The SEC's position on XBRL

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In January of 2009, the SEC issued a mandate that entities provide financial statement information in the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). Key aspects of the mandate:

  • An XBRL exhibit is required to be submitted with US GAAP financial statements in addition to the existing traditional format (ASCII or HTML) in SEC filings.
  • The SEC XBRL requirement for financial statements does not currently apply to investment companies.
  • All non investment company filers are required to detail tag all amounts (numbers) in the financial statements, footnotes and schedules (in addition to block tagging the footnotes and tables).
  • Companies filing XBRL are subject to the ordinary legal exposure associated with all SEC filings with the exception of the initial 24 months, where the liability is limited (e.g. expires for calendar year accelerated and non accelerated filers on August 15, 2013).

Why XBRL?
Previously static text-based information can now be dynamically searched and analyzed, facilitating the comparison of financial and business performance across companies, reporting periods and industries.