(Sorry about the typo in the title, cannot change it or it changes the link.)
At the FASB, we are consciously moving in the direction of focusing more on the semantic model in our modeling process. It is not an easy transition because we are obliged to build to our 'legacy' XBRL implementation but it is certainly in our collective best interest to start thinking and acting this way. And as I stated at the beginning, the key bit here is getting everyone in this space to start thinking this way. One of our goals is to get preparers and data aggregators to start focusing on the semantic model when they build and use financial statements (rather than the simple print statements). Once our constituents start thinking this way, the rest will become much easier.
If you have been following my blog you know that I have been trying to push things in this direction for quite some time. While seven years ago I could not even distinguish between "syntax" and "semantics"; I have learned quite a bit about the difference between the two.
If you want to "go semantic" and not be left behind, a good place to start is by reading this document: Financial Report Semantics and Dynamics Theory.
If you need an even more basic explanation of XBRL and the difference between syntax and semantics, try these resources:
- How XBRL Works: This video has been viewed 26,000+ times now and helps people understand the very basics. This blog post is also helpful.
- Differentiating syntax and semantics: This video helps you understand the difference between syntax and semantics.
- The big picture: The big picture is explained on this blog post. There is a lot of information being thrown at you, but the information is critical.