The Securities and Exchange Commission has released its latest review of interactive data financial statement submissions and found that filers are making progress.
The SEC's Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovations found that the filings indicate that filers are devoting "significant effort to understand their responsibilities under this program, comply with the new rules and provide high-quality submissions."
The SEC has begun mandating the use of Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, technology in filings by a growing spectrum of public companies. XBRL provides an interactive data-tagging format that allows investors to compare information across companies and industries.
The SEC staff reviewed filings for the second quarter of calendar year 2011, which include the first submissions made by the third phase-in group of filers, as well as the first detailed tagged submissions of the second phase-in group. They used data analysis tools to survey the entire group of filings and data points, and in some cases they targeted the details of specific filings and tags.
However, the SEC said its staff has identified several areas where there were common issues with the filings. For example, it is continuing to see similar issues that it identified in previous reviews pertaining to the formatting of the financial statements, negative values, use of unnecessary extensions, and the completeness of the tagging, specifically with parentheticals and string values.
The SEC said filers should continue to pay attention to those topics when they submit information to the commission and should carefully review previous staff observations.
The SEC staff also noted that many new filers have been asking if the rendered version of the XBRL financial statements needs to look exactly the same as the HTML financial statements. It said the answer is no. "Filers should concentrate on the quality of the tagging, rather than trying to match the rendering of the XBRL exactly to the HTML filing," said the report. "Furthermore, filers should not create custom elements or use incorrect dates in their contexts just to achieve specific rendering results."
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