XBRL on the up
According to CIMA Insight (December 2010), XBRL (the html-type languages used to electronically transmit financial reports) is becoming very common place. XBRL is an XML type language (used on web pages and e-business) used specifically for financial reporting. The increasing use of IFRS, and a XBRL file which encompasses IFRS is undoubtedly helping the rise of XBRL. It is also a free to use language, which helps too. So does XBRL do or offer?
The key advantage is that is provides a common and agreed method to file financial reports in all kinds of places. Using the main statements required under IFRS for example, anyone with a web-browser can make sense of the data in the financial statements and manipulate the data as required. The US stock exchange and the UK tax authorities are just two who already use XBRL. Indeed many authorities are likely to make it mandatory in the near future. By filing financial reports in XBRL format, many agencies could in theory use the one filing for multiple purposes – simply because the filing is electronic.
Although XBRL is being driven by regulators and external financial reporting, it could also streamline internal accounting processes. For example, a large organisation may have non-standardised financial reports, which could be standardised used XBRL – assuming of course a standard reporting mechanism/format could be agreed.
For more detailed information, check out http://xbrl.org/