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FEI Survey Exposes Opportunity for CPAs with Good XBRL Knowledge

The FEI published a survey, SEC Reporting and the Impact of XBRL: 2012 Survey, which I believe exposes an opportunity for CPAs and other accountants who truly understand how to articulate financial information using XBRL and to software vendors who have products usable by accountants and other business users involved in the process of creating SEC XBRL financial filings.

The following are the highlights of the FEI survey:

  • Companies across the board expect to take greater responsibility for their XBRL filings, with the percentage of respondents not planning to outsource XBRL at all over the next year increasing and the respondents planning to use full outsourcing over the next year decreasing.
  • Respondents across the board projected increasing both the size of their XBRL team as well as the level of internal XBRL competency.
  • XBRL is not expected to delay reporting calendars. The vast majority of respondents expect to file in line with the time frame of previous filings or faster.
  • XBRL was the most often mentioned SEC reporting bottleneck.
  • The biggest concern raised regarding XBRL compliance was to question the cost - benefit proposition of the XBRL mandate.

Notice the terms "bottleneck" and "cost - benefit proposition".  Another opportunity for CPAs and other accountants with the appropriate knowledge of how to express financial information properly using XBRL is to help software vendors make their software usable by these business users.

With all the SEC XBRL financial information of public companies available over the Internet and with the quality of software for business users such as accountants to understand SEC XBRL financial filings improving, it will be very easy to differentiate between high quality and poor quality SEC XBRL financial filings.

With the knowledge of the buyers of software and services is increasing, it will only get harder and harder for those who really are not qualified to express financial information using XBRL well to hide amongst the herd.

Clearly additional pressure will be applied by the SEC who has been complaining about XBRL financial filing quality.

With digital financial reporting being not only inevitable, but imminent; taking the plunge into digital financial reporting seems wise to me.  What will you chose?

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