XBRL Software Developer Building Channel Seeks Accountants

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Rivet Software, a leading developer of XBRL data tagging technology, is building a sales channel which will consist primarily of accountants and accounting firms.

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The Denver, Colo.-based company is creating the channel for its Dragon line of products that automate the process of adding XBRL tags to data on spreadsheets and other financial reports generated from accounting software data. XBRL is the business report version of the EXtensible Markup Language (XML) platform for coding 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 (SEC).

Like the traditional and successful channel strategies of many accounting software vendors, Rivet is offering its channel members the option of reselling products, or referring clients to Rivet for sales and implementation. Rivet will also train members to be consultants who ensure that the implemented XBRL tagging systems' outputs meet the requirements of the SEC, banks and other end users.

“We want channel members in all three options and we are willing to work with accounting firms to determine what options would work best for them. They are critical to financial reporting and to XBRL,” said Rob Blake, Rivet's vice president of marketing. He expects demand for channel services to be stoked by Rivet's recently-announced marketing alliance with the business information distribution service PR Newswire Association.

Rivet is training PR Newswire representatives to consult with their customers about XBRL reporting and refer them to Rivet if they want further consultation or implementation of the vendor's XBRL tagging tools. PR Newswire distributes news reports for some 40,000 corporate, government and, non-profit customers, including a major portion of the SEC's registrants.

Rivet's executive team has proven success in building channels. In February, it hired a new executive vice president, Robert Rohan, a founder of the former FRx Software (now part of Microsoft Corp.), a report writer software developer with a sales channel that included a high proportion of accountants. Rivet's Vice President of Business Development Wayne Harding once managed the channel at the former Great Plains Software, a pioneer among the accounting software vendors with channels that include many successful accounting professionals.

Blake also previously worked at FRx and then Great Plains, after they became part of Microsoft, where he led XBRL development before joining Rivet. Great Plains acquired FRx and shortly after that deal, Microsoft acquired Great Plains.

“With how regulators now look at XBRL, it's becoming clear that CPAs have an opportunity to embrace a revolutionary change in the financial information supply chain,” said Blake. The SEC for the past year has been encouraging its registrants to file reports in XBRL, and banking regulators, led by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last October began requiring banks to use XBRL in filing their periodic call reports and other financial statements into a national repository.

However, while top banking and finance community officials, including SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, have hailed XBRL as a major improvement in data gathering, market buy-in has been limited: As of late May the SEC reported that just 20 companies had joined a voluntary XBRL reporting program it launched in January, and its first such voluntary program, begun in April, 2005, attracted only nine takers.

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