was established and approved by XBRL International in 2004. XBRL Sweden is an Established Jurisdiction. XBRL Sweden has an open membership.
For more information about XBRL, please visit www.xbrl.org.