The XBRL US Data Quality Committee (DQC) has established four Guiding Principles that are incorporated into the DQC guidance for tagging financial statements in XBRL format. These principles are designed to improve the usability of XBRL data by ensuring the consistency of element selection and data modeling, and allowing the comparison of XBRL data for analysis purposes:
The first principle establishes that the element selection process should be based on the reporting requirements prescribed by the SEC. Making the reporting requirements for public companies the primary consideration for element selection clarifies how registrants use the taxonomy in a consistent manner for similar events or transactions. The SEC has adopted this approach and the EDGAR Filer Manual (EFM) requires the authoritative reference to be the first characteristic to consider when selecting an element (EFM 6.6.29) along with the period type, data type, and standard documentation labels.
The second principle addresses simplification of data modeling. Tagging using the authorized taxonomies should not allow for multiple ways to tag the same required disclosure, which would make the data less comparable and more difficult to consume. Accounting standards require uniform disclosures for the same events and transactions. The DQC guidance issued based on this guiding principle provides a standardized data model for uniform tagging of a required disclosure.
The third principle addresses when extensions can be used, and linked to a standard element in the taxonomy, which allows the extensions to be machine readable because their meaning can be explicitly understood in an automated process. The mission of the Entity Specific Disclosure Task Force of XBRL International is to develop best practices and recommendations on how to ensure that users have sufficient context to automatically handle entity specific disclosures (i.e., ensuring extensions have a useful relationship to standard elements in a base taxonomy). The DQC leverages the recommendations of that task force within the topical guidance developed by the DQC.
The fourth principle addresses basing element selection on the same materiality judgment that is applied in preparing the printed financial statements. Immaterial amounts should have a de minimis impact on element selection.
The DQC may decide to add, remove or update guiding principles as needed. The DQC considers all guiding principles in the development of guidance on topical areas.