Wednesday, October 20, 2010

XBRL U.S. Best Practice Committee Issues First Report

Earlier this week, XBRL US, the national consortium for eXtensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL reporting standards, announced the formation of a Best Practices Committee. The announcement follows news earlier this year that "since the mandate for public company reporting in XBRL became effective in June 2009 ... Over 14,000 problems related solely to the use of the US GAAP Taxonomy have been identified in those filings, ranging from incorrect signs to missing concepts." (See XBRL-US white paper, June 2010 version: Avoiding Common Errors in XBRL Creation.)

As noted in this week's XBRL-US press release:

The [Best Practice] committee is charged with identifying and reaching agreement on best practices in the creation of XBRL-formatted financial statements from public companies reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ...

To date over 1,440 companies have submitted more than 3,400 XBRL exhibits to comply with the SEC's mandate which started in June 2009. By June 2011, every public company will be required [by the SEC] to report financial statement information in XBRL format. Through analysis of these submissions, the Best Practice Committee has established guidance on specific topics including concepts used for shares issued and outstanding, accrual items in cash flow statements and the use of units and segment tables.

'Published Guidance From The Committee Should Be Considered"
My two cents (and I direct you to the disclaimer on the right side of this blog), perhaps significantly, the XBRL-US press release adds:
Published guidance from the committee should be considered by public company
preparers in their XBRL preparation process.
Refer to the XBRL-US Best Practice Committee's first periodic report; the committee invites suggestions for future issues to be considered, as noted in the press release linked above.

FEI Following Developments, Offers Educational Materials
FEI's Committee on Finance and Information Technology (CFIT), one of FEI's accounting policy and advocacy committees, is closly following developments with respect to XBRL reporting. Additionally, FEI's research affiliate, the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) has published various reports relating to the use of XBRL. The most recent report, Best Practices in Outsourcing XBRL, published September, 2010, can be found in FERF's online bookstore.

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