Four-letter word for ‘transparency?’ Try ‘XBRL’

Chrystalball Every now and then, XBRL pokes its head up, takes a look around and reminds us that it's still there, waiting to redefine our financial system.

Today was one of those days.

The Financial Accounting Foundation and XBRL U.S. have announced a three-year deal to conduct research related to the XBRL taxonomy.

Under terms of the deal, the two sides will "foster the continued high quality and effectiveness of the U.S. GAAP taxonomy and promote interoperability and consistency between future versions of that taxonomy ... with other financial reporting taxonomies that XBRL U.S. will develop and implement."

In other words, says FAF President Terri Polley: "We have an opportunity to build a more transparent market using XBRL taxonomies.”

And who couldn't use a little more transparency these days? Congress is debating the merits of groundbreaking financial reforms in search of that very thing -- a little transparency, a little more protection against the next financial meltdown.

Am I saying XBRL is a magic financial bullet? Not at all. But it couldn't hurt, could it? The demand for accurate, timely and transparent financial information is as high as it has ever been, and XBRL promises to deliver that information and make it easy to understand. And its benefits go way beyond financial statements.

From where I sit, it's hard not to look at XBRL and be intrigued.

What about you? Is it time to dive into the XBRL pool? Let us know what you think, then check out these related resources:


Bill Sheridan