XBRL Update: New Functionality for Interactive Data

June 27, 2012
by Nicholas Messing, XBRL Accountant, Business Wire New York
Nicholas Messing

Nicholas Messing

The upcoming filing season looks to be one of the busiest yet for XBRL preparers, with all US public companies submitting financial statements to the SEC required to include detail-tagged XBRL as of June 15, 2012. As the XBRL mandate reaches full implementation for SEC filings, the functionality of XBRL continues to expand through various initiatives including the DATA Act, corporate actions, and Business Wire’s Retail Report.

XBRL has increased its presence in the US Congress with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which the House of Representatives unanimously passed on April 25, 2012. Known as the DATA act, this bill provides for a broader implementation of data reporting standards to track federal spending data. Following its strong bipartisan success in the House, the DATA Act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Similar to the Child and Family Services Innovation and Improvement Act, which was signed into law in October 2011, the DATA Act includes a significant reference to XBRL: “In designating reporting standards… the Commission shall, to the extent practicable, incorporate existing nonproprietary standards, such as the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).”

XBRL US released the 2012 Corporate Actions Taxonomy for public comment on May 17, 2012. This is the second version of the Corporate Actions Taxonomy, designed to tag over 50 types of corporate actions announcements, including mergers and acquisitions, dividends, redemptions, tender offers, and stock splits. Approximately 200,000 corporate actions are released each year in the US, and these textual announcements require time-consuming manual steps to process as financial data. XBRL tagging of corporate actions releases would enhance the efficiency of downstream processing across the financial community. XBRL US has teamed with The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to promote the use of XBRL tagging for corporate actions in accordance with the existing ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards.

On May 3, 2012, Business Wire became the first commercial newswire to map, tag and disseminate its own content in XBRL format. XBRL exhibits utilizing the US GAAP taxonomy now accompany Business Wire’s Retail Report, which is released monthly to Business Wire’s full national circuit. Published on the day that retailers announce sales figures for the previous month, the report tracks specialty apparel and general merchandise retailers’ monthly and year-to-date total sales with percentage comparisons across periods, alongside comparative stores’ sales growth data. To date, the April and May 2012 Retail Reports have been published with supplemental XBRL files, which may be freely downloaded and rendered through the SEC’s XBRL previewer, to facilitate analysis of retail sales data. Two members of Business Wire’s XBRL team, Senior XBRL Financial Reporting Specialist Belayneh Alemayehu and Junior XBRL Accountant Khondakar Moin, have provided their expertise to translate the Retail Report into XBRL. While Business Wire’s XBRL team has been proactively preparing for the final wave of the SEC’s XBRL mandate, we have also implemented a new innovation in interactive data.


Stuart Zatkow Appointed to XBRL US Committee Post

February 16, 2012
by Nicholas Messing, XBRL Accountant

Congratulations are in order for Stuart Zatkow, Senior XBRL Financial Reporting Specialist at Business Wire, who joined the XBRL US Domain Steering Committee in January 2012. This committee oversees the development of XBRL taxonomies, relying upon a blend of accounting and financial knowledge and technical proficiency. With more than 40 years of financial reporting experience in both the public and private sectors, Stuart (or “Stu,” as his colleagues know him) is looking forward to contributing his XBRL expertise to serve the community as a committee member.

As Zatkow explains, “I hope that [the Domain Steering Committee] can foster development of additional taxonomies for purposes of applying interactive data to more areas of reporting than the basic financial statements, notes and mutual fund prospectus summary information, especially those that would greatly benefit downstream consumption of XBRL data.” Zatkow added that he believes his relationships formed as a member of the US GAAP taxonomy team from 2007 to 2009 and through his XBRL consulting engagements will be helpful in achieving the committee’s objectives.


XBRL Update: U.S. XBRL Initiative Begins to Move Beyond SEC Reporting

October 21, 2011
by Nicholas Messing, Junior XBRL Accountant/Business Wire
Nicholas Messing

Nicholas Messing

A recent piece of legislation signed into law by President Obama has caused a flurry of excitement in the XBRL community. The Child and Family Services Innovation and Improvement Act (H.R. 2883) might at first glance appear to be unrelated to the financial data coding world of XBRL, since the bulk of the bill is devoted to extending child and family welfare programs from the Social Security Act through the year 2016.

