Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1581511
 
 

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XBRL and Interoperability of Financial Statements in the U.S.


Hongwei (Harry) Zhu


University of Massachusetts Lowell; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Old Dominion University

Harris Wu


Old Dominion University

March 25, 2010


Abstract:     
In the wake of global financial crisis, there is a pressing need for improving transparency and interoperability of the financials of public companies. XBRL and XBRL taxonomies have the potential of helping us accomplish this objective. In the U.S., the SEC has mandated that all publicly listed companies must file their financial statements using XBRL and the US GAAP taxonomy beginning mid 2009 to late 2014 according to a phased-in schedule. Are the XBRL-based financial statements interoperable? We address this question by analyzing all the annual XBRL financial statements filed to SEC as of this February. We find that the statements still lack interoperability, which is partly caused by issues related to the GAAP taxonomy and misuse of the taxonomy by companies. On average, only 37% data elements are directly comparable between a pair of statements. Our timely findings have practical implications that will ultimately help improve the quality of financial data.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 5

Keywords: XBRL, GAAP, interoperability, data quality, long tail

JEL Classification: M41, M44

working papers series





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Date posted: April 1, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Hongwei (Harry) and Wu, Harris, XBRL and Interoperability of Financial Statements in the U.S. (March 25, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1581511 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1581511

Contact Information

Hongwei Zhu (Contact Author)
University of Massachusetts Lowell ( email )
One University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854
United States
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/~mrzhu
Old Dominion University ( email )
Norfolk, VA 23529
United States
757-683-5175 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.odu.edu/~hzhu
Harris Wu
Old Dominion University ( email )
Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States
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