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FAQs



What is XBRL?

XBRL is a language for the electronic communication of business and financial data which is revolutionizing business reporting around the world. It provides major benefits in the preparation, analysis and communication of business information. It offers cost savings, greater efficiency and improved accuracy and reliability to all those involved in supplying or using financial data. XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It is already being put to practical use in a number of countries and implementations of XBRL are growing rapidly around the world.

XBRL is a language for the electronic communication of business and financial data which is revolutionizing business reporting around the world. It provides major benefits in the preparation, analysis and communication of business information. It offers cost savings, greater efficiency and improved accuracy and reliability to all those involved in supplying or using financial data. XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It is already being put to practical use in a number of countries and implementations of XBRL are growing rapidly around the world.



Who developed XBRL?

XBRL is an open, royalty-free software specification developed by XBRL International. XBRL International is made up of over 140 global companies, including the world's leading accounting, technology, government and financial services bodies. XBRL is and will remain an open specification based on XML that is being incorporated into many accounting and analytical software tools and applications. For a current and comprehensive list of all companies participating in XBRL development, please go to http://www.xbrl.org, the website of XBRL International.

What are the advantages of XBRL?

XBRL offers major benefits at all stages of business reporting and analysis. The benefits are seen in automation, cost saving, faster, more reliable and more accurate handling of data, improved analysis and in better quality of information and decision-making. XBRL enables producers and consumers of financial data to switch resources away from costly manual processes, typically involving time-consuming comparison, assembly and re-entry of data. They are able to concentrate effort on analysis, aided by software which can validate and manipulate XBRL information. XBRL is a flexible language, which is intended to support all current aspects of reporting in different countries and industries. Its extensible nature means that it can be adjusted to meet particular business requirements, even at the individual organization level.

How will XBRL affect the various participants in the financial supply chain?

Those who stand to benefit include all who collect business data, including governments, regulators, economic agencies, stock exchanges, financial information companies and the like, and those who produce or use it, including accountants, auditors, company managers, financial analysts, investors and creditors. Among those who can take advantage of XBRL include accountancy software vendors, the financial services industry, investor relations companies and the information technology industry. XBRL will impact:

Organizations that prepare financial statements
More efficient preparation of financial statements because they will be created one time and rendered many times, be it to the printer, to lenders, private investors, on Web sites, or as regulatory filings.

Analysts, Investors and Regulators
Enhanced distribution and usability of existing financial statement information. Automated analysis, significantly less re-keying of financial information, transformation from one form into another, receiving information in the format you prefer for their specific style of analysis.

Financial publishers and data aggregation
More efficient data collection lowers operating costs associated with custom, idiosyncratic data feeds and reducing errors while concentrating on adding value to the data and increasing transaction capacity.

Independent Software Vendors
Virtually any software product that manages financial information could use XBRL for its data export and import formats, thereby increasing its potential for full interoperability with other financial and analytical applications.

Does XBRL cause a change in accounting standards?

No. The XBRL specifications will use and rely on the existing accounting standards around the world.

What is the future of XBRL?

XBRL is set to become the standard way of recording, storing and transmitting business financial information. It is capable of use throughout the world, whatever the language of the country concerned, for a wide variety of business purposes. It will deliver major cost savings and gains in efficiency, improving processes in companies, governments and other organizations.

Does XBRL benefit the comparability of financial statements?

XBRL benefits comparability by helping to identify data which is genuinely alike and distinguishing information which is not comparable.

What are the differences between HTML, XML and XBRL?

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a standard way of marking up a document so it can be published on the World Wide Web and viewed in a browser.  It provides a set of pre-defined tags describe on how content appears in a browser.  For example, it describes the font and color of text.  It gives little information on meaning or context. XML (Extensible Markup Language) uses tags to identify the meaning, context and structure of data.

XML is a standard language which is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  XML does not replace HTML; it is a complementary format that is platform independent, allowing XML data to be rendered on any device such as a computer, cell phone, PDA or tablet device.  It enables rich, structured data to be delivered in a standard, consistent way.  Whereas HTML offers a fixed, pre-defined number of tags, XML neither defines nor limits tags.  Instead, XML provides a framework for defining tags (i.e. taxonomy) and the relationship between them (i.e. schema).

XBRL is an XML-based schema that focuses specifically on the requirements of business reporting.  XBRL builds upon XML, allowing accountants and regulatory bodies to identify items that are unique to the business reporting environment.  The XBRL schema defines how to create XBRL documents and XBRL taxonomies, providing users with a set of business information tags that allows users to identify business information in a consistent way.  XBRL is also extensible in that users are able to create their own XBRL taxonomies that define and describe tags unique to a given environment.

Where can I find more information about XBRL?

Source Web Sites

XBRL International http://www.xbrl.org/Home/
XBRL US http://xbrl.us
SEC http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/xbrl.shtml
IASB http://www.iasb.org/xbrl