Much of the work I have done over the past 14 or so years working to help create, understand, and effectively use XBRL for financial reporting is now summarized in one resource put together by Rene van Egmond and myself: Digital Financial Reporting: Using an XBRL-based Model.
This non-technical resource is for accountants, auditors, financial analysts, regulators, other business, software engineers, and others who are early adopters, thought leaders, entrepreneurs who desire to understand the moving pieces of digital financial reporting, a forthcoming paradigm which will highly likely replace many current financial reporting practices over the coming years.
Digital Financial Reporting: Using an XBRL-based Model provides a "map" which helps you navigate the many times murky waters which one generally runs across today when trying to make sense of XBRL, a primary enabler of digital financial reporting. It provides information which helps you safely work with this new technology which is still evolving to create new cost effective, easier to use, yet robust, reliable, repeatable, predictable, scalable, secure, auditable, solutions and systems that work. This resource helps you cut through the noise and misinformation to grasp a well-grounded understanding of these new tools.
This resource helps you ask the right questions of software vendors who may, or may not, be taking an approach to implementing digital financial reporting in their products. Following and then abandoning your approach does not have to be a hit or miss game because you did not understand all of the moving pieces of the equation.
Digital financial reporting, using global standard technical specifications such as the Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), is fast becoming the new paradigm for financial reporting. Digital financial reporting is part of a broader trend, digital business reporting in general. While this new digital paradigm has not overtaken the current financial reporting paradigm, chances are that it will. No one knows for sure exactly when, no one knows everything about what this change might mean.
Not understanding change has risk. To remain relevant as this new digital financial reporting paradigm unfolds, CPAs and other accountants need to adjust their thinking about how to appropriately modify financial reporting to keep up with the digital revolution. Gaining a proper understanding of this new tool is key to understand where and how to employ the tool.
Information in this document was accumulated over a period of about 14 years. It represents, arguably, one of the best resources available today to understanding digital financial reporting. The information and knowledge has been accumulated, synthesized, organized, and explained as best as possible given the current point in time of the evolution of XBRL, digital financial reporting, software available to business users, etc.
This is not a resource for the average business user, rather a resource for those putting together the pieces of what will become digital financial reporting. While any business user would benefit from this material, it more for those trying to employ, guide, influence, predict, or otherwise understand how digital financial reporting will unfold.
Rene and I hope you find this resource useful. Comments, suggestions, ideas, or other feedback is welcomed.