What's New with XBRL?

The answer is – quite a bit!  Over the past 2 months I had the chance to attend and speak at the XBRL US Conference in Nashville, as well as the XBRL International Conference in Montreal.  The adoption of XBRL as an electronic standard for business communications is accelerating around the world, with many companies adopting it for financial reporting and many new projects underway.  Here are the highlights and key points I took away from the two conferences.

XBRL US Conference – The XBRL US National Conference for 2011 was held in Nashville September 26 – 27th at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.  The conference had about 300 attendees, roughly half of which were accounting/finance staff from corporate filers, and the rest representing vendors, consultants and service providers.  Before the conference started, XBRL US held its Committee and General Members meetings.  The conference agenda included general sessions with keynotes and panel discussions on various topics, as well as XBRL Essentials Training sessions for corporate filers.

Some of the highlights from general sessions included:

  • Public Company Viewpoint – Frank Brod – Chief Accounting Officer, Microsoft

  • Regulatory Viewpoint - Mike Starr - Deputy Chief Accountant, US SEC

  • XBRL Panel:  Beyond the SEC - Corporate Use of XBRL to Communicate with Other Regulators, Industry Groups and Other Stakeholders

  • XBRL Panel:  Investor Communications

  • Corporate Competitive Analysis Panel

  • Corporate Actions Panel

Key takeaways from the sessions included:

By integrating XBRL with the financial close process, Microsoft reduced the reporting cycle – released earnings sooner, 10Q on day 20, late changes to filings are supported through in-house projects.  Microsoft filings posted in HTML on Investor Relations site, with XBRL data source  

The US SEC says there will be 6500 active filers by the end of 2011, 8300 when all are phased in.  Foreign filers are waiting on the IFRS taxonomy to be approved – SEC anticipates approval of IFRS taxonomy in first half 2012.  Concerns:  detailed tagging, concurrent filings, capacity.  Benefits:  easier analysis, identify outliers, easier to consume disclosures, more software licenses.  Trends:  costs will drop, in-house tagging will increase, more authoring and consumption tools, industry group standards, clearer disclosures.  Expectation that industry extensions and disclosure formats will standardize over time.

XBRL has made it easier for regulators like the FDIC to consume and analyze bank filings.  Easier for the banks to file since XBRL handles many calculations

Corporate filers expect to see more benefits when XBRL can be used to file with multiple agencies/regulators.  In other countries, Standardized Business Reporting (SBR) efforts are yielding results with multiple agencies either mandating XBRL or accepting on a voluntary basis – i.e. Australia, Belgium etc.

Aggregators are using XBRL data – massaging to provide consistency across companies, analysts and investors starting to leverage XBRL data directly and from aggregators.  Some concerns about data consistency with extensions.  Tagging of earnings press releases would be helpful to investors and analysts.  Industry taxonomies will help improve comparability.

XBRL Essentials Training classes included:

  • Essentials Basics:  Seleting the Right Tag

  • Essentials Basics:  Checking Your Work

  • Essentials Basics:  Managing the Process

  • Essentials Basics:  XBRL Controls Process

  • Essentials Advanced:  Getting into the Details – With Detailed Footnote Tagging

  • Essentials Advanced:  Outsource vs. In-House XBRL Creation

  • Essentials Advanced:  Crossing the Finish Line – Process, Timing and Quality Control

  • Essentials Advanced:  What Comes Next:  Transitioning to a New Taxonomy Release

This conference has grown substantially over the past few years and now has a critical mass of corporate filers who are attending to get information on XBRL and attend the XBRL Essentials training.  Here’s a link to videos of the keynotes, and copies of all of the presentation and training materials:


XBRL International Conference - The XBRL23 International Conference was held in Montreal, Canada October 25 – 27th at the Le Sheraton Centre.  The theme for the conference was “Enhancing Business Performance”.  The conference had about 300 attendees, including regulators, banks, agencies, and XBRL practitioners from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. 

The conference started with the XBRL International Committee meetings on Monday, then conference sessions and exhibits Tuesday through Thursday.      Here are some of the session highlights:

  • The State of XBRL International

  • Roadmap to XBRL Adoption in Canada

  • UAE:  Securities and Commodities Authority Implementation Project

  • IFRS Convergence in Canada and the IFRS Taxonomy

  • The Implications of XBRL for Financial Statement Audit

  • Update on XBRL Activities at the IASB and IFRS Foundation

  • Risk, OCEG, GRC-XML, Solvency II

  • Launch of the XBRL Abstract Model as Public Working Draft

  • Standard Business Reporting:  SBR and IFRS

  • Deeper XBRL – XBRL’s Global Ledger Framework

  • Climate Change Reporting Taxonomy – Towards Integrated Reporting

  • Improving the Usefulness and Relevance of XBRL-Tagged Data

  • The Evolution to Integrated Reporting

  • First Canadian end-to-end XBRL Implementation – Deposit Insurance Corp.

  • Corporate Actions Project Panel

  • Insurance Project:  Bermuda Monetary Authority Case Study – including Solvency II

  • Global Reporting Initiative Taxonomy

  • Tax Project:  Creation and filing of Inline XBRL in the UK

  • Integrated Reporting in South Africa

  • US GAAP Taxonomy Project:  FASB Best Practices

As you can see from the session list above, there are many different XBRL projects underway around the world, and some of them overlap – i.e. Climate Change Taxonomy vs. GRI Taxonomy for Sustainability Reporting.  There were a number of sessions on Integrated Reporting and how to combine financial statement information with non-financial data tagged in XBRL with different taxonomies.  A number of countries are moving forward with Standard Business Reporting (SBR) where multiple regulators are adopting the XBRL Standard (e.g. Belgium, Netherlands, Australia).   There is also growing interest in Solvency II with the EIOPA mandate (European Insurance Occupational Pensions Authority).

Here’s a link to the XBRL International web site where you can find additional information these global projects:  http://www.xbrl.org/

What’s Oracle up to regarding XBRL? 

Oracle is providing solutions to support both the production and consumption sides of XBRL.  On the production side, we provide Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management and on the consumption side we have the XBRL Extension for Oracle Database 11g.  Information about these solutions can be found on the Oracle web site:

Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management: http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/ent-performance-bi/disclosure-management-065892.html

Oracle Database XBRL Extension:  http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/features/xmldb/index-087631.html

I hope this information is helpful – let me know if you have any comments or questions.


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