Rivet Software Plays Big Part in SEC's XBRL Embrace

Denver-based Rivet Software, a longtime leading developer of XBRL technologies, has entered several new initiatives to advance XBRL, the fast-evolving electronic format for distributing and disseminating business report information.

First and foremost, Rivet is part of a team of seven technology companies chosen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to essentially convert the SEC Edgar system for collecting and distributing financial report information to an XBRL-based infrastructure.

The group, which is led by Keane Federal Systems of McLean, Va., and also includes Microsoft Corp. among others, is doing the work under a $48 million contract from the SEC. In awarding the contract, the SEC has shown its full embrace and acceptance of XBRL as the financial reporting format of the future.

“The new system will make it easier both to file information with the commission and to use it,” SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in announcing the contract award. ”It will represent a quantum leap over the existing disclosure technologies.”

XBRL, which stands for Extensible Business Reporting Language, is the business report version of the EXtensible Markup Language (XML) platform for tagging individual items within documents so that they can be immediately accessed and collated as needed by the reports’ preparers and end users, including investors, banks and regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC calls XBRL tagging “interactive data.”

Rivet is equally enthusiastic about the SEC’s embrace of XBRL. “Rivet applauds the continued efforts of the SEC in focusing awareness on the power and potential that interactive data can bring to the investment community,” said Mike Rohan, Rivet’s president and chief executive officer.

Rivet also received a separate SEC contract to work with Unisys Corp. to develop an XBRL data analysis system that the SEC will use in its analysis of financial reports. That system for the SEC will be based partly on Rivet’s Dragon View technology that enables the export of XBRL-tagged data into Microsoft Excel.

Rivet has for several years been marketing that technology to non-public end users, including financial analysts and investors.

In a lower-profile new bit of recent activity, Rivet is in a new partnership designed to extend the use of its XBRL-based technologies and services to clients of the MarketWire business news distribution service based in Los Angeles.

Rivet’s product line, in addition to Dragon View, consists of:

  • Dragon Tag- a Microsoft Office based system for creating XBRL-tagged documents
  • Crossfire - Enables the collection and analysis of XBRL data.
  • SEC Markup Package - Designed specifically for creating and reviewing XBRL documents for submission to the SEC.

While the MarketWire relationship appears to be much smaller than the SEC work, it could set the stage to significantly advance XBRL’s name recognition. Organizations that receive materials from MarketWatch include Associated Press, Dow-Jones, Reuters, Bloomberg and MSNBC.

Rivet is riding the crest of a new XBRL wave after a long time of working with XBRL when the technology was relatively unknown.

Wayne Harding, a Rivet vice president and director of business development, is largely responsible for first bringing XBRL to the attention of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in the late 1990s. The AICPA then put together the consortium of business interests that developed XBRL and worked to bring it to the SEC’s attention in the first place.

Another Rivet vice president, Rob Blake, was one of XBRL’s first vocal proponents at Microsoft Corp, where he worked in the FRx financial reporting software operations before joining Rivet.
Written by John Covaleski.

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