How Oracle Supports XBRL

While grabbing my afternoon cookie and coffee, I ran into our resident accounting expert, Seamus Moran. I asked him if he could elaborate on how Oracle Applications supports XBRL reporting.

For you accountants, XBRL should be part of your vocabulary since the SEC has mandated that all public companies use XBRL to report financial results. As of June 2009, large accelerated filers were mandated to use XBRL, and all other public companies must comply by June 2011.

For you non-accountants, XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It's a form of the XML language used for electronic communication of business and financial data. Simply put, it's reporting electronically. Just like PDFs or spreadsheets are a type of output, XBRL is another output option in electronic form. For more information, you can visit http://www.xbrl.org.

Seamus represents Oracle as a member of the XBRL Consortium. In Seamus' usual way of answering my questions, he gave me my answer plus some interesting tidbits that I'd like to share.

XBRL International is an independent organization that works closely with IASB. In fact, the IASB and XBRL folks all sit in the same building in the U.K. There are different XBRL jurisdictions for different countries and regions. The U.S. uses a U.S. GAAP version of XBRL while the rest of the world uses IFRS. China even uses an IFRS version of XBRL which was interesting to me because China is a Communist country using a capitalist accounting principle. China has large stock markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong so they need to require IFRS in order to attract capital. Talk about capitalist!

Question: How does Oracle support XBRL reporting?
Answer: The latest XBRL 2.1 specifications are supported by Oracle Hyperion Financial Reporting, which is included with the Hyperion Financial Management and Hyperion Planning products. Hyperion stores not only the financial balances needed to produce financial reports but also the disclosures and footnotes that you need to produce your 10K and 8K filings. Therefore, the logical extension is to produce XBRL-compliant reports from your consolidated data. The designer can take a report, attach XBRL metadata, then export the report as an instance document.

As you may or not know, the current XBRL taxonomies are not comprehensive across all industries. For example, when United Airlines needed to disclose fuel costs which were high last year, there was no term for it in the taxonomy. They needed the ability to extend the taxonomy but their current software didn't support it.

Oracle has teamed up with UBmatrix, the leading provider of XBRL-based information exchange solutions, to offer capabilities to extend taxonomies.

However, the real strength of Hyperion is its ability to automate the close-to-report cycle, including the automatic tagging of financial items. A financial close management solution was showcased at the last Oracle Open World conference. It is not available yet, but you can read more about it from an analyst:
http://www.ventanaresearch.com/blog/commentblog.aspx?id=3335

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Focusing on solutions for the Office of Finance, this blog will highlight key financial management market trends, events and other news of interest.

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