Understanding the game of XBRL business validations

Understanding the game of XBRL business validations
August 4, 2014

Your XBRL quality is more important now than ever.

Now that you've been submitting XBRL exhibits for more than two years, your data is subject to the same liability provisions as the related EDGAR filing. Even if your data is prepared and filed by a third party on your behalf, you are still the one responsible for the accuracy and reliability of your submission.

Q: How can you improve the quality of your XBRL?
A: By fixing your business validations

As filers know, there are a number of possible errors within XBRL documents not checked by the SEC during validation. That's why companies should implement business validations. Workiva has teamed up with Arelle, an open-source XBRL validation engine used by both the SEC and Wdesk to make sure that validations incorporate up-to-the-minute changes. Wdesk has added an additional set of checks on top of those tested by Arelle.

This kind of validation check looks at the XBRL information from a business and accounting perspective to help identify potential errors and ensure a higher quality filing.

Business validations provided by Wdesk prioritize material errors, making validations more highly focused. They cover a broad scope of errors and test the actual data produced by your filings. The tests are not limited to US GAAP Taxonomy elements or general examples of relationships between those elements. We also use a number of different sources to develop the checks, including US GAAP, SEC and FASB guidance as well as industry best practices.

For example, business validations help you:

  • Verify the accuracy of values and signs
  • Test tags to ensure they're appropriate
  • Check for best practices
  • Improve quality and consistency

Business validations go beyond the XBRL technical specifications or EDGAR Filer Manual rules.

Fixing your business validations will ensure that you have a higher quality XBRL submission.

Now that the SEC is making data quality a priority, accuracy is more important than ever. Click here for more information about how the SEC is beginning to monitor the quality of your XBRL.

Susan Yount

About the author

Susan Yount is the Director of Reporting Practices for Workiva. Previously, she served as the Associate Chief Accountant in the Office of Interactive Data at the SEC.