Leadership / Management | Legislative / Regulatory | XBRL

Looking for an edge, CPAs? Try XBRL


The XBRL train keeps picking up steam.

With Year 3 of the SEC's mandate rolling on, nearly all public companies are filing their financial reports via XBRL, bringing us this close to realizing the data tagging language's long-promised potential.

And that may not even be the most interesting recent development in the XBRL arena.

All of this XBRL activity got me thinking: What's new on the regulation side of the ledger? So I sat down with Louis Matherne at the 2011 XBRL U.S. Conference and asked him a few questions.

Matherne is the FASB's chief of taxonomy development, and he had some terrific insights about some of the surprising things he's learned about XBRL as the SEC's mandate has expanded.

Most significantly, he sees some huge opportunities for CPAs who take the time now to learn a thing or two about XBRL.

"We are taking the exchange of financial information into a place where we've not been before," said Matherne. "CPAs are going to be expected to be knowledgeable about what's going on in this space and should be prepared to help public companies and private companies alike.

"XBRL is really about the exchange of more valuable financial information," he added. "We're seeing XBRL enabling a greater exchange, collection and analysis of information. CPAs need to be a part of that equation. Whether we're talking about opining on that information or just helping clients understand what this is going to mean for them as they start to exchange their information in this important new medium, XBRL creates a real advantage for the CPA who has this skill set."

Matherne had plenty more to say about the state of XBRL today. Watch our interview in its entirety here.

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Bill Sheridan