Top 10 Ways to Improve Your XBRL Reporting Process

XBRL—More important than ever to the SEC’s mission
  1. Start early. Front load your XBRL preparation. Waiting until the document is complete may be too late.

  2. Know the key phases in the filing cycle and how to budget time for each phase. Set a timetable in advance and stick to it. Fill in your filing cycle dates in the table provided here.

  3. Obtain proper XBRL training prior to tagging. Know your craft. The more effort and time you put into your XBRL, the better your report.

  4. Follow a batch approach with weekly goals of disclosures to complete, typically over a span of four to five weeks.

  5. Reach out to your peers. You are not alone. Connect with your colleagues in a similar industry or region with the complimentary Taxonomy Analyzer.

  6. Get in a successful test filing one week before your official submission. This will help you avoid last-minute surprises.

  7. Attend ongoing educational opportunities. WebFilings offers complimentary webinars every month, world-class customer support via dedicated Professional Services Managers, XBRL office hours, WebFilings University, and The Exchange Community user conference.

  8. Build up your XBRL experience in steps. Begin with a small portion of the document, such as a note or two.

  9. Stay on top of changes. Pay close attention to common items that require maintenance as you carry forward the XBRL from one quarter to the next. Don’t forget about taxonomy migration issues.

  10. Leverage professional knowledge. Refer to XBRL examples for model tagging on common disclosures. Supplement with hourly XBRL services as needed, and be sure to reserve time with your Professional Services Manager early.
Dean Ritz

About the author

Dean Ritz is a subject matter expert in information modeling with over three decades of experience in various data-dominated domains, including artificial intelligence, expert systems, object-oriented programming, and most recently the modeling of financial information. As a Senior Director at Workiva, he applies his expertise to product strategy for collaborative work management and the management of the company’s expanding patent portfolio. His interests extend to the topics of rhetoric and ethics, with scholarly work in these areas published by Oxford University Press (2011, 2009, 2007), and Routledge (in press 2017).