Anticipating Our Customers' Needs Surrounding the 2011 XBRL Taxonomy

July 1, 2011
When the 2011 US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy was accepted by the SEC in early March, the WebFilings team was already executing a plan of action that included not only the addition of the new taxonomy for use within the application, but also a method for converting from the 2009 taxonomy to the 2011 taxonomy directly from the application. The approach taken by WebFilings in implementing the taxonomy is a great example of the our customer-first culture. While adding the 2011 taxonomy was a requirement to allow our customers to file future XBRL reports, we asked ourselves how our customers would actually be using the new taxonomy. In the vast majority of cases, our customers had previously used the 2009 taxonomy and they needed a way of migrating their existing 2009 tags to 2011 tags. We also asked ourselves what our customers needed out of the process. They needed easy. They needed fast. They needed to maintain control of the process. The result was our 2011 XBRL taxonomy migration workflow, a five-step guided process that automates much of the XBRL 2009 to 2011 taxonomy migration. To begin with, it is fully integrated into the Wdesk External Reporting Solution, which eliminates the need to use outside applications to complete the migration. In addition, the migration workflow puts our customers in complete control of their own migration by identifying potential problems (extension concept issues, deprecated concept issues) and providing applications to resolve them but leaving the ultimate decision with the customer. Those decisions are made easier through our ability to show the deprecated and migrated elements in the context of the reporting document instead of in a taxonomy-based application. Finally, it allows users to perform the migration at their own pace, allowing for the process to be stopped and restarted as needed. By putting our customers first and anticipating their future problems, we’ve been able to prevent many problems related to the implementation of the 2011 XBRL taxonomy and enable our customers to solve the rest themselves. It’s just another way Wdesk takes the pain out of SEC reporting and XBRL while empowering our customers.
Mike Sellberg

About the author

Mike Sellberg is Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Workiva. He is the former EVP and CTO at iMed Studios and the former Divisional General Manager at Engineering Animation, Inc.