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Being XBRL

Like the room on the 7 ½ floor in Being John Malkovich, or Platform 9 ¾ in the Harry Potter movies, eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) – a system of electronically tagged data - has been viewed as a portal into the world of financial reporting. Public companies are required to file certain information with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) using XBRL. As described in the SEC’s “What is Interactive Data and Who’s Using It?”: “Interactive data allows investors and others” – [read: regulators] “to pinpoint facts and figures within today’s often lengthy disclosure documents.”
 
A useful compendium of information pertaining to the SEC’s XBRL rulemaking, with links to related information such as Interpretations and Webcasts, can be found in the SEC’s own XBRL portal: http://xbrl.sec.gov.