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Where does XBRL go from here? SEC Commissioner Jackson shares his vision on structured data

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Feb 13, 2019

On February 13, 2019, Toppan Merrill published its latest issue of "Dimensions", which included an article where Robert J. Jackson Jr., one of the three SEC commissioners appointed in 2018, recently added his voice in support of expanding the use of XBRL in disclosure and improving XBRL quality in SEC filings.

He was the keynote speaker at the Investor Forum 2018: Powering Fintech. To outline his vision for the future of structured data, Mr. Jackson presented three specific paths for improving or expanding the role of XBRL data in financial disclosure:

  1. fix the incomprehensible public data;
  2. expand the use of XBRL;
  3. encourage data analysis, not extraction.

Notably, his recurring theme was a collaborative approach in which the market guides the SEC on where to focus.

The commissioner told the audience that “we’re making a mistake as an investing public about what kinds of data we actually have.” A conventional view would recognize two types of corporate financial data: private data—especially about privately owned companies—that must be purchased; and data from public SEC filings. He identifies a third type: data that is “public but completely incomprehensible.” Much of the publicly available data in filings accessible on the SEC’s website is essentially hidden, because mining it is “costly, time-consuming, and error-prone.” With this understanding, one of his goals “for the SEC and for all of you in the XBRL community is that we are going to eliminate that third kind of data.”

Review the full article on Toppan Merrill's website.

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