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XBRL Around the World

A look beyond U.S. shores to put the SECís interactive data initiative in a global context.

October 2008
by Karen Kernan/Journal of Accountancy

XBRL (eXtensible Business Markup Language) is evolving everywhere, but unevenly, driven by various stakeholders such as governments, stock exchanges, banks and other industry sectors. While the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) has been finalizing its proposed rule requiring public companies and mutual funds to file their financial reports in interactive data, this article puts the United States’ progress in a global context.

XBRL, or “interactive data” as the SEC often refers to it, is an open-information format-standard that enables automated, global sharing of business information as contained in company ledgers, income statements, cash flow, balance sheets, mutual fund risk and returns, as well as textual information included within footnotes and other requirements of business reporting.

XBRL is predicted to have a profound impact on any person or organization that creates or uses business information. Seeking proof that this evolving language for financial and business information can deliver on its promises of superior data and vastly improved communication, key stakeholders around the world were interviewed for this article, to see who the early adopters are and explore the many ways XBRL is already in use.

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