The international XBRL Project Committee is helping to develop and launch XBRL (extensible business reporting language), a free XML-based specification that uses accepted financial reporting standards and practices to exchange financial statements across all software and technologies, including the Internet.
Over the past year, more than 30 organizations and private companies representing the global financial, accounting, and software communities, including the AICPA, have been collaborating on the XBRL framework.
Eric Cohen, CPA, of Cohen Computer Consulting, one of the project committee members, calls XBRL "the 'stone soup' of accounting," explaining that the XBRL project was a catalyst that brought together competitors and content experts to collaborate and agree on a common format for accounting information.
The committee expects the product to reach the market in July following a comment period concluding in early June. XBRL streamlines the financial information supply chain and solves two significant problems for users and preparers of financial statements by providing efficient preparation and reliable extraction of financial data across all formats.
The implementation costs to CPA firms and their clients will be minimal because XBRL will be built into software technology and operating procedures. Users will also be able to prepare and extract statements according to the accounting principles of different jurisdictions.
Information will be entered only once but able to be rendered in any form, such as a printed financial statement, an HTML document for the company's website, an EDGAR filing with the SEC, a raw XML file, or another specialized reporting format such as a credit report or loan document.
More information can be found at www.xbrl.org. *
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