Over 30 regulators across the globe, including HM Revenue & Customs in the UK, the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), and the European Banking Authority have mandated XBRL as the required electronic reporting format.
What is XBRL and what does it mean for me?
Extensible business reporting language (XBRL) is the financial and operational business reporting offshoot of Extensible Markup Language (XML), which is a freely-licensable, open technology standard used to electronically exchange business information. XML is a universally preferred data description language used to describe the storage, manipulation and exchange data via the Internet.
The idea behind XBRL is simple. Instead of treating financial information as a static text – as in a standard internet page or a printed document, XBRL provides an identifying tag for each individual item of data, whether numeric or textual. This tag is computer readable and allows the information to be used interactively.
What are the benefits?
For several years now, momentum has been building towards a single global electronic financial reporting standard which would allow more efficient retrieval and analysis of financial information. Some of the key objectives of this movement towards digital reporting are to provide more consistent financial information, which is delivered better, faster and cheaper. In addition, a digital format supports more informed business and investing decisions, including greater comparability within and across enterprises.
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