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FASB Board member promotes XBRL: 'It's in your best interest'

  • XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) (mid blue) Image

25 Sep 2013

Harold Schroeder, a FASB Board member, gave a speech at the XBRL US Conference yesterday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr Schroeder focused on the need for structured data and explained the FASB's involvement with the taxonomy.

In his speech, Mr Schroeder often referred to his background as a portfolio manager to emphasise the relevancy and importance of XBRL to investors. He also articulated the tangible benefits of XBRL for investors:

  • reduced cost, thus improving investor returns,
  • increased productivity as a result of faster and better analysis, and
  • increased opportunity for higher returns because more companies can be analysed.

Mr Schroeder acknowledged that data aggregators have been creating their own competing taxonomies for years. However, third-party vendors have limited resources and their data sets frequently contain errors. A standardised taxonomy — where filers tag their own financial statements — reduces the number of errors, especially as time goes on. He noted that preparers also have the benefit of being in control of their financial statements. Mr Schroeder said, 'With structured data, using a standardised taxonomy, the preparer is better able to take control of the data that investors receive'.

Mr Schroeder also discussed why he believes the FASB should be involved in developing and maintaining the taxonomy, saying that the tasks best reside with accounting standard experts. It is a natural fit that the FASB — the US standard setter — would take on the responsibility of the taxonomy.

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