Issued: October 18, 2010
Impact: All US GAAP


Concerns have been raised about the ability to identify the financial report type in an XBRL instance, e.g., balance sheet, income statement.  To compensate, data aggregators have been using text matching to identify to a report which is ambiguous and may not be accurate.  We expect that this will become harder as notes are added, leading to a greater chance of false matches.


Use the abstract elements defined in the US GAAP taxonomy to identify the primary financial statements in the presentation linkbase.

For example, use the abstract item StatementOfFinancialPositionAbstract to represent the balance sheet. This abstract item has been defined in the presentation linkbase by the vast majority of companies who have filed; in most cases, this will not impact most filers.

Filers should use the following abstract elements in the presentation linkbase to indicate the financial report that is being presented:


Balance Sheet StatementOfFinancialPositionAbstract
Income Statement IncomeStatementAbstract
Statement Of Stockholders Equity StatementOfStockholdersEquityAbstract
Statement of Cash Flows StatementOfCashFlowsAbstract
Statement of Direct Cash Flows OperatingCashFlowsDirectMethodAbstract
Statement Of Partners Capital StatementOfPartnersCapitalAbstract

[1] The group discussed standardizing the extended link so that financial statements could be identified using the extended link.  This was believed to be a better solution.  However, this will require significant changes in an established process.  It was felt that this was not a viable short term solution but should be addressed in the longer term by the SEC.  A number of members also raised the fact that standard abstract items should also be used to represent the notes disclosures so that specific notes could be identified.  Any guidance on this has been deferred until further detailed footnote tagging is completed.