In order for an accountant or accounting team creating an SEC XBRL financial report, a manager or audit committee to sign off on such report, or a third party accountant to sign off that such a filing is appropriate; each of these business users needs to be able to verify for themselves that the SEC XBRL financial report is a true and fair representation of the reporting entity's financial information.
In order to help business users understand how to achieve this success I have put together the following document: Guide to Verification of an SEC XBRL Financial Report.
Over the past four months I have analyzed multiple processes for used by those creating SEC XBRL financial reports. I have analyzed the AICPA SOP 09-1 which provides guidance in this area and analyzed other's analysis of this guidance.
A big issue today is that SEC XBRL financial report creation and verification software still requires business users to have too much XBRL technical expertise to be successful. While success can be possible using existing software, the tasks and steps which accountants need to execute need to be made easier. The good news is that they can be and I believe that over the coming months will be made substantially easier. How?
- Focusing more on business meaning and less on technical syntax
- Software vendors empowering business users with the features and functionality which they need to be successful
- Increasing pressure on quality and an increasing ability of business users to differentiate good and not so good SEC XBRL financial reports
- Increased maturity of guidance provided to accountants
- Existence of many, many examples which now exist in the SEC Edgar system