XBRL — eXtensible Business Reporting Language
XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an XML-based computer software language that is developed specifically for the automation of business information requirements, such as the preparation, sharing and analysis of financial reports, statements, and audit schedules. XBRL labels companies' financial and other data with codes from standard lists (taxonomies) so that investors and analysts can more easily locate and analyse desired information. XBRL makes the analysis and exchange of corporate financial information easier and more reliable by allowing data to be extracted and processed automatically by XBRL-aware applications.
XBRL is a royalty-free, open specification for software being developed by a non-profit consortium consisting of over 170 leading companies, associations, and government agencies around the world. Anyone interested in applying XBRL to business reporting processes can receive a license from XBRL International. See the XBRL International Organisation Website.
Specifically, XBRL defines data-formatting conventions and vocabularies for marking up and describing business report data, such as sales or net assets. Like XML, it is tag based. Descriptions in the form of tags or labels are attached to the various pieces of business data. These tags describe the particular piece of data in terms of an agreed-upon vocabulary. That vocabulary is referred to as an XBRL taxonomy, the specific system of tags.
Once an organisation has the appropriate taxonomy, it can enable its reports for XBRL. From there, organisations can more easily use and share data from the reports within the organisation and between organisations. XBRL-aware applications can take advantage of the high level of specificity and self-describing nature of the tags to automatically process the information for purposes of reporting and analysis. XBRL is independent of any hardware platform, software operating system, programming language or accounting standard.
XBRL International is a not-for-profit consortium of approximately 550 companies and agencies worldwide working together to build the XBRL language and promote and support its adoption. The consortium members meet periodically in international conferences, conduct committee work regularly via conference calls, and communicate in email and phone calls throughout the week.
- Click here to go to the XBRL International Website.
Deloitte recognises and supports XBRL as a leading standard for managing and processing financial and business information and maintains a separate website dedicated to the case for XBRL. Click for www.xbrlplus.com.
IFRS XBRL Taxonomy
The IASC Foundation (IASCF) (renamed 1 July 2010 as IFRS Foundation) has developed a high quality XBRL 'taxonomy' for IFRSs (in effect, a dictionary of data tags that explains what each tagged element is and how it should be treated under IFRSs) that will be maintained in line with the annual Bound Volume of IFRSs.
In November 2002, the XBRL International Steering Committee (ISC) issued the IAS Primary Financial
Statements (PFS) Taxonomy as an XBRL Recommendation and also issued the IAS Explanatory Disclosures and Accounting Policies (EDAP) Taxonomy as a Public Working Draft. Both the PFS and EDAP taxonomies are available on the Internet from XBRL International's XBRL Resource Center.
The PFS Taxonomy includes XBRL representations of a classified balance sheet, an income statement, a statement of changes in equity, and a cash flow statement. The PFS Taxonomy encompasses the core financial statements that private sector and certain public sector entities typically report in annual, semi-annual, or quarterly financial disclosures as required by IAS 1.7 and IAS 34.8.
Significant accounting policies and other explanatory notes are modelled in a separate XBRL taxonomy, the Explanatory Disclosures and Accounting Policies (EDAP) taxonomy, which has been released as a public working draft.
- Click to go to IFRS Taxonomy
- Click to go to US Financial Reporting Taxonomy
- Link to XBRL Educational Resource Centre at Bryant University.
IFRS Foundation XBRL Activities
The IASB has created a Separate Section of its Website - www.ifrs.org/xbrl that focuses on matters relating to XBRL. On that site you will find IFRS-related XBRL news, links to various taxonomies, extensions, translations, educational materials, and upcoming events, among other information.
The XBRL International staff keep track of who is adopting XBRL, and how, country by country and agency by agency. The initiative is called XBRL Planet http://www.xbrlplanet.org/.