The taxonomy has a number of axis elements that were created to support members that represent a company’s operating or geographical reporting segments. However, companies have created extension items to represent segments, used qualified segment axis for broad reporting purposes, or used inappropriate members on segments. The following discusses the different problems associated with segments.
Extension Axis Elements created for Segments
Whenever an axis element is created to capture segment data, it becomes impossible for data aggregators to identify what constitutes a reporting or geographical segment. Segmental reporting information is a key component of financial reporting data and allowing automated access to this information is a huge advantage of XBRL over traditional data collection techniques. The taxonomy provides sufficient axis to capture segments, but some companies have created extensions that are duplicative of an existing axis.
For example, a company created an extended element called AssetsBySegmentAxis and then represented the data associated with this axis as an intersection of the line item “Assets” and the business segments of the company. The custom axis reports no additional information and does not provide information on the type of segment. The company should have used the element StatementBusinessSegmentsAxis. Companies should not create an extension axis for segments that qualifies the segment axis by a financial reporting line item (Assets of each Segment) as the line items on the table serve this function. Examples of these in filings to date include the following:
|Example Extensions for the Segment Axis
A company created an extended element called BusinessSegmentsAxis. This element was defined as business segments and was a duplicate of an element already in the taxonomy.
Use of Inappropriate Axis for Segments
The element StatementOperatingActivitiesSegmentAxis should be used to distinguish continuing and discontinued operations. Some companies have incorrectly used this axis to represent business reporting segments. Companies should be careful to ensure that they do not use this axis to represent business segments.
The segmental reporting note should follow the segmental reporting guidance published by FASB.