Experts Weigh In On Inline XBRL in Finance Executive Podcast

Experts Weigh In On Inline XBRL in Finance Executive Podcast
March 7, 2019

After the Securities and Exchange Commission announced its move to Inline XBRL™ format in mid-2018, accounting teams quickly went from asking "What is the Inline XBRL requirement?" to "How do I prepare for the Inline XBRL requirement?"

A Financial Executive Podcast explored the topic of iXBRL™ reporting in depth. FEI invited Emily Huang of Idaciti, Mike Starr of Workiva, and Mike Willis of the SEC to discuss the merits of the soon-to-be-required inline format.

The impact of inline filings

Mike Willis began the conversation by explaining the fundamental difference between traditional XBRL® and Inline XBRL filings: "Instead of submitting the entire active data file [such as a 10-Q or 10-K] as an exhibit that's separate, inline filers embed a part of the interactive data file within the HTML filing. They submit the rest of it as an exhibit to the filing, which includes the contextual information that describes a tag, and that process is typically handled by the software that they're using."

He went on to highlight how the SEC took the preparers' perspectives into account before weighing in on the decision. The SEC carefully examined the impact the iXBRL format would have on reducing the reporting burden and enhancing report quality, he said. The commission also considered general marketplace readiness and factors such as vendor support and how to ease the transition.

Stronger data standards

Mike Starr spoke at length on the iXBRL format's potential to improve standardization within financial reporting. "My hope is that it will lead to consistent tagging across companies," Starr said. "You know, GAAP requires the same information to be reported for similar events or transactions. And the inherent consistency in GAAP is not always reflected in the XBRL filings."

Faster analysis of financial reports

In addition, iXBRL tagging makes it possible for analysts, investors, and internal decision-makers to quickly research and assess corporate financial data with greater context. According to Emily Huang, "That sort of unification of the presentation, underlying data, really, really sort of brought us interactivity from a dream to reality. That's why Inline XBRL is so powerful."

Other topics discussed include the timing of the iXBRL mandate, what data in iXBRL format looks like, and next steps for filers.

Listen to the full "Inline XBRL, Explained" podcast from FEI to learn more about the iXBRL mandate.

XBRL®, Inline XBRLTM, and iXBRLTM are trademarks of XBRL International, Inc. All rights reserved. The XBRLTM/® standards are open and freely licensed by way of the XBRL International License Agreement.