Timeline of the SEC's XBRL journey: key milestones along the way in XBRL's journey.

Position:Securities and Exchange Commission - EXtensible Business Reporting Language - Calendar


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopts a rule establishing a voluntary program for reporting financial information on the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system (EDGAR) using XBRL. Then-SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson said, "By working to enhance the commission's filing and disclosure process through the use of new data formats, including tagged data, the commission can improve how content is organized and analyzed--improvements that will benefit everyone who utilizes the SEC's public disclosure process."


The first version of the United States generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) taxonomy is released. Since that date, there have been six updates, including the most recent update released on May 20, 2013.


The SEC solicits the software industry's input for helping manage interactive financial data. Then-SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said, "The use of interactive data ... and its instant availability would dramatically streamline and accelerate the collection and reporting of ... financial information to the commission and the public."


The SEC issues rules requiring companies to provide financial statement information in the XBRL interactive data format. This requirement is phased in over a four-year period. As a result of the ruling, companies are required to submit XBRL filings in addition to the HTML (i.e., text) filings as an exhibit.


The Center for Excellence in Accounting and Security Analysis (CEASA) at the Columbia Business School issues a white paper based on its findings up to 2012, entitled, An Evaluation of the Current State and Future of XBRL and Interactive Data for Investors and Analysts." Among the key conclusions of this white paper:

There is clear demand for timely, structured, machine-readable data including information in financial reports. XBRL-tagged data can meet this need if it reduces the total processing costs of acquiring and proofing the data, and that the data are easily integrated (mapped) into current processes.

However, many investors and analysts are concerned about the reliability of the XBRL-tagged data provided, the potential disruption to their current workflow, especially if the XBRL data does not provide a clear timeliness, accuracy and processing advantage and the difficulty of gathering, processing, and consuming the data.

Investors and analysts, who are knowledgeable about XBRL, expressed...

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