The key section for XBRL, however, is Sec. 105, Data Standardization for Improved Data Matching. This section explains a new requirement for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to designate common data elements and reporting standards for state-submitted reports on federal child welfare funds. Here, XBRL makes a surprise appearance: “The Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, incorporate existing non-proprietary standards, such as the eXtensible Business Reporting Language.”

Needless to say, this “shout-out”  to XBRL in federal legislation has not been taken lightly; and XBRL US, the nonprofit consortium for XBRL standards, has been vocal in their support. Campbell Pryde, President and CEO of XBRL US, issued the following statement: “Data and technology standards are critical to ensuring accurate, timely and consistent reporting of information. The application of XBRL as outlined in H.R. 2883 would significantly improve communication between the States and social services programs. We commend the President and the leaders in Congress responsible for this Act which help the Department of Health and Human Services administer its child welfare programs and better serve children who need help.”

On October 12, XBRL US held a Town Hall conference call to discuss the new and pending XBRL-related legislation. Since the passage of H.R. 2883, the next bill up to bat for XBRL in the House and Senate may be the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. The DATA Act would further extend the reach of XBRL by requiring federal agencies to adopt financial data standards such as XBRL in order to better monitor federal spending.

Hudson Hollister, Counsel at House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, spoke in favor of the DATA Act by saying, “XBRL pretty much occupies the field when it comes to organizing financial data and disseminating it… The adoption of XBRL for federal spending information would have very beneficial long-term effects on the federal government’s ability to analyze and disseminate, in a transparent fashion, its own spending information.”  Amy Edwards, Performance Budgeting Specialist for the Senate Budget Committee, discussed her work toward building support for the DATA Act in the Senate, and Diana Deem of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants described the AICPA’s grassroots campaign, which includes letters of support for the DATA Act and meetings to educate members of Congress on XBRL.

Echoing this sentiment, Brad Monterio, on behalf of The Institute of Management Accountants voiced the IMA’s support for both pieces of legislation in a press release which recently crossed our wire: “We urge members of Congress to pass the DATA Act and use XBRL as a tool to create transparency and accountability for government, much in the same way it did for The Child and Family Services Act.”

It is clearly significant that US lawmakers have begun to recognize the value of XBRL as a universal data reporting standard. These legislative developments suggest that future applications of XBRL are very likely to extend beyond the realm of SEC filings as the functionality of XBRL continues to expand and advance.


XBRL Update: July 2010

July 12, 2010

On July 8th, the SEC deployed updates to its official XBRL rendering engine (“Viewer” and “Previewer”) to address rendering issues for footnotes tagged at a detailed level. Below, learn more about this development.

Q2 2010 is the first quarter many Large Accelerated filers will begin filing footnotes tagged at a detailed level along with their face financial statements.  Unfortunately, preliminary rendering results with the old Viewer were not very promising. For example, our testing showed the following rendering errors for information tagged at the detailed level (to name a few):

  • Certain segment reporting information and dimension members did not render
  • Notes tagged at a detailed level with the words “Cash” or “Equity” in the group title did not render
  • Unrelated monetary elements, abstracts, data and time periods rendered repeatedly in multiple different notes, which lead to misleading information and made reviewing virtually impossible
  • Decimals and currencies did not render appropriately

To facilitate the first wave of XBRL filings with detailed level information, the SEC enhanced its rendering engine to eliminate certain rendering errors and issues.

What does this mean to my company?
The SEC’s enhanced Viewer fixes many “bugs” and minor rendering issues for both year one and year two requirements. Significant fixes primarily relate to:

  • Improved handling of mixed data types (units and decimals) within the same report.  The Viewer can now display different units of measure in each group
  • Updates to level iv detail tagged rendering to ensure complete display of all tagged data and improved rendering of column headings
  • Allows for the display of currency symbols to ensure currency symbols are not displayed in the rendering for non-monetary amounts
  • Improvements made to display non U.S. Dollar and other symbols
  • Enhancements to Statement of Stockholders’ Equity rendering and detailed reports to eliminate duplicated ending balances

However, one issue that is not fixed relates to the 2009 Commitments and Contingencies element.  Accordingly, we will continue to use the SEC prescribed workaround for this line item, where applicable.  Business Wire is already updating the source code on our rendering tool and we expect to have it running with the enhancements shortly.

