XBRL US launched on Wednesday its second annual XBRL Challenge, a contest to discover the top open source analytical tools that can mine XBRL-formatted corporate financial data from the SEC’s EDGAR database. 

Similar to the previous contest, this one will award a $20,000 Grand Prize to the top two teams, individuals or organizations that submit the most useful and user-friendly application that conducts innovative analysis of public companies. The XBRL Challenge is sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs, the CFA Institute, and Wharton Research Data Service.

To date, over 8,800 public companies file Extensible Business Reporting Language-formatted financial statements down to the detailed level. Legislation is also pending that would require the use of XBRL-formatted data for reporting on all government program expenditures, which could make XBRL-enabled  tools for processing, reporting and analysis even more critical for investors, analysts, regulators, businesses, watchdogs, economists and academics.

“Corporate data in XBRL format will clearly benefit investors and analysts, but it may require some standardizing to make it more useable,” said CFA Institute president and chief executive John Rogers. “Making that standardization available will help participants create more functional, valuable tools for analysts.”

Last year's XBRL Challenge was won by Calcbench, a Web-based application that allows users to extract, analyze and share XBRL-formatted company financial data.

XBRL US will accept submissions through Feb. 28, 2013, with final judging and awarding of prizes to take place in late March 2013. As with last year's contest, contestants will be provided technical documentation and given access to the XBRL US database of XBRL financial fundamentals from all public companies. 

In addition, this year XBRL US will provide access to a baseline normalization of XBRL US GAAP concepts, which will improve the ease of working with the database as well as the usability of the analysis that can be performed. This year's submissions will be required to perform certain analytical functions such as year-to-year, multi-company comparisons and ratio analysis. The XBRL Challenge will be judged by a panel of experts drawn from academia, and the investment and technology communities including:

•    Alfred Berkeley, Vice Chairman, Gentag Inc.
•    Eric Gillespie, Founder and CEO, Poplicus
•    Kaitlin Lee, Senior Developer, Sunlight Foundation
•    Philip Moyer, Managing Director, Technology Group, Safeguard Scientifics
•    Paul Ratnaraj, Director - Advanced Initiatives, WRDS

Individuals, teams or organizations can learn more and enter the XBRL Challenge by going to http://facebook.com/XBRLchallenge. Updates will be shared on Facebook and on Twitter at @XBRLUS and using #XBRLCHALLENGE.

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