Congratulations on a Great 10-K Season

confronting contradictory audit evidence part 2
April 17, 2013

XBRL 10-K Season in Review

The December 2012 quarter marked an important milestone as the final detail tagging phase-in concluded for Tier 3 filers' 10-K reporting. It was a particularly challenging time due to the highest volume of upgrades ever to detail tag on Form 10-K, which meant a substantial amount of incremental tagging from Form 10-Q. The quarter proved to be a great success for the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) customers with roughly 50 percent of customers self tagging. With the support of their Customer Success Managers (CSMs) and Professional Service Managers (PSMs), DIYs were able to complete their XBRL filings and are well on their way toward self-sufficiency. The Customer Success team wants to make sure every customer gets the most out of their experience on Wdesk. With the most recent upgrades under their belts, DIYs and full-service customers should feel confident about increasing their proficiency in XBRL. Although the following tips are geared towards Wdesk users, they are helpful reminders, even if you haven't made the switch yet.

Timing is Everything

The key to success is project planning. When customers start early, they have the advantage of discovering their knowledge gap before the busiest time, allowing them to get help before it is too late. Starting XBRL early does not mean tagging has to be completed early. However, it does mean that customers will have a better understanding of the amount of time required for tagging, so they will be able to better budget their time. If customers do not start the tagging process until after the document is completed, they run the risk of being overwhelmed by technical details beyond choosing concepts. When the tagging is underestimated, there is a much higher likelihood of requiring urgent, outside assistance. For Q1, customers are highly recommended to complete the roll forward early, making sure the shell document is fully tagged with updated and fully-validated dates before the closing cycle begins. Attention should be given to preserving the links in order to avoid disconnecting the XBRL tagging. When new content is added to the document, it should be immediately tagged and validation should be maintained. Doing this will prevent the content from snowballing. It is important to note that customers should always conclude with a full SEC viewer tie-out to confirm the output.

Hourly Services are a Supplement

Being a DIY customer means that the customer has project ownership to drive the XBRL to completion. Customers without a full-service arrangement typically have the ability to complete their filing independently. Hourly services are meant to address specific needs in order to supplement the in-house preparation process. However, customers must not depend on the hourly service too heavily, as it is not designed to replace a full-service contract that provides extensive tagging support. The WebFilings Customer Success team helps customers succeed no matter where they are in their tagging, by providing different levels of XBRL support from full service to DIY backup.

Advance Booking is the Way to Go

The best way for a customer to leverage assistance is by reserving time with his or her CSM or PSM early. CSMs and PSMs are important partners in the filing process. They are dedicated to helping their customers achieve success and will greatly streamline customer preparation efforts when fully utilized. At the beginning of the preparation cycle, customers should make a point to reach out to their CSMs for any application related questions. Feel comfortable leaning on the expertise of your CSM. The entire team is made up of Wdesk experts! For mapping and modeling or XBRL best practices questions, it is best to book time with a PSM in advance. Customers should schedule a kick-off call with the PSM before the quarter close begins. During this call, discuss the filing timeline and when assistance may be desired, so the PSM can block time on his or her calendar. It is important for customers to spend time learning and getting questions answered during the slow period and to use hours during the peak filing period for necessities. This will allow the focus before filing to be on technical compliance and completeness.

Quality Matters

As XBRL reporting continues to mature, quality will quickly come into sharper focus. Prevalent quality issues may no longer escape scrutiny regardless of liability exemption status. Therefore, it is very important to invest in continuous improvement of XBRL. Regularly reviewing concepts will ensure they are applicable and the most specific available. In addition, customers should replace unnecessary extensions and make a point to understand the taxonomy's modeling approach for the disclosure and maintain consistency. Lastly, filers can utilize all of the features available to them, including XBRL document check, business rules, and project validation, to identify and resolve errors and potential issues, ensuring the quality of the filing. Keep in mind, however, that many quality issues cannot be identified by an automated program. These features are only additional assurance and do not replace a thorough review by the preparer with subject matter expertise and proper judgment. Many filers feel the peace of mind is worth the investment of an outside review. This may be particularly beneficial with the upcoming migration to the 2013 taxonomy.


Congratulations on a successful wrap up of the final detail tagging upgrades! Keep these suggestions in mind for future filings—and for more useful tips and tricks head over to the resources page.
Dean Ritz

About the author

Dean Ritz is a Senior Director of IP Strategy at Workiva. He has more than 25 years of experience in the software industry with a focus on XBRL the last 7 years.