Finally, please keep in mind that although the SEC’s Viewer has been updated, differences between the HTML and XBRL filings will continue to exist.  Potential rendering differences expected for Level iv detailed tagging include:

  • Labels in the same group may not exactly match the expected footnote labels
  • Narratives and tables may be combined or split up to improve rendering and review

Business Wire is more than happy to review with you rendering changes and differences that apply specifically to your filing.

Have any XBRL questions or concerns?  Simply contact us at XBRL@BusinessWire.com.


Business Wire White Papers Now Available

June 15, 2010

- by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

Recently, Business Wire launched a series of white papers on a variety of public relations- and investor relations-related topics. The first two in the series are now available:  Engaging Global Audiences – Public Relations and Bridging Borders by Neil Hershberg (Senior Vice President, Global Media) and The State of XBRL – Rules, Regulations and Best Practices by Michael Becker (Senior Vice President, Financial Product Strategy).

To download these valuable information pieces, visit http://GloMoSoMe.BusinessWire.com.


How Much Does XBRL Compliance Cost?

May 11, 2010

– by Michael Becker, Senior Vice President, Financial Product Strategy

Recently, I had the chance to address a question that’s becoming more common, and wanted to share the answer with readers of this blog: What does XBRL conversion cost? While I cannot tell you what other vendors and software companies charge, I can share that costs (time and money) are in line with or less than the SEC prediction on pp. 132 – 142 of its final rule (http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/2009/33-9002.pdf).

This is very positive news for the U.S. SEC XBRL initiative. Remember the SEC’s prediction that SOX compliance would average roughly $34,000? We know how that turned out.

A June 2010 article in the Journal of Corporate Finance entitled, “How costly is the Sarbanes Oxley Act? Evidence on the effects of the Act on corporate profitability,” states that the SEC initially estimated that the direct cost of SOX compliance would amount to about $91,000 for the average firm; however, subsequent estimates from a survey by Financial Executives International place the costs of SOX closer to $2.9 million per firm for 2006 (FEI, 2007). A Charles River Associates International (CRA, 2005) survey pegs 2004 SOX costs for firms with a market capitalization greater than $700 million at about $8.5 million; and at about $1.24 million for firms with a market capitalization between $75 and $700 million (CRA, 2005). These costs are substantial, averaging roughly 0.10% of revenues (Asthana et al., 2009; Eldridge and Kealey, 2005; Hartman, 2005, 2006; U.S. GAO, 2006).

As for IFRS, according to a recent CFO Magazine article, the SEC predicts that the largest U.S. registrants that adopt IFRS early would incur about $32 million in additional costs for their first IFRS-prepared annual reports. Smaller companies likely will have a disproportionately higher cost to begin the conversion process, if regulators mandate that they, as well as their larger counterparts, move to IFRS.

Therefore, it is imperative to keep the cost of XBRL conversion in perspective. XBRL conversion costs a fraction of other current and proposed SEC initiatives and the benefit, when all issuer financials are mapped and tagged, should be immense.


XBRL Update for April, 2010

April 20, 2010

Since our last update, there have been four significant XBRL developments:

  • Transition of responsibility for maintaining the US GAAP Taxonomy
  • SEC release of a new Previewer and Viewer engine
  • Update to the EDGAR Filer Manual
  • SEC Webinar focused on detailed tagging requirements.

Taxonomy Maintenance Transition
On February 5, 2010, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) announced the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy. The current 2009 taxonomy in use by SEC issuers was developed by XBRL US, Inc., an independent non-profit organization, with technical accounting support provided by the FASB. Going forward, XBRL US will transition to other projects with continued technical support from the FASB.

Read the rest of this entry »


XBRL Update: Jan 2010

January 8, 2010

On December 4, 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched its XBRL information portal, which can be found at http://xbrl.sec.gov. The portal consolidates in one easy to find central location all SEC related XBRL information and also highlights new XBRL developments to simplify searching for the most up-to-date information. In this issue of the XBRL Update, we will summarize the information available on the SEC’s XBRL portal, discuss the quality of the second wave of filings and provide you an update on how to best prepare for the upcoming 10-K and detailed tagging requirements.

