In 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission mandated that public companies submit portions of annual (10-K) and quarterly (10-Q) reports-in a digitized format known as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).
The Columbia report included three specific recommendations:
"We believe there are several conditions for XBRL to be widely used:
1. The entire XBRL community must find a way to reduce significantly the error rate and unnecessary extensions (company-specific data tags). Some approaches that might achieve this are: providing greater regulatory oversight, potentially requiring an audit
of the data, or requiring filers to resolve the error and quality checks communicated to them by XBRL US.
2. Filers should spend the effort they are investing in attempting to destroy the SEC’s XBRL regulation on improving the quality of their own data, as well as on making their own data more useful and accessible to users.
3. XBRL technology development needs to be taken over and run by technologists, rather than accountants and regulators. An alternate and challenging approach to improving the underlying technology would possibly be to partner with the major business information
system vendors (like IBM, Oracle and SAP), the key web-based financial information suppliers (like Google and Yahoo) and possibly even the major data aggregators (Bloomberg, CapitalIQ, FactSet and Thomson Reuters) not only to ensure the necessary mapping to
the regulatory use of XBRL is as seamless as possible, but, more importantly, to get them to help improve the XBRL technology overall."
Great insights available in the full report available here: http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/ceasa/newsn/2252
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