Legislative / Regulatory | Technology & Social Media | XBRL

It’s official: SEC mandates XBRL filings

Xbrl We've known for a while that XBRL is coming. Now we know when.

The SEC is officially requiring 500 of the largest public companies to file their financial statements via XBRL, a data-tagging language that helps companies electronically communicate their business and financial data. The mandate begins with 10-Qs filed after June 2009.

The rest of the public-company world will be rolled into the mandate in phases over the next two years.

Some companies have already made the switch to XBRL, and a few non-profits are even finding benefits in using the language to file their financials.

Supporters say XBRL will improve data quality, provide users with the most recent and relevant information, and increase the transparency of financial information. XBRL U.S. board member Sunir Kapoor said the mandate "ushers in the Age of Transparency" and "will lead to more transparent and efficient financial markets."

That claim takes on greater importance when viewed in the context of the economic crisis. Would more transparency have prevented the meltdown? Probably not. But it sure wouldn't have hurt. That alone should justify the move to XBRL. An increasingly global economy and the fact that XBRL is in use throughout the world underscore the SEC's decision.

Has your company made the move to XBRL? Let us know, then check out these related resources.


Bill Sheridan