Have I mentioned that I love XBRL? For a numbers guy, the shear beauty of the newly released GAAP taxonomy is so wonderful it invites the creation of a new word…scrumtrilescent. (Thank you, Will Ferrell). Seriously, the idea that Company A’s financial statements can be downloaded, with all those heady disclosures neatly tagged, and be instantly compared with Company B, makes me want to write a song. What is XBRL you ask? Here is brief description from the JoA.
XBRL has been likened to a bar code for financial statements. An electronically readable tag (bar code) is put on each financial statement element, which provides additional context. Staying with the analogy, if you looked at the bar code on an item in the grocery store, the code would contain a series of bars with little relevance to you. However, with the proper tool to read the code, it would tell you the product, the size, the cost, the vendor and the expiration date. XBRL operates in a similar fashion. The electronic tag assigned to each financial statement element contains further information or context regarding that element.
Therefore, if you are reading this and in any sort of financial reporting role, submit your comments to XBRL.us on the GAAP taxonomy. You might as well. Chances are you will be implementing it within the next two years anyway.