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.


Reminder: XBRL Webinar Today – Business Wire Hosts Reps from the SEC, XBRL US, Comcast

November 20, 2008

xbrl_logo from Google ImagesWith the SEC’s proposed mandate, which would require publicly traded companies in the U.S. to adopt XBRL for their financial reporting, looming, we are hosting a panel of XBRL experts today for a free webinar called “Understanding XBRL and the SEC’s Proposed Rule.” The live webinar will begin at 1 p.m. EST at BusinessWire.com.

XBRL-formatted documents are made to be easily searched for online, downloaded into spreadsheets, reorganized in databases and easily compared and analyzed. Notably, despite the fact that, under the SEC’s proposed mandate, Fortune 500 companies would be expected to adopt the format as early as next spring, most companies have yet to convert. A September study by Grant Thornton found that, while more than halfcubes_features_1 of CFOs surveyed were familiar with XBRL, just two percent were actually using the format in their company’s financial filings.

Business Wire, a longstanding member of the XBRL International Consortium and provider of XBRL services, will lead the following distinguished panelists in a discussion on what XBRL is, why this technology is reshaping public company reporting, who within your organization should be preparing for it, and how the investment community will consume financial data in this format:

  • Michelle Savage, Vice President, Communication, XBRL U.S.
  • David Blaszkowsky, Director, Office of Interactive Disclosure, U.S. SEC, and
  • Phillip Gaudreau, Manager, Accounting Projects, Comcast Corporation.

Registration is required for this free XBRL webinar:

“Understanding XBRL and the SEC’s Proposed Rule”
Thursday, November 20 beginning at 1 p.m. EST
Register today at www.BusinessWire.com/cnn/XBRL


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