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Getting the Best Information and Keeping Current

Admittedly, my blog tends to be organized by stream of consciousness.  It does contain the most current information, but it can be challenging to sort through everything and build a logical summary.  Periodically, I do go through what I have, refactor it, and put things into an easier to use form.

Today, the best summaries of information that I have are:

  • XBRL for Dummies.  This is a good starting point, provides the big picture into which most everything else fits.
  • Digital Financial Reporting.  Synthesize most key information into one volume.  However, being a book (or PDF) which therefore being static (was made available in September 2012), it can get rather stale.
  • Understanding quality.  Digital financial reporting needs to work. If accountants cannot create digital financial reports, then why would they want to make use of digital financial reporting? Software is improving.  This is the bar.  This is what accountants should expect from software, to allow them to prove to themselves that they have created a quality digital financial report.
  • Smart Data/Applications. This blog post which has links to three other important resources shows why I am adopting the term "guidance-based, model-driven, semantic-oriented structured authoring" to describe what I believe digital financial reporting will look like.
  • Financial Report Ontology. This wiki has the most current definitions, examples, and is the current focus of the work I am doing to help figure out how to make digital financial reporting work within software.
  • Reporting templates.  This set of reporting templates are the best examples of using XBRL correctly that I have.
  • Reference implementation. This is a reference implementation of an SEC XBRL financial filing which I maintain. Most comprehensive example that I have.
  • DOW, Fortune 100, S&P 500 Data.  This is the end game, it should be easy and reliable to pull information from digital financial reports.
  • Enhanced Domain Level Semantics.  This blog post is one of the most important updates to the information I have accumulated, an enhanced set of domain level semantics for US GAAP.
  • XBRL Cloud Viewer.  This software is the best tool I have come across for understanding an SEC XBRL financial report. View any SEC XBRL financial filing here using the XBRL Cloud viewer. Here is more information helpful in using this free software tool.

I am waiting on some improved software which can be used to successfully create a quality digital financial report and help the creator of that report see that they did everything right.  It may take some time to get to this point.  When we do, I will update the Digital Financial Reporting book.

To understand digital financial reporting, one needs to understand these three definitions.  Everything builds on these three definitions: (The links are to the most current version of the definition)

  • Fact: A fact is reported. A fact defines a single, observable, reportable piece of information contained within a financial report, or fact value, contextualized for unambiguous interpretation or analysis by one or more distinguishing characteristics (properties of the fact). A fact value is one property of a fact. Every fact has exactly one fact value.
  • Characteristic: A characteristic describes a fact (a characteristic is a property of a fact). A characteristic or distinguishing aspect provides information necessary to describe a fact or distinguish one fact from another fact. A fact may have one or many distinguishing characteristics.
  • Property: A property is a trait, quality, feature, attribute, or peculiarity which is used to define its possessor and is therefore dependent on the possessor (entity or thing which has the property). A property belongs to something. For example, the color of a ball belongs to and is therefore is dependent on (is a property of) the ball.

Hard to believe, but that is as complex as it gets.  No ugly XBRL terminology.  Software will hide the XBRL technical syntax.  To drill into this, use the set of videos on the bottom of this page.

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 08:15AM by Registered CommenterCharlie in | CommentsPost a Comment

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