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XBRL: Review Essay

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Updated: Feb 16th, 2022

XBRL is an open standard for business information reporting and regulating the exchange of financial information through XML language. The specification of this language is supported and published by an international non-profit organization XBRL International. XBRL contains metadata that forms taxonomies describing both individual reporting parameters and the relationships between them and other taxonomy elements. Thus, XBRL is a universal digital language for financial and business reporting.

One of the main features of XBRL is the presence of precise and authoritative definitions. Taxonomies are definitions that are entirely consistent with reporting terms and items. They are developed by government authorities and, therefore, fully comply with the requirements of laws and regulations. In addition, XBRL supports the ability to establish testable business rules that regulate the transmission of accounting information. This allows for better control over the quality of information sent to regulatory authorities and third parties, as well as to identify questionable information. Moreover, XBRL supports an unlimited number of languages and a broad spectrum of software.

The primary users of the XBRL framework are companies and regulators. Typically, different regulators require data in different forms, although the facts contained therein may be the same. Reporting companies thus have to fill in identical data in separate reports. XBRL allows unifying this system by filling in business information once and then generating any reports based on this data. It defines an electronic format for reporting that allows computers to create, validate, and process reports automatically. Determining a unified semantic meaning of facts ensures that each recipient of the report interprets the facts in the same way. Regulators, such as stock exchanges and securities regulators, also benefit from XBRL. First, they are given the opportunity to evaluate the compliance and performance of listed corporations and securities in a universal format. Moreover, regulators can provide the relevant data in this format for other market participants in order to ensure its disclosure and accessibility.

Inline XBRL

The Inline XBRL (iXBRL) specification allows for embedding XBRL document tags into an HTML page. The main goal of HTML format is the presentation of data in an easy to understand and straightforward way. In other words, HTML documents have become a framework for displaying XBRL data. iXBRL framework is used by both regulators and companies across the globe to customize business reports and financial statements in both human-readable and machine-readable formats.

The benefit of iXBRL is that it provides structured and clear information to regulators and analysts. At the same time, it allows reporting entities to maintain complete control over the type and presentation of the relevant report. Moreover, it eliminates the need for time-consuming data analysis and material search. The IXBRL is designed in such a way that data marking and organization are clear and obvious, and it takes several seconds to extract specific information. It should be noted that this format is recognized by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and many government financial regulators of other states. Thus, a company that has prepared accounting data in this way receives additional credit and a guarantee that this format is acceptable to the regulator.

Financial and business report data can be displayed through the interactive iXBRL viewer. It allows exploring structured accounting data as well as concepts and definitions related to an item in a report. One of the most convenient features of the viewer is the ability to click on a specific position in the report, such as the amount or percentage, and find out detailed information in this regard. It may include the date, accuracy, change, and other information, depending on the definitions of a particular taxonomy.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "XBRL: Review." February 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/xbrl-review/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'XBRL: Review'. 16 February.

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