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Does Working With US GAAP Taxonomy Even Need XBRL?

For years people involved with XBRLhave said, "XBRL will be easier to use when XBRL disappears behind the scenes..." Are you seeing XBRL disappear behind the scenes in the software you are using?

What if the XBRL US GAAP Taxonomy "disappeared" altogether?  What do I mean by that? We don't need XBRL, what we need is what XBRL provides. Think about watching TV if people still do that today. I really don't watch TV much, but I do watch the digital recording of the PBS News Hour any time I want, not just at 6:00 PM after I have rushed home from the YMCA from my workout so that I don't miss it.

Take a close look at the little US GAAP Taxonomy Reorganization which I created. It is not that great, I know.  I wish I were a better programmer.  XBRL is disappearing a little. But consider this:

  • List of Objects: That list provides the collections of objects in the US GAAP Taxonomy in a flat list. The objects are a little better than XBRL terminology.
  • HTML Information for an Object: This, which you can get to from the list above by clicking on the HTML link, is simply a listing of information about an object. This is a rendering of information, no XBRL involved.
  • XML Information for an Object: This is just like the link above, except rather than providing the information to you in HTML so you can read it, this provides the information in XML so that a computer application can read it.  This is a pseudo-web service, WSDL. Not sure I have the syntax perfectly correct.  This is not XBRL either.

Does it really matter what form the US GAAP Taxonomy is in when software vendors receive it for use? When it is created it is created in software which stores the XBRL taxonomy information within a relational database.  XBRL is only generated to make the taxonomy available to others.  Those that use the taxonomy tend to work with it as XBRL it seems.  But it seems to me from what I am doing is the taxonomy is actually much easier to use in pretty much any other format that XBRL.

XBRL is just a means of transporting or exchanging the information the US GAAP Taxonomy contains. When you add additional information, for example see these key ratios, you may or may not use XBRL for this information.  XBRL does have some advantages because you can exchange the information with others. But there are other data formats.  Relational databases is a very popular one today.

If you use a relational database, why do you still have to use the funky terms used by XBRL? Why can't easier terms be used?

Just rambling.

Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 09:34AM by Registered CommenterCharlie | Comments1 Comment

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Reader Comments (1)

Why are your limiting yourself to relational databases? Translating the xbrl to json and employing a no-sql database provides a more powerful platform for GAAP and IFRS.
April 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbpursley

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