Training & CPE | XBRL

‘Transparency’ rhetoric finally includes XBRL

Xbrl Now they're getting it.

CPAs have been touting XBRL's potential for a while now, and it appears the powers-that-be are finally starting to pay attention.

A bill introduced by Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, would require federal agencies to use XBRL to track how companies are using federal stimulus money.

“The technology exists to create real transparency that would allow us to track TARP dollars and value toxic assets, but the federal government is far behind the curve in implementing available solutions,” Issa said in this WebCPA article. “This legislation offers more than the promise of change and transparency, it is a substantive plan to implement it.”

The proposed legislation doesn't stop there.

If it passes, "all federal agencies that require corporate reporting would have to accept reports, and prepare any analysis of them to be disseminated, in the XBRL format," reports's David McCann. "Presumably, each agency would then abandon other formats that it currently requires, such as ASCII text or Excel spreadsheets. The bill stipulates that agencies establish procedures for adopting XBRL within a year from the law's passage."

Big steps, indeed. But even without Issa's bill, there's plenty of progress on the XBRL front.

A recent report shows that at least 340 of the 500 public companies that will be required to file their financial reports via XBRL in June 2009 have already made the conversion.

"These XBRL financial statements represent almost $7 trillion in market capitalization, over 50 percent of the total market cap for all publicly traded companies reporting to the SEC," said Alfred R. Berkeley, chairman of Pipeline Financial Systems LLC and chair of the XBRL US Board. "We’re at critical mass and looking forward to extending investor benefits to other asset classes in the future.”

What about you? Have you taken any steps toward XBRL implementation yet? Let us know, then check out these related resources.

XBRL at the Expo
The time has come to have serious discussions about the benefits of XBRL.

Some of those discussions will take place at the Maryland Business and Accounting Expo on June 16-17 in Baltimore. The latest developments in XBRL will be featured in four Expo sessions on June 16. Get details about those sessions here, then read more about the entire Expo and register here.


Bill Sheridan