SEC proposes rule to allow reporting in XBRL

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission

As part of its initiative to assess the benefits of tagged data and its potential for improving the timeliness, accuracy and analysis of financial disclosure in Commission filings, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a proposing release today to establish a voluntary program allowing registrants to file supplemental financial information using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).

Registrants would be able to voluntarily furnish XBRL data in an exhibit to specified EDGAR filings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940. This program would begin with the 2004 calendar year-end reporting season. The proposal will be open for public comment for a 30 day period following its publication in the Federal Register.

The Commission also issued a concept release today seeking public comment on:
  • the benefits of tagging data to improve reporting quality and efficiency;
  • the implications of tagging data for filers, investors, the Commission and other market participants; and
  • the adequacy and efficacy of XBRL as a format for reporting financial information.

Comments on the concept release should be submitted to the Commission within 45 days of its publication in the Federal Register.

Data tagging is gaining prominence as a format for enhancing financial reporting data using eXtensible Mark-Up Language (XML) derivatives, such as XBRL. Tagging provides greater context to data through standard definitions that turn text-based information, such as the filings currently contained in the Commission's EDGAR system, into documents that can be retrieved, searched and analyzed through automated means. Data tags describe information such as items included in financial statements. This enables investors and other marketplace participants to analyze data from different sources and allows for the automatic exchange of financial information across various software platforms, including web services.

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