XBRL US Labs, the research and development arm of XBRL US, the national consortium for XML business reporting standards, released the world's first publicly available XBRL iPhone app, Brix, on the iTunes App Store earlier today.
Brix delivers data from, and about, corporate financial statements moments after they are filed, to demonstrate the power and benefits of XBRL, and to generate interest in the Brix Project, an initiative to improve the usability of XBRL through "crowd source" techniques leveraging the collective expertise of a diverse group of business, information architecture, and technology practitioners.
Similar large-scale collaboration was used by XBRL US in 2007 and 2008 to build the taxonomy, or digital dictionary, for U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) now used by corporations to tag their financials in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules.
The new app was the product of the Labs team led by Research Fellow Evrhet Milam, a graduate student in the MISM (Masters of Information Systems Management) program at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management. "The team was focused on building something that would explain XBRL in a straightforward, visual, and simple way to an expanding audience," said Milam, "it will be a powerful research tool and work bench to test ideas about everything from data models to visualization."
XBRL US members and experts from a wide range of industries and disciplines are being invited to participate in a series of large-scale virtual events scheduled to begin in mid-September. Brix users can also request an invitation to participate via the app's "Learn More" section.
The Brix app enables iPhone viewing, searching, and sorting of XBRL reports and tags. It also uses the Notification feature to alert a user when a specific company files an XBRL report, or when a specific tag is used, and offers a one-click email forward of XBRL documents as an Excel attachment.
"This application is designed to help the business and technology sectors 'get' what XBRL is," said XBRL US communications VP Michelle Savage. "As the movement continues to go mainstream, experiments like Brix not only raise public awareness and understanding, they help those of us in the international XBRL consortium to develop best practices and increase the usability of XBRL."