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SEC proposes hyperlinking exhibits in HTML; FASB proposes 2017 GAAP taxonomy for XBRL

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The SEC is advancing the use of technology in making corporate information more readily accessible, by issuing a proposal that would require companies to include HTML hyperlinks to Exhibits in certain filings. These filings include registration statements and periodic and current reports that are subject to the exhibit requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K, or filed on Forms F-10 or 20-F.

SEC proposes hyperlinking exhibits in HTML

The SEC proposal released yesterday, entitled Exhibit Links and HTML format,is part of the regulator's Disclosure Effectiveness initiative, as well as ongoing initiatives to improve electronic reporting on the SEC's EDGAR electronic filing system, (formally, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system).

In brief, the proposal would require:

  • including an HTML hyperlink to each exhibit identified in the exhibit index in any registration statement or report that is required to include exhibits under Item 601.13 of Reg S-K, and
  • requiring all such reports be filed in EDGAR in HTML (i.e., no longer permitting ASCII format).

On the second point above, the Commission states in the proposing release that, "text-based American Standard Code for Information Interchange (“ASCII”) format cannot support functional hyperlinks," and 99% of filings currently use HTML, not ASCII.

The proposal carries a 45-day comment period (ending 45 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register).

FASB releases proposed 2017 GAAP Taxonomy

Another technology development this week includes the release of the FASB's proposed 2017 GAAP taxonomy,  The proposal, which carries a 60-day comment period, includes updates for newly issued accounting standards since the 2016 taxonomy was issued, and is used by companies filing information in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) in accordance with SEC requirements.

Additional information will be provided on an October 4 webcast entitled IN FOCUS: 2017 GAAP Taxonomy Changes and SEC Update, featuring FASB and SEC staff. See also FASB's XBRL page and the SEC's XBRL portal.



Edith Orenstein