For a list of all blog posts, click here.

Digital financial reporting has the potential to streamline reporting processes. Understand the nature of the pivot to digital financial reporting. Out think your competitors.  This site is intended to be a resource for professional accountants, software vendors, financial analysts, and other professionals who wish to make use of XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting and digital business reporting.

"Where there is no order there is confusion." Luca Pacioli

Digital financial reporting will change accounting work practices over the coming years.  Digital financial reporting is part of a broader trend.  Professional accountants can adapt to this change proactively or reactively, that is a choice.  But the change itself is not only inevitable, it is imminent.

If you think a digital alternative to the general purpose financial statement is a good idea, please read and 'Like' this LinkedIn post: Need for Digital Alternative to General Purpose Financial Report.  Want to understand what digital financial reporting is all about?  Read Conceptual Overview of an XBRL-based Structured Digital Financial Report. Need even more details about digital financial reporting? Read the Digital Financial Reporting Manifesto.

Digital financial reporting is a guidance-based, model-driven, semantic-oriented structured authoring approach to financial reporting. Digital isn't software, it is a mindset. Digital financial reporting is a new paradigm of financial reporting for the information age. Professional accountants are knowledge workersComprehensive Introduction to Knowledge Engineering for Professional Accountants helps you understand digital.  How do you actually create these sorts of tools? Introduction to Intelligent Agents for Business Professionals (DRAFT).

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

Tesseract

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CPAs, CAs, and other professional 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 external financial reporting manager, internal accountant, internal auditor, third-party 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. Resources are provided to help understand this new digital approach to financial reporting and employ it appropriately.

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

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:  Charles.Hoffman@me.com.  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.

 

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:

  • Financial Disclosure Research Tool Prototype: This working prototype application allows accountants to research financial disclosures from high-quality disclosures provided by public companies to the SEC.  This tool was created leveraging XBRL [Text Block] information. (Another Version, Yet another version, Web Application Version)
  • Tableau Visualizations: A collection of interesting and useful Tableau visualizations which I have created.
  • US Public Company Financial Information Repository: Repository of financial information created from SEC XBRL financial filings submitted to the US SEC.  One of the best examples of the possibilities of digital financial reporting.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

Understanding Digital Financial Reporting Using XBRL-based Structured Data

A CFA Institute paper points out that the current financial reporting system presumes that information is consumed by humans; in other words, it assumes a human consumptio model, not a machine-readable format.  The paper goes on to call for accountants and auditors to get additional education.  This is the education accountants and auditors need to understand. 

  • Conceptual Overview of an XBRL-based Structured Digital Financial Report: Begin with the end in mind as the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People points out.  What is the objective?  What exactly is "structured data".  The CFA Institute paper does an excellent of laying out their vision, but they don't provide a lot of detail as to what structured data is or how to make it work.
  • Comprehensive Introduction to Knowledge Engineering for Professional Accountants: This document helps you sort out the capabilities of computers and how to get computers to do what you desire them to do.  Computers work using the rules of formal logic, which is a discipline of philosophy which was invented in about 450 BC. Conceptual models provide frameworks for understanding. A framework is a set of principles, assumptions, ideas, concepts, values, rules, laws, agreements, and practices that constitutes a way of establishing how something operates.
  • Comprehensive Introduction to Business Rules for Professional Accountants: Business rules guide, control, suggest or otherwise influence behavior.  Accountants and auditors understand human-readable rules that you get out of books.  They need to understand machine-readable rules and the sorts of rules machines need.
  • Comprehensive Introduction to Intelligent Software Agents for Professional Accountants: Intelligent software agents is how work will be automated.  This helps you understand what an intelligent software agent is, how they work, what it takes to control such agents, and other important information about using these potentially helpful creatures.  It also helps you understand their limitations.  Don't be fooled by the snake oil salemen, be an informed buyer.
  • Comprehensive Introduction to Expert Systems for Professional Accountants: Another way work will be automated is using expert systems.  This document helps you understand what an expert system is, how they work, what makes up an expert system, and the benefits they can provide.  Again, the document also helps you understand their limitations.
  • Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory: This theory provides a conceptual model of the mechanics of a digital financial report that I created and use because neither XBRL US, the FASB, or SEC provide such a conceptual model.  It explains the mechanics of a financial report.
  • How XBRL Works: This five minute video helps you understand the difference between structured information and unstructured information.  It helps you see how computers can address specific information within a structured digital financial report.
  • 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 details.

Learning about XBRL-based Digital Financial Reporting (Self Study) 

XBRL-based digital financial reporting will highly likely be in your future. You can get started learning right now.  The following steps will get you started down the right path: 

  1. Read the blog post Need for Digital Alternative to General Purpose Financial Report.  That articulates the general vision.
  2. Watch the six minute video, How XBRL Works. This is a quick way to get your head around the notion of structured information which is what makes digital financial reporting possible.
  3. Want more details about XBRL? 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 readers who are business professionals and information technology professionals.
  4. Need even more details? Read Digital Financial Reporting. This is the best summary of information you need which exists.  This is an investment, but your investment will pay dividends.
  5. Follow this blog.  While the resource Digital Financial Reporting is updated periodically, between updates this blog will fill in gaps.  This blog is a source for the most current information, ideas, understanding issues, working around problems, etc.
  6. Take the Mastering Digital Financial Reporting or one of my other training sessions.  Contact me for details.