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XBRL International responds to the IIRC Consultation Draft on integrated reporting

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Jul 26, 2013

The XBRL International Best Practices Board (BPB) has submitted a letter of comment to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Consultation Draft on its proposed "International Integrated Reporting Framework" showing how XBRL can help make the multi-faceted information flow more accessible but also stressing that XBRL aspects should be considered early in the process to make full use of the available functionalities.

XBRL can be used to "tag" numeric and narrative information as well as express relationships between data points within a single report or across multiple reports (e.g., financial statements, CSR report, sustainability report, integrated report). It helps to collect, analyze, and report information for internal management reporting as well as external regulatory/compliance reporting by making the information accessible, reusable, and easily consumable. Structured XBRL data also facilitates automated validation of submissions, which increases reliability and completeness.

To make full use of the XBRL advantages, the BPB suggests requiring efficient, cross-references of information that would help to avoide cluttering a report with repeated or redundant information. In this context, the BPB believes that the IIRC should not only consider costs to prepare integrated reports but also costs to access, process, and use the data within them by the target audience — which will be made much more difficult in a cluttered, unconnected report.

For the development of a useful taxonomy, the BPB suggests the following steps to be undertaken as soon as possible:

  • A set of terms that are applied to the data needs to be agreed upon to make the data comparable and consistent. 
  • The IIRC should consider participating in a proof of concept (POC) project with experts from the global XBRL community. This would include creating a small, sample integrated reporting XBRL taxonomy.
  • An exploratory XBRL working group should be set up to develop (after a successful POC) a full-fledged XBRL Taxonomy for integrated reports.
  • The IIRC should cooperate proactively with XBRL International and the Best Practices Board to enhance IIRC’s XBRL knowledge and understanding of how the technology can be used to support integrated reporting.

Click for access to the full comment letter on the XBRL International Web site. Our summary of the IIRC proposals is available here.

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