SEC’s XBRL Portal

The SEC’s XBRL portal contains five main categories: Rules and Regulations; Background; View Filings; Interpretive Guidance; and Technical. Details of each category are as follows:

  • Rules and Regulations: Contains postings of final XBRL rules for Publicly Traded Companies, Mutual Funds, Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations and the Voluntary Filer Program (VFP).
    • Allows users to access the respective rules and regulations without having to search through the SEC website.
  • Background: Contains general XBRL information, covering:
    • A brief synopsis of XBRL and the countries in which XBRL has already been implemented.
    • A glossary of frequently used terms (i.e. element, concept, extensions, etc).
    • History of the SEC’s adoption of XBRL and information regarding the Office of Interactive Disclosure (OID).
  • View Filings: Various options for viewing XBRL filings submitted to the SEC are listed:
    • Users may subscribe to an RSS feed or view the latest 100 XBRL files submitted to the SEC.
    • View filings submitted under the VFP.
    • Search EDGAR filings (which include XBRL exhibits, if submitted) by company name, ticker symbol or CIK number.
    • Link to upload XBRL files to the Interactive Data Viewer (“Previewer”).
  • Interpretive Guidance: The SEC will continue to issue XBRL guidance based on their

review of interactive data submissions and questions raised by filers and agents.

  • Technical: The technical section includes links to:
    • Approved taxonomies.
    • The EDGAR Filer Manual.
    • Shortcut to the SEC Previewer.
    • Listing of EDGAR XBRL Validation Errors and Warnings.

Second Wave of Filings Submitted to the SEC

On September 28, 2009, the SEC updated the EDGAR system to enhance its Interactive Data (XBRL) file validation capabilities. Since the update, Business Wire has been closely monitoring the quality of the filings, noting a marked improvement in the SEC submissions as compared to the prior quarter. Furthermore, upon closer examination, we have noted through two sets of independent validation tools that the SEC continues to accept filings with EDGAR Filer Manual

errors. From September 28th through November 20th, we noted 30 out of 410 filings had at least one error according to one of the validation tools.

10-K and Detailed Tagging Requirements

Along with the 10‐K filing come additional XBRL requirements, which include mapping: the Statement of Shareholders’ Equity, additional notes to the financial statements and financial statement schedules.

  • Detailed Tagging: For clients required to file XBRL exhibits in the first phase, detailed tagging will be here before we know it. First phase filers will be required to present detailed tags for their second quarter filing in 2010. Detail tagging creates an additional burden on the filer as it increases the amount of work required to ensure XBRL compliance and forces the filer to change their financial reporting process to ensure ample time in incorporating last minute changes.

Have any XBRL questions or concerns?  Simply contact us at XBRL@BusinessWire.com.


Why Business Wire for XBRL?

January 5, 2010

by Ali Paksima, CPA, XBRL Accounting Manager, Business Wire

We believe Business Wire is the obvious choice for converting your financials to XBRL format.  It’s not only because we are more cost-effective than most, it is also because our approach to XBRL sets us apart from all others.

Below are several statements we hear frequently from public company clients.  Our hunch is that many of you are having the same thoughts, therefore we’ve provided our responses to these statements.  We believe you’ll understand precisely why Business Wire is better after learning more about our approach:

Client Statement: We know our financials better than anyone else.

We cannot agree with you more. However, we know the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy and the SEC requirements for reporting in XBRL inside and out.  We also hire only CPA-level staffers who are intimately familiar with public company financial statements. For this reason we take a collaborative approach to XBRL (i.e., your knowledge combined with ours) and work as an extension of your team.

Our first step is always to read your financial statements so that we may understand your company and your financial statements better.  We then hold an introductory call to discuss your financial statements and afterwards immediately begin the task of identifying the appropriate XBRL elements and drawing up a list of points to clarify with your organization.  Next, we send you a report to review the selected elements, the corresponding definitions, and any additional points to discuss.  This process allows us to couple your knowledge of your company’s financials and our knowledge of the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy and the SEC requirements to identify the best elements that present your company’s financial statements in XBRL, fairly.

