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Mon, July 09, 2012
XBRL Is Here to Stay
Author: Darren Peterson

Despite the early grumbles and groans over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) mandate on filing company financials in XBRL format, XBRL is here to stay. Chief financial officers (CFO) at first were leery of using this new system; they didn’t want to spend the time learning and then entering data in a new format, nor did they want to spend the money to have a service provider handle it.  As CFOs learned how to comply with these new regulations, they realized that the first year of filing fundamental data was easier. Much to their dismay, the real challenge came in the second year, when XBRL filings became much more intense with the requirement for detailed footnote tagging. 

As time proceeds, however, CFOs are coming to terms with the new standard and process, and they no longer need to lean so heavily on service providers that they turned to in a frenzied rush before.  Their teams have a better grasp of XBRL and want to regain control over how and when their SEC reports are created. They also believe there are cost savings to be gained from taking on more of the work from outside service providers.  Yet, the ever-changing taxonomies and intricate detailed footnote tagging process suggest against CFOs completely severing those ties. Rather, companies benefit most when have a knowledgeable partner to lean upon when creating these filings – something you may have heard called “self-assisted filing.”

Self-assisted filing gives the CFO’s team control over the creation of the document but still allows them to leverage a service providers experience on a specific tag, for feedback on taxonomy and filing changes, or simply to review their document for quality.  It also provides companies a continuity plan when key members of the compliance team are unavailable or when there is turnover. This is the direction companies are taking to handle SEC XBRL filings.  A blending of the two approaches is the best of both worlds and ensures that all their needs are continually met.  Case in point, EDGAR Online’s own software platform – which has been built to support a team approach that includes both the service provider and the company – has evolved over time to give the company more hand’s-on control.

What is the process your company uses for XBRL filings with SEC?