The Nasdaq Stock Market, Microsoft and PricewaterhouseCoopers have embarked on a pilot programme to deliver investor information over the Internet using Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), an XML-based framework for financial reporting.
XBRL has been promoted as a major step forward in the preparation, publication, exchange and analysis of financial data. The standard uses common tags to identify generic information within financial documents, making it easier for investors to find, share and analyse data.
Alfred Berkeley, vice chairman of Nasdaq, says: "The widespread adoption of XBRL technology will mean corporations and investors alike will reap the benefits of a simpler process for issuing financial reports and making investment decisions."
The pilot programme will provide investors with remote access to financial data from the financial reports of 21 Nasdaq-listed companies starting with a company's most recent financials and going back five years. The data, which will be formatted in XBRL, will be publicly available via a Nasdaq-hosted Web service. This can be accessed through Microsoft Excel.
Mike Willis is founding chairman of XBRL International, a non-profit industry consortium, and a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He says: "By reducing the time and cost of obtaining and using information, XBRL will greatly enhance the ability of companies and investors to produce and analyse information...It will lead to improved investor access and dramatically increase the speed at which investors can obtain information for their own analysis."