The Financial Accounting Foundation has a new responsibility: ongoing maintenance of the U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy in the new data-tagging format mandated by the SEC.

The FAF, which oversees both the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, now has the job of upkeep of the GAAP data tags using Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, technology. The FAF and FASB plan to assemble a small team of technical staff who will be dedicated to maintaining the taxonomy and will work towards the release of the next taxonomy update in early 2011.

The taxonomy was originally developed by a nonprofit group, XBRL US. FASB provided technical accounting standards support to XBRL US, and it expects to continue interacting with XBRL US going forward. The new responsibility comes after several months of discussions between the FAF and the staff of the SEC. 

The U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy is a list of computer-readable tags in XBRL that allows companies to label the thousands of pieces of financial data included in financial statements and related footnote disclosures. The tags allow computers to automatically search for and assemble data so it can be accessed and analyzed more easily by investors, analysts, journalists and the SEC staff.  

“The FASB team assigned to taxonomy maintenance will work closely with the SEC, investors, issuers, accounting firms and other stakeholders to develop updates that are of the highest quality,” said FAF Chairman Jack Brennan in a statement.

The maintenance activities will focus on updating the taxonomy for changes in U.S. GAAP, best practices in taxonomy extensions and technical enhancements.

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