Edgar Online has released a report illustrating how accountants, institutional investors and attorneys are using data tagged in Extensible Business Reporting Language format to analyze companies’ financials.

The SEC has begun requiring public companies to file their financial reports in XBRL format, which allows analysts to compare financials across companies and industries.

The report found that 74 percent of the respondents are using XBRL data for performing industry or market analysis, and 51 percent for benchmarking competitors or comparable companies. Forty percent of the respondents said they were using the XBRL data for analyzing equity investment decisions and 30 percent for identifying or evaluating mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.

Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said that fundamentals were the most important XBRL data sets for them, while nearly 80 percent ranked market data sets as among the most important. Sixty-four percent of the economic data sets were at least moderately important for respondents.

Annual and quarterly documents topped the list of essential material for the respondents. Ninety-one percent of the respondents named these documents as the most critical information for their investment, research and analysis processes. Fifty-eight percent cited current report documents as the most vital information, and 32 percent gave that description for the proxy statement. Seventy-six percent of survey respondents said the accuracy of XBRL data sets is the most important feature.

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