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FINREP Publishes Architecture, Packed with Helpful Information

FINREP (FINancial REPorting, see http://www.eurofiling.info/) has published an XBRL architecture which is worth taking a look at if you are a student of XBRL and trying to figure out the best approach to use it.  FINREP, which relates to financial reporting of financial institutions in Europe and uses International Financial Reporting Standards, is published by CEBS (Committee of European Banking Supervisors).

The architecture document can be found here.  If you go to the EUROFILING home page (above) you can find additional information such as explanatory documentation, the draft taxonomy files (note that this is draft version).

CEBS has always been great about transparency of what they are doing, why, and the reasoning that has gone into what they are doing.  The information they publish is intended for those participating in the COREP and FINREP projects, but this information is also very helpful to others who are making use of XBRL who have to grapple with similar issues.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Why not learn from what these regulators are spending vast amounts of resources to figure out?

In particular, this presentation is incredibly helpful. This is a PDF of a 325 page PowerPoint presentation!  I would have hated to sit through that meeting.  But, a tremendous amount of work was put into the slide deck.  The presentation goes into detail about issues such as use of default dimensions, typed dimensions, and other things people don't tend to think about.

The bottom line here is that the FINREP architecture and other information is worth the effort to study.  Other regulators, corporations, and consultants who help these folks can glean massive amounts of useful insight from what FINREP has made available.  This architecture is not applicable to only financial reporting, it is applicable to FINREP in general.  FINREP itself learned a lot from what COREP created.  A next step the FINREP and COREP folks will go through is to reconcile the two different architectures, perhaps resulting in one architecture used for both FINREP and COREP.

Key aspects of the architecture include:

  • It breaks a big reporting use case into bite size pieces.  Reports are broken into "Tables".  There are "core" tables and "non-core" or detailed tables.
  • XBRL Dimensions are used to express these tables.  The multidimensional model is used consistently, there is no mixing of XBRL Dimensions and non-dimensional XBRL.
  • Tuples are not used, rather XBRL Dimensions are used to express complex facts.  (See the presentation if you don't understand this.)  This is consistent with the US GAAP and IFRS taxonomy architectures.
  • The architecture addresses the IT need to model data and the business user need to present information well.

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Reader Comments (1)

Charlie, thanks for taking time to summarise this truly groundbreaking project. You know that your unflinching support for this project is much appreciated here in Europe.

To build on what you have penned above I have included below within the [[ ]] the six key principles that underpin the architecture. These can be found at www.eurofiling.info

The following principles guide the definition of the architecture:

1 Simplicity of the reporting process: the architecture must focus on simplification of instance document creation.
2 Stability: the application of the architecture must minimize the impact of changes resulting from amendments of information requirements on consuming systems.
3 Consistency: the framework under the architecture must be consistent in design and the taxonomies must be coherent and explicit.
4 Compliance with specifications, best practices and related taxonomies (eg IFRS): the architecture must maximally conform to approaches applied in other related projects.
5 Maintainability: the architecture must allow for the framework be easy to maintain by supervisors.
6 Performance: the application of the architecture should result in other technical advantages including reduced size of instance documents, better performance in processing (eg DTS loading), etc.

These principles need to be taken into account when evaluating approaches and justifying decisions.]]

The business focus contained therein is pretty self-evident.
This focus could be substantially underpinned and greatly simplified if the ambiguity, uncertainty and lack of clarity that is found in public and business policy documents such as EU directives, accounting standards, regulatory requirements and such like was removed at the drafting stage.

With my best wishes for 2010
January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterColm O hAonghusa

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