As part of the Commission's ongoing efforts to make financial disclosure more useful and accessible to investors, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox met today with representatives of the accounting and financial reporting software industry to express support for integrating interactive data capabilities into existing accounting and financial reporting software.
Interactive data holds the promise of transforming the static, text-only documents companies file with the SEC into dynamic financial reports that can be quickly and easily accessed and analyzed.
"Individual investors are looking for better tools to help them choose mutual funds and individual stocks," Chairman Cox said. "Interactive data can help make those new tools available. To make it easier for companies to use interactive data in their financial reports, we're working with the industry to see whether existing accounting software can incorporate the interactive data functionality. In turn, software for professional analysts and retail investors can take us beyond the current electronic images of paper-based forms to financial software that makes elaborate analysis and comparison of companies' financial reports routine and instantaneous."
Earlier this year, the Commission commenced a voluntary program for receiving financial information using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) — the computer language that makes interactive financial data possible. For filers, this means an opportunity to assess the benefits and costs of using interactive data.
As part of the interactive data initiative, the Commission also issued a request for information from the software industry in October, to assist the Commission's staff in identifying ways to receive, store, view, and analyze interactive financial data. The full text of the RFI can be accessed on the Commission's website.