Extensible Business Reporting Language is starting to become more widely used, thanks to the SEC’s rules requiring the use of XBRL in financial filings in recent years and a new rule requiring XBRL for foreign issuers.

The Securities and Exchange Commission began requiring the largest public companies to file their financial statements using XBRL in 2009 and phased in the requirements for smaller issuers over the next two years. XBRL technology uses a data-tagging format that is supposed to make it easier for investors and analysts to compare financial information across companies and industries. Problems with the technology and the inconsistency of the tags used by companies have limited XBRL’s usefulness to many investors, however.

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