SEC’s New XBRL Push Attracts More Takers Than Past Effort

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) newest effort to attract companies to use the EXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) data tagging technology, developed by an accounting industry- led group, is finding greater success than its past effort.


Advertisement


All Aboard the High-Velocity 2006 FRx Express! FRx Software has the engine fired up again to travel nationwide with timely training and expert guidance! Microsoft FRx and Microsoft Forecaster users, potential users and resellers don’t miss this FREE*, half-day event!

Once you’re on board, the FRx Software experts will help you gain tremendous insight into Microsoft FRx and Microsoft Forecaster. You’ll have the opportunity to hear customer perspectives and network with prospects plus pack in useful tips, and see the features and benefits of FRx Software’s financial analytic applications. Register now!


FRx Software Home Product Information
Training & Consulting Product Demo
Webcast Customer Testimonial Video



Seventeen companies have agreed to file their financial statements in XBRL-tagged documents under the second such XBRL pilot the SEC has sanctioned in the past year. A pilot, launched last April, has attracted only nine company participants, despite being open for membership in a span when the SEC has several times publicly hailed XBRL as a major advancement in financial reporting.

The list of participants in the new pilot is impressive, with companies that include 3M Co., Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Dow Chemical Co., Xerox Corp. XM Satellite Radio Holdings and publisher R.R. Donnelly & Son. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said he was pleased “with the range of industries,” adding that “their leadership will help shape how” XBRL and other so-called interactive data technologies are used.

XBRL is the business report version of EXtensible Markup Language (XML) which tags individual items within documents so that they can be immediately accessed. XBRL makes it easier for reporting companies because data tagged for one report can be automatically retrieved and inputted into other documents, and it allows investors, analysts and regulators, such as the SEC, to instantaneously locate, collate and review the report data they require.

The 17 companies in the pilot will submit their reports in XBRL for one year and report on their experiences, and in exchange the SEC will give them expedited reviews of their registration statements and annual reports. Last April, the SEC began allowing companies to voluntarily submit their reports using XBRL for an unlimited time span, but offered no incentives; membership in that volunteer program is still open.

The SEC is very interested in gaining widespread use of XBRL. Its current request for proposals for new management of its EDGAR database of financial reports requires that the new manager be capable of converting the system to an XBRL base. However, the SEC cannot mandate all public companies to use XBRL until the technology becomes more widely used.

The general perception has been that XBRL was having a hard time gaining market acceptance based on the limited number of users in the first pilot program. But, the tide may be turning; in addition to the larger enrollment in the new pilot, XBRL last week got its first bit of noteworthy coverage in The Wall Street Journal as one of the items featured in a March 22 story about how Cox is trying to advance the commission’s technology capabilities.

Companies interested in joining the new pilot group should visit http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/xbrl.htm or contact Jeffrey Naumann in the Office of the Chief Accountant (naumannj@sec.gov) or Brigitte Lippmann in the Division of Corporation Finance (lippmannb@sec.gov).

The SEC said it extended the registration deadline for the newest pilot from early February to mid-March, to give applying companies more time to prepare. Spokesman John Heine denied published reports a few weeks ago that claimed the deadline was extended because the program had attracted only six volunteers as of early February.
~JC

You may like these other stories...

More than two weeks after it passed in the Senate, a bill that will make federal government spending data publicly available online was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives on April 28.Lawmakers said the...
A House committee bill that would require the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exempt public companies with annual revenues under $250 million from filing their financial statements in eXtensible Business...
Welcome to the AccountingWEB series "FEI Financial Reporting Blog" by Edith Orenstein, the director of Accounting Policy Analysis & Communications at FEI. You can see all of her articles here. On December...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.