Client Question: Will we have control over our process and know exactly all of the inputs in our file?

With our collaborative approach to XBRL, you are in complete control throughout the entire process without having to become an expert in XBRL. We will review the element mapping with you and provide you with review and rendering reports. Furthermore, our collaborative approach includes unlimited consulting time. We will spend as much time with you as you want in order to increase your understanding of XBRL.

Client Question: Who at Business Wire works on our XBRL documents?

We have the best and the brightest people working here:  CPA-level accountants and financial statement experts who know the implications of incorrectly tagged data.  Our in-house XBRL taxonomists (to whom you can reach out directly whenever you like, for no additional fee) bring their U.S. GAAP accounting experience to your XBRL filings.

It is important to note that Business Wire’s XBRL team works in the secure, audited confines of our New York operation, adjacent to our fully in-house EDGAR operation.

Business Wire is the clear choice for converting your financial statements to XBRL format.  We hope that these answers will enable you to make well-informed decisions when not only selecting an approach to XBRL, but when selecting a vendor too.  Feel free to contact us at any time (XBRL@BusinessWire.com) with any and all XBRL questions you may have. We look forward to showing you why Business Wire is better.


XBRL Update: October 2009

November 4, 2009

On October 6, 2009, the SEC issued “Staff Observations From Review of Interactive Data Financial Statements,” identifying improvements to the quality of XBRL submissions. The Staff commented on rendering, element selection, context references, negative values and negated labels, decimals and other observations.Below, please find the items from the SEC Staff’s observations that we believe you should be aware of.

Rendering

The SEC continues to emphasize the following:

  • Filers should not deviate from the EDGAR Filer Manual rules and jeopardize the quality of their XBRL files in order to correct rendering issues.
  • There is no requirement that the rendered files appear identical to the HTML/ASCII filing.
  • Filers should expect differences between the HTML/ASCII filing and the rendered XBRL files. Some of the differences are: Formatting,  column headings such as “Unaudited” and subheadings such as “Current Assets,” totals and subtotals, and format of the shareholders’ equity statement including how certain columns and subtotals render. However, certain differences can be eliminated such as: Labels should match, abstracts for headers should be used and each footnote should be presented separately.

Element Selection
The SEC Staff has identified 12 examples of common issues and as a result, encourages filers to:

  • Carefully search through the entire taxonomy to find an element with the narrowest definition that captures all material information.
  • Be aware of elements that are industry specific.
  • Do not create an extension when a) an appropriate standard element exists, and b) representing identical concepts reported on multiple financial statements within the same submission.
  • Create extensions when a) the standard element does not adequately capture all material information, b) combining the concepts of two or more standard elements, and c) splitting two concepts in a standard element.
  • Tag all amounts appearing in parenthesis and present them separately from the face of the financial statements.

Context References
Context references allow tagged information to be understood in relation to other information presented. The SEC staff notes:

  • Filers should use the same elements for common line items but create unique contexts (dimensions) to distinguish financial information for subsidiaries, businesses and segments.
  • When reporting roll-forwards, such as the statement of shareholders’ equity, filers should use the same context reference for the beginning balance and the ending balance of the previous period.

Negative Values and Negated Labels
The standard taxonomy is designed so that the monetary amounts for most elements should be entered as positive values. Filers should properly distinguish negative values and negated labels. For example, negative values should be used to represent a loss for an element that has both a gain or loss concept. Negated labels should be used to render a balance in brackets.

Decimals
Tagged amounts should accurately reflect the rounded values reported on the financial statements.

Other Observations
Filers should provide debit/credit balance types for balance sheet and income statement monetary extensions. In instances when an extension can take a positive or negative value in different periods (most commonly on the cash flow statement), filers should either assign an appropriate balance type or provide a definition.

Filers who are not amending their XBRL filings should set the Amendment Flag to “false” and should leave the Amendment Description blank.

Filers should post their Interactive Data exhibits on their corporate website by the end of calendar day on the day of submission. Furthermore, the SEC discourages compressing the Interactive Data files in a .zip file as it may make it more difficult for the end users to access.

To learn more about Business Wire’s XBRL Services, please contact Michael Becker, Business Wire’s Vice President of Global Disclosure and Financial Reporting Services.


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