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Modeling Financial Information Using XBRL (DRAFT)

The document Modeling Financial Information Using XBRL (DRAFT) is available on the index page of the samples and examples I have been creating. That document summarizes the many, many samples and examples which I have been putting together to help me see if the Business Information Logical Model works as I would like it to work.

Lots of people seem to be struggling with the symptoms of how XBRL is being used today. This material strives to solve the problems, not fight the symptoms.  The symptoms will go away once the problem is solved. Also, keep in mind that if you are trying to figure out how to get XBRL into your existing processes, realize that another way to approach things is to try and understand how XBRL can make your current processes more effective and effecient.

I wish I could say that this information is helpful to the average business user. It probably is not and most will not choose to make their way through it. I cannot write that material that I want to write until software applications change their approach to working with XBRL. The material is quite helpful to business users who are early adopters of XBRL and will endeavor to wade through the material.  The material will help these curious business users begin to ask good questions. Those good questions will begin to impact all the moving pieces which impact business reporting where XBRL is being used as an output.

For those leaders in the accounting profession who do have the intellectual curriousity to dig in and try and figure out how to best make XBRL serve financial reporting and other areas of accounting, I think there is a lot there to help you. For example, when having software vendors demo their analysis software, use the comparison example's three XBRL instances rather than the scripted demos of software vendors.  Understanding the material in that document will turn you into an educated, informed buyer.

Most accountants aren't really that up on the issues relating to working with XBRL. All that will change when legal liability associated with filed XBRL kicks in.  Further, the SEC has already said publicly that it's intension is to not continue to supplement the HTML or SGML filings with XBRL, but to make the HTML and SGML go away.  When this happens, accountants will look at the XBRL differently.

Do you really want to wait until the last minute, when legal liability kicks in and XBRL is the only document you are filing with the SEC?

There are more and more accountants realizing that financial reporting using XBRL is a foregone conclusion. We still have many, many details to work out; how to "tame the XBRL beast". The information in Modeling Financial Information Using XBRL can help us get the software tools, proper XBRL taxonomies, and other infrastructure we need and get to the point that we want to use XBRL because it actually makes the process of financial reporting more effective and efficient than the current process which has been with us for hundreds of years.

If you feel so inclined, roll up your sleeves and dig in.  If not, don't worry; your competitors are.

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