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This site is intended to be a resource for software vendors, accountants, analysts, and other business users who wish to make use of XBRL to enable digital financial reporting and digital business reporting.

Digital financial reporting is a guidance-based, model-driven, semantic-oriented structured authoring approach to financial reporting. Digital financial reporting is a new paradigm of financial reporting for the information age. Accountants are knowledge workers.

This site promotes these ideas, provides information and resources to that end, and helps others who likewise embrace that goal.

CPAs, CAs, and other accountants who are trying to use or using XBRL for model-based digital financial reporting will find this web site useful. Whether you are an internal accountant, internal auditor, external auditor, or are in some other accounting role; this information can help you move into the era of digital financial reporting. Accountants will find lots of examples they can use to help them figure out how to best employ this new technology tool. Resourcesare provided to help understand this new digital approach to financial reporrting and employ it approprately.

Programmers and others developing software will find this site useful in creating and designing a user experience which works for the business users they serve.  It is the software which programmers create which will help business users harness the power of the XBRL technical syntax, the internet, semantic web technologies, and other enables which facilitate better, faster, and cheaper business reporting.

It is hoped that this site is also useful to educators, students, and others who desire to learn to use XBRL for the exchange of financial and non-financial information.  Additionally, this site may be useful to technical people who are trying to understand what business users are trying to get from XBRL.

This site will evolve.  If you want to provide feedback or have questions or comments, please contact:  CharlesHoffman@olywa.net.  You can follow me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/CharlesHoffman.

The blog archive has a lot of information helpful to people trying to understand how to make XBRL work for to meet your needs.  If you want a more organized view of this information, get a copy of XBRL for Dummies which builds upon many thoughts started on this blog. Also, the document Modeling Business Information Using XBRLcontains the most up to date detailed information from this blog, synthasized into a more useable form.

The following is a summary of some of the most popular information contained on this site: 

Prototype Tools for Using SEC XBRL Financial Information!!!

Want to try an Excel-based version of the tool used to grab this information from SEC XBRL Financial filings? Well, here you go. (This is NOT intended to be an analyst tool.  It is a prototype created as a result of trying to do something else which related to understanding how to create taxonomies.)

  • Screen shot of interface: This screen shot will help you get an idea of what this prototype does. You can get information from any of the 7160 SEC filings provided.
  • Download working prototype: This is an Excel-based application written in VBA which grabs information from my set of 7160 SEC XBRL financial filings (10-Ks).
  • VBA Code: This is the VBA code which grabs the information from the flings. (Please don't use this to judge my programming skills, rather use it to reverse engineer the process.
  • Sample output: This is sample output of the code which generates results directly to the debug window rather than populating the Excel spreadsheet. (Point is, there are two algorithms)
  • Python code: Someone is converting my code into Python. You can get to that code here.
  • Raw data: Here is the raw data in Excel which was created using the same algorithm applied to each of the 7160 SEC 10-K filings.
  • Prototype Microsoft Access Database Application with Data: This is a prototype database application created using Microsoft Access which provides an interface and metadata for working with the fundamental accounting information for the set of 7160 SEC filers.

Here is a screen shot of the Excel prototype populated with the data for Hewlett Packard:

What's Hot! Links To Most Used Information


The following are several hot blog posts and other information which is currently very relevant, that people are finding interesting or extremely useful:

  • Digital Financial Reporting: Summary of the most current versions of documents which explain digital financial reporting: Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory, Guide to Verification of an SEC XBRL Financial Report, Modeling Business Information Using XBRL.
  • Prototype Analysis Examples: This blog post points to some examples of using SEC XBRL financial information. You will find an analysis of the Dow 30, Fortune 100, and S&P 500.
  • Reporting templates: A set of high-quality examples and templates which can be imported directly into a software application which makes creating an SEC XBRL financial filing easier.  Think Visio templates.
  • Guide to Verification of an SEC XBRL Financial Report: In order for an accountant creating an SEC XBRL financial report to be successful in creating a quality report they need be able to effectively verify that they have created a true and fair representation of their financial information.  This document helps accountants understand how to achieve such success.
  • Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory: An expository paper which explains the semantics and dynamics of a financial report in terms both a business user and software engineers/architects can understand.
  • Modeling Business Information Using XBRL: This document contains 214 pages jam packed with the best and most current information I have relating to how to model financial reports and other business information using XBRL.
  • Logical Model Viewer: Excel-based prototype application which helps you look at the relations, fact tables, and rendering (prototype) of all the metapatterns, business use cases, comprehensive example, and the SEC Reference/Model implementation.
  • XBRL for Dummies: Learn about XBRL using this resource which has summarized the best and most relevant information for business people.  The book also helps technical people understand what business users are trying to achieve with XBRL. See the books landing page here.
  • Mastering XBRL:  Believe that XBRL is important for your career? Here is a path to learning what you need about XBRL. See this blog post. For more information see this page.
  • XBRL Samples and Examples: This is the possibly the world's best set of XBRL samples, examples, prototypes, and other useful collections of XBRL.  You can use this to understand XBRL.  Great if you like to reverse engineer things. See this web site.

Understanding XBRL


The following are several different sources for understanding what XBRL is.

  • How XBRL Works.This is a 6 minute video which shows you how XBRL works.
  • XBRL for Dummies. Chapter 1 of this book (about 25 pages) provides a comprehensive explanation of what XBRL is. The rest of the chapters in the book drill into additional deails.
  • Differentiating Important Terminology. If you don't know the difference between syntax and semantics or you don't understand the difference between unstructured and structured information it can be challenging to understand XBRL. This resource helps you understand important terminology.

Learning about XBRL (Self Study)


XBRL will highly likely be in your future. You can get started learning XBRL right now.  The following steps will set you on course to learning about XBRL:

  1. Read XBRL for Dummies.  Chapter 1 is a must, it provides in about 20 pages a comprehensive explanation of XBRL.  Chapter 4 provides an XBRL Primer.  There is a lot there for both business readers and technical readers.
  2. If you want more detail, read Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory, Guide to Verification of an SEC XBRL Financial Report, and Modeling Business Information Using XBRL.  (These documents supersedes the book Financial Reporting Using XBRL.)
  3. Follow this blog.  This blog is a source for the most current information, ideas, understanding issues, working around problems, etc.

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