Implementation of Digital Financial Reporting Using XBRL

Implementing Digital Financial Reporting Using XBRL in Software Leveraging the Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory

This page explains an approach to creating XBRL-based digital financial reports, and in particular SEC XBRL financial filings, leveraging the Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory. It provides information related to mapping the Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory report level semantics to the XBRL International XBRL Abstract Model 2.0 public working draft. Finally, a mapping between the Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory and the XBRL technical syntax is provided.

All information from this page is summarized within this implementation model narrative. Below are additional helpful details.

  • Implementation model (overview). This is a summary of the implementation model. It provides an explanation of the strategy/tactics used and an overview/reconciles the object-level semantics of the Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theoryand the object-level semantics used by the US GAAP Taxonomy and SEC XBRL financial filings. (Note that this document, Modeling Business Information Using XBRL, explains the US GAAP Taxonomy Architecture and how that is being used for SEC XBRL financial filings).
  • Implementation model (details). This document is another reconciliation of the object-level semantics which includes relations. It provides a more detailed reconciliation between the Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory, the US GAAP Taxonomy Architecture and SEC XBRL financial filings, and the XBRL technical syntax.
  • All semantic objects and their properties (details). This PDF file provides a visual expression of the semantic objects and all of their properties which are contained in this implementation model.
  • XBRL International XBRL Abstract Model 2.0 (overview).  XBRL International released a public working draft of the XBRL Abstract Model 2.0.  This document "presents a meta-model for XBRL 2.1 and XBRL Dimensions 1.0 that separates the semantics defined in those specifications from their syntactical representations.  In essence, the XBRL Abstract Model defines a layer of report level semantics.  This blog post provides a map between the Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory report level semantics and the US GAAP Taxonomy/SEC report level semantics.

Eventually, these two pieces will be put together in one document.  For now, the implementation model is the bridge between the two. 


Benefits of this implementation model include:

  • Terminology understandable by business users: This implementation model totally hides the XBRL technical syntax behind a higher-level layer of semantics which is far, far easier for business users to comprehend.
  • Easier to build software: This implementation model significantly reduces the time and effort to build software applications, therefore reducing costs.
  • SEC XBRL financial filing compliant framework: This implementation model is 100% compliant with the US GAAP taxonomy architecture and the SEC Edgar Filer Manual (EFM). Basically, it is a subset of what is allowed by the SEC.'s EFM.
  • Easier for business users: This implementation model helps business users make the right choices by eliminating illogical or illegal options.
  • Safe: This is a safe implementation of XBRL, avoiding the nooks and crannies of XBRL which cause ambiguity or even more severe problems. There is a high probability that the SEC will drift toward this model rather than away from it.
  • Robust: This implementation model is just as robust as any other implementation of SEC XBRL financial filings; it is just safer and less ambiguous because it removes unnecessary technical flexibility. It removes no flexibility required by business users.
  • Painstakingly tested and proven to work: This implementation model has been painstakingly tested and is proven by hard evidence to work.  All test cases are provided and can be scrutinized. The ultimate test of this model was against 8,098 SEC XBRL financial filings (10-K, 10-Q).
  • Clear financial report level semantics: Financial report level semantics of this model are crystal clear. This includes high-level US GAAP level semantics.
  • Well documented: This model is well documented by examples, explanations, and other resources.
  • Efficient and effective verification framework: SEC XBRL financial filings can be effectively and efficiently verified for correctness, completeness, accuracy, fidelity, integrity, and consistency. The verification framework allows management and accountants to see that their SEC XBRL financial filing is a true and fair representation.

Seeing the Possibilities

There is no magic involved with and there is no mystery surrounding making digital financial reporting work.  Implementing digital financial reporting simply takes technical interoperability, semantic interoperability and workflow interoperability.  If interoperability is achieved, then things which will seem like magic can occur. But the reality is that because of semantic clarity and interoperability, metadata and computer algorithms can help you get your work done efficiently and effectively.

This document contains ideas and prototypes shows a glimpse of what financial reporting will look like in the future.  The document summarizes in one location ideas which this blog has fashioned over the years.

Rather than forcing business users to learn and work with the XBRL technical syntax editors, this implementation approach offers business users an alternative.  This alternative offers the possibility of financial reporting tools which are superior in functionally and features than current financial reporting software tools in use today.  XBRL will simply be another format which can be output from such a software application, rather than the nightmare for business users that XBRL is today.

More Information

More information will follow, but for now use the resources at the top of this page to better understand this implementation model for digital financial reporting.