Despite the Securities and Exchange Commission giving the okay for companies to voluntarily file reports using XBRL, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. being poised to require quarterly call reports in the tagged data format, the United States still lags behind Europe, Asia and Australia in the adoption and implementation of the Extensible Business Reporting Language.Now more than five years old, XBRL is the financial reporting derivation of Extensible Mark-up Language, or XML - a framework that establishes individual "tags" for elements in structured documents, allowing specific elements to be immediately accessed and aggregated.
For accountants, analysts, bankers, auditors, regulators, managers and investors, the implications are potentially staggering. An event as basic as a transaction at a cash register could take on a tag that eventually makes its way to a consolidated financial report, to an 8-K filing and, ultimately, to the comparative graphs and spreadsheets of investors and financial analysts.
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