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What CFOs need to Know about XBRL

I have collected a list of questions CFOs have about XBRL.  The questions came from multiple sources.  The questions are:

  1. Why should I care about XBRL?
  2. What is XBRL?
  3. Why should I learn about XBRL?
  4. What is different about my financial reports now and using XBRL?
  5. Why is the SEC involved with XBRL?
  6. Is the SEC going to require my financial statements (and other filings) in XBRL format?
  7. If so, when do you anticipate the SEC mandating XBRL?
  8. Who is using XBRL today?
  9. Why are they using this technology?
  10. What is a taxonomy?
  11. Are taxonomies country specific?  Industry specific? Company specific?
  12. Does my company need to develop its own taxonomy?  If so, is this proprietary information?
  13. What skills are required to create an XBRL filing?
  14. It seems like the costs and burden of using XBRL are on the shoulders of financial report preparers, while all the benefits go to regulators and investors, which seems unfair.  Is this the case?
  15. What will it cost me to implement XBRL?
  16. Does XBRL work?  How do you know?
  17. It seems like XBRL will be just another boon for consultants whom we have to hire to help us get the financial information into XBRL.  Is that the case?
  18. Is XBRL the only thing I will have to file, or will I continue to submit the current EDGAR type filings?
  19. Clearly, XBRL is new and certain things will likely need to change with regard to financial reporting.  What will need to change relating to financial reporting?
  20. Are private companies going to have to use XBRL?
  21. How will XBRL be audited?
  22. What are the risks of moving to required filings to the SEC in XBRL and how are those risks being mitigated?
  23. What are the benefits of adopting XBRL before the SEC requires it?  What are the reasons not to adopt XBRL before the SEC requires it?
  24. Is the public accounting profession ready for XBRL if it is mandated?
  25. The adoption of XBRL will be a move from a "paper-based" reporting scheme, which is unstructured for the most part, to an "XBRL-based" reporting scheme, which uses structured information.  That has got to cause some sort of impact on financial reporting, it seems.  What will the impact be?
  26. What impact will XBRL have on BI (Business Intelligence)?
  27. How do I get started?  How do I try XBRL?

If others have questions, post them to this list. 

I am putting together answers to these questions and will make them available on this blog.

Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 06:56AM by Registered CommenterCharlie in , | CommentsPost a Comment

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