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CFO Magazine

Six Steps to XBRL Tagging

With the complete XBRL US GAAP Taxonomies now under public review, three accounting educators share best practices for CPAs.

February 2008
by Mary Phillips, et al./Journal of Accountancy

As many of you are aware by now, XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is reinventing how we transmit and use data in business. Many public companies are already submitting reports to the SEC through the voluntary XBRL program. However, XBRL is not just for SEC companies: Small businesses and practitioners alike could soon be using XBRL to submit information to bankers, the IRS and other agencies. In fact, XBRL will become a part of every CPA’s practice, both large and small. View related articles.

XBRL is a language for electronic communication of business data. Each item (depreciation expense, for example) is tagged with information about various attributes, such as calendar year, audited/unaudited status, currency, etc. XBRL-tagged data can be read by any software that includes an XBRL processor and thus can be transferred easily between computers. To create XBRL documents, you do not need to take an XML computer programming course. Software is available to tag data for clients, submit tagged data to various recipients and receive and analyze tagged data from other sources.

This article has been excerpted from the Journal of Accountancy. Read the full article here.