By David Colgren posted 08-30-2017 07:13 AM

According to a recent article in Accounting Today -- The XBRL data standard continues to expand globally around the world as a important tool to reduce regulatory reporting by public companies using a standard data format that can be shared across regulators in one common report.

Representatives of both the Netherlands and Australian Governments testified before the US Congress and US Government officials to discuss the benefits of Standard Business Reporting using the XBRL data format created by the accounting profession – supported by both the IMA and the AICPA to reduce the manual keying of data by accountants over and over into recreated spreadsheets to a machine-readable/ RoBoAccouting format for instant advanced data analysis. Standard Business Reporting using XBRL offers many opportunities to the business community. 

Better analytics of data reported to the government can reduce regulatory burden without requiring additional regulation and XBRL can significantly help in this effort. 

For more than 10 years – the US SEC has been using the XBRL data format for machine-reading of US Public Company Financial Statements as well as the US FDIC for US Bank Call Reports to support better transparency and accountability of the capital markets. The US SEC is now positioned to build-out the use of XBRL across the US capital markets

What’s exciting according to the Accounting Today article is that XBRL is now mandated by more than 100 securities, banking and tax authorities in more than 70 countries around the world for better regulatory and risk management. 

Soon – in the USA we will have Standard Business Reporting so that a public company can issue “One Report” to regulators and other interested stakeholders can this data can be extracted and shared without creating individual reports over and over again…

This same principle can be applied to sustainability reporting or CSR reporting where companies are preparing many – if not hundreds of reports to interested stakeholders for natural and human capital reports for example. XBRL can help reduce sustainability reporting when multiple stakeholders can agree on common data sets and this data can be shared in one report to multiple stakeholders:  

XBRL and the use of Global Legal Identifier contains to gain momentum. The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) has recently published a list of current and proposed initiatives using the global LEI for regulatory reporting and supervision. Authorities in individual jurisdictions mandate the use of these increasingly important pieces of reference data. GLEIF is monitoring the initiatives and will continue to update this list regularly. XBRL International is encouraging regulators to use the LEI as a primary or secondary identifier in their dealings with regulated companies. The XBRL Consortium believe that as the global network of companies (financial and non-financial) continues to grow, the LEI will be a crucial aspect of modern life. Not just for regulators, but to help make doing business easier. XBRL International has been working with the GLEIF to develop a small reference data taxonomy that can be used to manage identity in consistent ways with the LEI. The US Government supports to use of LEI and XBRL is working with Treasury to support its use.

Today – it really doesn’t make sense that accounting standards across different borders should be different knowing that we have a global capital markets. It’s exciting that the US SEC is now open to accepting the IFRS Global Accounting Standard for public company foreign filers if they submit their reports using the XBRL IFRS data taxonomy (data definitions). Hopefully the US will move to IFRS away from US GAAP as more than 200 countries have – including our largest trading partners such as Canada and China. 

Powerful mandates requiring XBRL include:

  • The European Securities Market Authority (ESMA) for Public Company Financial Reporting (ESEF) for more than 6,000 EU Public Companies
  • The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions for Solvency II Reporting for EU Insurance Companies and Financial Service Firms
  • The European Banking Authority for MiFiD and MiFid II for EU Banks
  • The German business registry collects financial data from over 1M firms though various channels, which is converted to XBRL and published each year in the Bundesanzeiger. Basic data is made available online for free, while larger, more detailed XBRL data sets may be purchased.
  • The UK Tax Authority of UK Company tax reporting
  • The UK Companies House (the UK Business Registrar) posts account data from over 1.5M firms. The data is updated on a daily basis in both XBRL and iXBRL formats and is available for free.
  • Erhvervsstyrelsen (the Danish Business Authority) makes financial and other data from over 200,000 firms freely available online.
  • Colegio de Registradores (the Spanish Business Registrar) collects and distributes information on over 800,000 firms, and also provides detailed statistical information and credit reporting on SMEs.
  • Japan's EDINET (Electronic Disclosure for Investors Network) platform allows the retrieval of financial statements in XBRL from over 9000 firms
  • South Korea's online DART system has over 58,000 XBRL entries from both private and public companies dating back to 2007 available to download in XLS format
  • La Superintendencia de Valores y Seguros (the Chilean Securities Regulator) publishes quarterly IFRS based financial statements from listed companies on its website.
  • XBRL UAE has adopted a strong leadership position in regards to the adoption of XBRL. After a two year test period of voluntary disclosure using the XBRL e-filing platform, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) mandated the filing of financial reports by listed companies as of the 1 January 2014.
  • South Africa has required the use of XBRL for public company financial reporting.

 To name a few of the important XBRL mandates.

 Stay tuned and continue to monitor XBRL and Data Amplified and the accounting, audit, tax and internal audit professions continues to move forward into the digital age and data analytics because increasing more critical in daily operations.

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