Survey on XBRL reveals that only few investors extract all the data they need manually from reports

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06 Dec, 2016

The CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals, has published the results of a member survey on XBRL.

While the focus of the survey is the lack of knowledge of XBRL, the poor quality of XBRL information companies provide, and the fact that neither companies nor investors regard XBRL as a communication platform, the study also provides interesting insights into where and how investors get their information.

Only 11% of respondents extract all the information they need directly and manually from financial statements and other source documents. This number has halved since 2009. On the other hand, the share of those respondents who either rely exclusively on information by third-party providers or obtain most of the data used in their evaluation of companies from third‐party data providers with only a limited amount of data extracted manually has gone up from 42% in 2009 to 58% in 2016.

The study concludes that if companies changed their approach to the use of structured data and no longer just tagged their information at the end of the financial reporting process simply to meet regulatory compliance needs, it could revolutionise financial reporting and would raise the level of awareness of XBRL which currently has 90% of investors not using XBRL because they are either unaware of XBRL (55%) or are aware but not up-to-date on its usage in financial reporting (35%). Whether better XBRL usage and awareness would also stop the trend of increasingly relying on third-party data is not a question looked at in the study.

Please click to access the full report on the CFA Institute website.

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