XBRL, eXtensible Business Reporting Language, is a royalty-free, international information format designed specifically for business information, also referred to as ‘interactive data’ by the SEC. The idea behind XBRL is simple: instead of treating business information as a block of text – as in a printed paper document or a standard Internet page – it provides a unique, electronically readable tag for each individual disclosure item within business reports.
Background of XBRL
In 1998, Charlie Hoffman, a single CPA who worked for a small CPA firm in Washington state, had the idea of XBRL as a way of totally transforming business reporting. (Read XBRL: It’s Unstoppable – A Conversation with the Father of the Digital Language of Business.) Charlie enlisted the support of the AICPA to spearhead the development of XBRL with the goal of providing a standard, XML-based language for digitizing business reports in accordance with the rules of accounting in every country around the world. XBRL International is a global consortium with over 250 leading organizations concerned with the exchange and timeliness of financial and business reporting data. Through the efforts of the AICPA and its members, a framework of specifications and taxonomies was produced to support providing a standard, XML-based language for digitizing business reports. XBRL US (the US jurisdiction of XBRL International) operated under the AICPA volunteer committee structure from 1999-2006 until it became a separate, not-for-profit organization in September 2006. As a founder and an active member of XBRL US, the AICPA supports adoption through the development of education and tools to help our members implement and adopt XBRL. AICPA staff and its members are represented on many committees and task forces of XBRL US and XBRL International, including a seat on the XBRL International Steering Committee.
New The Story of our New Language
This paper, based on a chronicle of Charles Hoffman and Louis Matherne, documents the story of XBRL told from the perspectives of many key influencers of XBRL throughout its history. The AICPA interviewed many of the XBRL contributors in order to encapsulate the journey from its original development to the creation of a consortium of over 550 organizations who work together to continue to build a common language for business reporting and support its adoption.
Download the full document: The Story of Our New Language
CFA Institute Whitepaper: Transforming the Financial Information Landscape
Columbia Business School Whitepaper: An Evaluation of the Current State and Future of XBRL and Interactive Data for Investors and Analysts
XBRL US Center for Data Quality
US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy
SEC Staff Observations from Review of Interactive Data Financial Statement
XBRL US Consistency Suite - Discount for AICPA members, run checks and access the XBRL Database
Principles and Criteria for XBRL-Formatted Information
SOP 13-2 - Performing Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements That Address Completeness, Mapping, Consistency, or Structure of XBRL-Formatted Information
Learn how XBRL works and understand the basic terminology.
XBRL Assurance Task Force
The AICPA XBRL Assurance Task Force is currently developing guidance to assist CPAs to perform voluntary assurance engagements related to XBRL-tagged data. The Task Force has published Principles and Criteria for XBRL-Formatted Information and SOP 13-2, Performing Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements That Address the Completeness, Mapping, Consistency, or Structure of XBRL-Formatted Information
View Comment Letters Related to XBRL
XBRL Related Webcasts
- XBRL for Practitioners: Understanding the Opportunity and the Responsibility
- Financial Reporting and XBRL Update, with and introduction to eXacct: Financial Reporting Tools and Techniques
- Webcast - Getting Ready for XBRL
XBRL Related CPE Courses
- The Future is Now: XBRL Emerges as Career Niche
- XBRL Made Easy
- Improving MD&A Reporting
- Avoiding Common Errors of XBRL Implementation
- The SEC Mandated XBRL, So what...
- XBRL Around the World
- XBRL's Path to Adoption
- XBRL and IFRS Joining Hands
- Six Steps to XBRL
- Municipal Securities Disclosure Goes Electronic
- The Future of Financial Reporting is Here
- Enhancing Financial Reporting Transparency
- XBRL As a Supply Chain Standard
- Streamlining the Financial and Business Reporting Process
- XBRL Taxonomies: The New Word in Accounting and Financial Dictionaries
- XBRL-Interactive Data at Your Desktop
- ROI on XBRL