An Introduction to XBRL
19 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2007
Date Written: 2006
XBRL, the eXtensible Business Reporting Language, is an open standards-based reporting system being built to accommodate the electronic preparation and exchange of business reports around the world. XBRL is all about the electronic tagging of data. It has been compared to the introduction of bar-coding and to the introduction of the ISBN number for books. While financial data is an obvious choice for electronic tagging, all data can be tagged. XBRL is an extension of XML, the eXtensible Markup Language. An extensible language means one that is designed to easily allow the addition of new features at a later date. As might be expected, the rules, or specifications, for these languages need to be managed so as to allow consistency in their development. The goal of XBRL is to develop a standard set of XML-type tags that can be used to create instance documents that can be then presented in a variety of formats. XBRL is not trying to set new accounting standards; it is attempting to standardise the XML-based tags that are used in business reporting so that the business reports prepared by organisations can be more easily compared and collated for regulatory and other purposes.
Keywords: HTML- HyperText Markup Language, XML- eXtensible Markup Language, XBRL- eXtensible Business Reporting Language
JEL Classification: M49
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