Conceptual Model of a Digital Financial Report

This conceptual model was derived and tested by reverse-engineering XBRL-based financial reports submitted by public companies to the SEC using both US GAAP and IFRS.  The logical model of this conceptual model is described in Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory.  That model was generalized for business reporting in the document Logical Theory Describing a Business Report.  An open source framework was created for implementing this conceptual model.  This conceptual model was implemented for four reporting schemesUS GAAP/SEC | IFRS/SEC | IPSAS | XASB (prototype for testing).  Each reporting scheme implementation uses a separate profile.

Here is the current working copy of the conceptual model of a digital financial report implemented in the XBRL technical syntax:

Conceptual model of a digital financial report: documentation | XBRL-based metadata | Visual Image PDF | Visual Image JPEG.

Relationships documentation: general arcrolesrules arcroles

Profiles: A profile, or application profile, is basically an approach to representing a reporting scheme. The following reporting scheme profiles are supported by this one conceptual model: (This document has a comparison of profiles used by different financial reporting schemes.)

Information for developers: Information about implementing this conceptual model can be found here on GitHub.

Implementation: Download ZIP File, | Web Version.  The ZIP file contains local copies of all files.  The Web Version includes all the same information.  The implementation follows this method.  The Open Source Framework for Implementing XBRL-based Digital Financial Reporting documents the details of this conceptual model best I believe.

I am initially focused on three profiles; US GAAP | IFRS | XASB (Here is human readable information)

  • US GAAP: (rss) reporting by public companies to the SEC.
  • IFRS-FULL: IFRS as used by foreign issuers reporting to the SEC.
  • XASB: An imaginary reporting scheme, unconstrained by US GAAP or IFRS architectural choices, used for testing and prototyping.
  • IPSAS: International Public Sector Accounting Standards (working prototype)
  • General profile (SBRM): Not related to any specific reporting scheme, can be used as an architecture for any reporting scheme.  This profile is tested and proven to work correctly. This profile will follow the OMG Standard Business Report Metamodel (SBRM).
  • US GAAP-SMEs: reporting by private companies. (US GAAP)
  • IFRS-SMEs: IFRS as used by small and medium private entities.
  • ESMA: reporting by listed companies to ESMA. (IFRS)

Business rules metadata: This is XBRL-based metadata for different type of business rules for four different reporting schemes/reporting profiles which use this conceptual model.

  • Report: A report provides information about the financial position and financial condition of an economic entity.  A reoprt contains disclosures.
  • Disclosures: The disclosures is simply things that can be disclosed.
  • Topics: The topics are simply ways of grouping disclosures.
  • Relations between topics and disclosures: These are easy to use XML infosets:
  • Relations between topics and disclosures: These are XBRL definition relations that document the relations between a topic and a disclosure: 
  • Reporting styles: These are how consisteny checks are organized (these could be documented using XBRL reference resources or XBRL generic linkbases):
  • Templates: A template library is simply a set of example disclosures for fragments of a financial report that can be imported and used as a 'template' for creating a disclosure. The list of machine-readable templates is provided using XBRL references. 
  • Reference implementation: The reference implementation tests all the rules to make sure that everything works as expected.
  • Model structure relations: The model structure tests the relationships between the Networks, Tables (or hypercubes), Axes (or dimensions), Members, Line items (or primary items), and concepts that make up the XBRL presentation relations of an XBRL taxonomy.
  • Properties: Formally defined properties that are used to indicate that a base taxonomy concept has a defined property. (definition of properties themselves) (prototype)
  • Class relations: Formally defined class relations (prototypes, not complete):
  • Disallowed type or class relations: The type or class relations test how specific concepts are used relative to other specific concepts. 
  • Fundamental accounting concept relations:  The fundamental accounting concept relations are continuity tests to make sure concepts are used correctly relative to other concepts in a report.
  • Disclosure mechanics: The disclosure mechanics rules test the logical, structural, and specific mathematical relations related to specific disclosures.
  • Reporting checklist: The reporting checklist rules test for the existence of specific disclosures relative to certain reported line items or relative to other reported disclosures. A reporting checklist explains what must be disclosed.
  • Exemplares (of disclosures): An exemplar is simply an example of how to create a disclosure based on that same disclosure in some other company's report. A list of examples or 'exemplars' for a disclosure is provided using XBRL reference resources; that references another XBRL reference resource that has information about how to get that specific examplear:  
  • Economic entities: An economic entity is some who creates a report to communicate the financial position and financial condition of the entity.

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I am putting together a conformance suite to help software engineers create good software.

To understand the conceptual model, you must understand the multidimensional model of a business report.  This blog post provides information related to understand this multidimensional model of a business report.  This set of videos helps you understand that model in more detail: facts, characteristics, relations, components, renderings, and blocks.

To understand the need for such a conceptual model, background information is critical to help you understand why.  Framework for Understanding Digital Financial Report Mechanics provides this background. Those several documents lay the foundation necessary.

If you like to learn by reverse engineering things, start with the XBRL instance (company-instance.xml) in this ZIP Archive which provides a local copy of all business rules.

history of the past twenty or thirty years of trying to represent conceptual models is necessary to understand the technology that is best for representing and processing information.  This 222 slide presentation, Semantic Web Rules: Fundamentals, Applications, and Standards, provides that history and where things ended up.  This presentation gives you more specific information about Rulelog.

Note that this model is technology independent and could also be represented using the RDF/OWL or semantic web stack approach.