2012 US-GAAP Taxonomy Approved

April 19, 2012
The SEC has recently approved the 2012 version of the US-GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy (UGT) as provided to them by the FASB at the start of this year. Although the SEC encourages filers to move to this latest available reference taxonomy, there is currently no requirement for filers to transition, and the SEC has indicated no expectation that filers should migrate before it is practical. Consistent with this position, we recommend that filers submit their current or most recent quarter's report using the reference taxonomy from their last filing period and postpone migrating to the 2012 UGT until a later quarter. The new 2012 UGT includes several updates that are aimed at supporting recent changes in generally accepted accounting practices, as well as updates related to new taxonomy modeling approaches. To most effectively utilize the new taxonomy, filers will need to determine whether new UGT concepts now exist that can replace current extension concepts. The 2012 taxonomy has nearly 1,300 new elements. The majority of these are either supporting the eight recent accounting standards updates now covered by the UGT or they are element replacements and additions based on both internal FASB analysis and public feedback over the last year. In addition to a review of current extensions, filers will want to evaluate whether their current selection and use of UGT elements should be tuned up to better reflect improved UGT modeling structures now available. The 2012 UGT modeling improvements include the addition of new axes consistent with more common reporting practices, the combining or removal of axes that were deemed redundant, and the rationalization of both line item and member elements that presented ambiguous or redundant tagging options. As the evolution of the US-GAAP taxonomy is an ongoing process, these kinds of changes ranged over several of the disclosure sections of the taxonomy, but not yet all. Lastly, filers will need to identify and replace any currently used concepts that are one of the over 600 which have been deprecated in the new taxonomy. Several of these have designated replacements concepts already identified. If you want to learn more, you can find release notes for the 2012 UGT, along with other resources to assist in the process of migrating, at the FASB website. The release notes include a very readable summary of the updates in the new taxonomy, as well as appendices listing all changed elements categorized by the type of change (e.g. new, deprecated, change in document label, etc.). However, keep in mind that when the time comes to migrate, as a WebFilings customer you will have the support of a full featured migration wizard integrated into Wdesk plus the resources of our exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable Customer Success and Professional Services staff. With these you can be assured of a straightforward and substantially automated process resulting in a simple and positive transition to an improved representation of your future financial reports.
Timothy Randle

About the author

Timothy Randle is a Director of XBRL Solutions at Workiva. He has over 27 years of professional experience including over 5 years focusing on XBRL.