Washington (July 26, 2004) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking public comment on the costs and benefits associated with “tagged” data, and is mulling whether to consider a staff proposal to accept voluntary supplemental filings of financial data using the eXtensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL.

The regulator said that the initiative is aimed at determining:

- The benefits of tagging to reporting quality and efficiency;
- The implications of tagging data for filers, investors, the commission and other market participants; and,
- The compatibility of existing tag definitions with current disclosure requirements.

The SEC said that it might propose a rule this fall that would, if adopted, establish the voluntary program beginning with the 2004 calendar year-end reporting season. The commission’s Division of Corporation Finance, its Office of the Chief Accountant, its Division of Investment Management and its Office of Information Technology will work jointly on the XBRL initiative.

"This initiative is part of the commission’s broader effort to improve the quality of information available to investors and the marketplace,” said SEC Chairman William Donaldson in a statement.

Now five years old, XBRL, the financial reporting derivation of the Extensible Mark-up Language, or XML, is a framework that establishes individual “tags” for elements in structured documents, allowing specific elements to be immediately accessed and aggregated, thereby enabling disparate software applications to transmit and share information.

By contrast, the Internet’s more prevalent Hyper Text Markup Language, or HTML, provides pictures of structured documents and requires users to sort out individual elements, then copy and paste them for use in other applications.

-- WebCPA staff

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access