Compliance & Technology
More Progress, Fewer Errors on XBRL Filings
SEC pleased with ﬁlings have turned out to be the most basic, easy- at XBRL U.S.’s national conference a day
to-fix problems,” Blaszkowsky said. later, SEC staffer Walter Hamscher re-
so far, companies see An XBRL “tag” is a piece of computer ported that the second round of XBRL
fewer errors, less cost; code that identifies a piece of corporate fi-
nancial data as a certain item under Gen-
filings “was tremendously better than the
now, about those erally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Many problems so far, Blaszkowsky said,
“People have not only come up the
learning curve, but I consistently hear
auditor attestations ... revolve around using a tag that’s too broad that the amount of time people have to
or too narrow for the data in question, or spend on it has gone dramatically down,”
using a custom-made extension when a Hamscher said.
By Melissa Klein Aguilar standard tag already exists. Companies Campbell Pryde, chief standards of-
have also been using labels that don’t ficer for XBRL U.S. (the consortium
T he mandate for companies to tag their
financial statements using XBRL
technology hasn’t yet proven to be the
match the labels in the HTML version of
the financial statement, or reversing debit
and credit attributes for some amounts.
that manages the taxonomy of XBRL
tags for U.S. GAAP), said that the error
rate plunged from 71 percent in the first
compliance nightmare that many feared. Likewise, in remarks during a panel
It also hasn’t yet revolutionized investors’ Continued on Page 72
ability to analyze and compare corporate
data. POINTS TO PONDER
Overall, officials at the Securities
and Exchange Commission and oth- Veteran XBRL ﬁlers had some words of wisdom for the newbies at the XBRL U.S. conference in Novem-
ers involved with XBRL say they’re ber. Not surprisingly, they were unanimous in their ﬁrst advice: “You can never start too early.”
pleased with what they’ve seen from the
nearly 500 companies that have submit- Foremost, they said, decide early on whether to outsource the XBRL tagging or do it yourself. Dan
ted XBRL-tagged financials so far. Still, DelMonte, manager of ﬁnancial and SEC reporting at Constellation Energy Group, chose outsourcing.
others say “interactive data” isn’t yet the He recommended that issuers going that route have a sit-down session with their outsourcer to dis-
game-changer XBRL proponents pre- cuss the ﬁnancial statement line-items, so the outsourcer will know which tags to use. He also urged
dicted. issuers to perform a trial XBRL submission using a shell 10-Q prior to their required compliance date.
The nation’s largest 500 filers have had
to comply with the XBRL mandate since “Going through this process is very different than just planning it out on paper,” DelMonte said.
last June, and most have gone through “Events happen that can throw off your plan and you have to adjust on the ﬂy.”
two reporting periods since then. David
Blaszkowsky, director of the SEC’s Of- He also reminded issuers to remember that their EDGAR document must be locked down before the
fice of Interactive Disclosure says the tags can be applied and the ﬁnal XBRL document created. That means issuers should allow extra time
technology is “work