How companies report their financials can have a big impact on investing, and ultimately on the economy. That’s why issuers, analysts, investors and data analytics providers, as well as XBRL tool and service providers should comment on the SEC’s new rule proposal for Inline XBRL.
Switching to structured (XBRL) data after using HTML versions of financial filings is like trading in your flip phone for an iPhone. Wow. Suddenly you can do things you never thought possible.
In 1974, the first Universal Product Code (UPC) was scanned in Troy, Ohio, automating what had been a manual process for recording sales. The first item scanned was a pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum. The UPC revolutionized the retail grocery business, using technology standards to wring costs out of a process that required the collection of massive amounts of data.
As we begin a brand new year, it’s always good to make a few resolutions that go beyond joining a health club, eating right and losing weight. So we have three recommendations to add to your list of resolutions. The first is get involved in industry efforts to improve the usability of XBRL data submitted to the SEC. It won’t require a lot of effort and you will receive some important benefits. For a small investment of your time, you will be on the forefront of imminent, groundbreaking regulatory changes, and you will be able to reduce your workload while significantly improving the quality of your XBRL financial data submitted to the SEC.
Formats are sometimes mistaken as financial data standards by regulators, government agencies and businesses. It’s a misunderstanding with significant consequences for comprehensive, comparable, interoperable data collection and use.