Knowledge as a Service
Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 07:50AM
Charlie in Becoming an XBRL Master Craftsman, Digital Financial Reporting

"Knowledge as a service" is the vision of Epistematica.  Great vision. 

This company is also the first use of the term "semantic financial reporting" that I have heard. Semantic financial reporting is far better than the term I use which is "digital financial reporting".

I believe we are both talking about the same thing: guidance-based, model-oriented, semantic structured authoring of financial reports. 

The reports are not created using tools which know nothing of financial reports or financial reporting such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel.  Semantic financial reports are created using "smart applications" which do understand financial reporting.  That may seem odd, but that is precisely what the semantic web is all about.

Software understanding the semantics of some domain is not voodoo or magic. It is all about metadata. Ontologies, like the financial report ontology, which express key "things" and important relations between those things which make up a financial report literally guide a user of that software to achieving some desired goal such as creating a financial report.

Ontologies express knowledge in the form of metadata which a software application can understand and use.  To see this you need both the software that understands the metadata and the metadata itself.

I predict that we will see the metadata and software which can understand and use this metadata for financial reporting within a year. Disclosure management software is a big step in this direction. Then accountants will get what XBRL is really all about.

Knowledge is part of a spectrum or hierarchy: (I synthesized these definitions from many other definitions)

The end game is now knowledge, it is wisdom.  Data, information, and knowledge are building blocks.  But it takes experience to to know what to do with that knowledge to have wisdom.

That is what I think.  What do you think?

Article originally appeared on Intelligent XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting using US GAAP and IFRS (http://xbrl.squarespace.com/).
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