XBRL is expected to continue its growing influence on business reporting, especially in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley era of enhanced transparency and accountability, reported Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as it issued its Technology Forecast: 2003-2005, The Intelligent Real-Time Enterprise.
The Forecast identifies technology trends and reported that standards such as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and enhanced knowledge and integration of systems can provide the real-time information that employees need to operate efficiently, thus boosting investor confidence.
"With its theme 'The Intelligent Real-Time Enterprise,' this year's Technology Forecast highlights a series of technologies that enable companies to manage information more effectively and react more quickly to changing business conditions," said Eric M. Berg, managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Technology Centre and Technology Forecast editor-in-chief. "Corporate transparency continues to be at the forefront of discussion in the business world and provides an important incentive for businesses to make use of these capabilities."
XBRL is an electronic format for managing financial statements, performance reports, accounting records and other financial information between various software programs. This is a major step forward since until recently, there were no standards governing communication of financial information between the litany of software programs that power businesses today. Companies often manually assemble financial information from different systems to prepare financial reports. XBRL provides a standard format for business reporting and improves the way companies prepare and distribute financial data—and how it is interpreted by analysts, regulators and investors. XBRL is a standard based on eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and is supported by a consortium of over 200 corporations, financial markets, accounting firms and regulators.
Other key technologies discussed in the Technology Forecast will help companies make faster and more effective decisions. They include business intelligence systems, business integration technologies, supply chain event management capabilities and expanded use of XML.