State-of-the-Art Use of XBRL Definition Relations to Express Business Rules
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 12:50PM
Charlie in Becoming an XBRL Master Craftsman, Demonstrations of Using XBRL

I will hold this out as a state-of-the-art use of XBRL definition relations to articulate a rich set of business rules for a taxonomy. 

If you don't agree, please contact me and explain specifically why you might disagree. I am not saying that this is perfect, but it seems to be very useful to me. Keep in mind that this is a working prototype and still under construction, so the actual business rules might not be 100% accurate at the present time.

What this working prototype does is articulate machine-readable business rules for US GAAP financial disclosures.  I will walk you through one disclosure and the big picture.  From there you can look at other disclosures using the same process that I show.

To fully appreciate these machine-readable files, you need an XBRL Taxonomy viewer or some other way of reading these XBRL files.

One disclosure:

That is really it.  There is a lot of additional information in the human readable information, you can ignore that or dig into that as well.

Multiple Disclosures:

Keep in mind that the business rules and disclosures are a working prototype.  A lot works and is correct, other things are still a work-in-progress.  But, this should give you a good idea of what you can do with XBRL definition relations.

This RSS feed provides a list to each of the sets of business rules, independent of the topics and disclosures. If you want a HUMAN READABLE list of disclosures, you can find that here.

If you dont have access to an XBRL Taxonomy Viewer, this is what the XBRL definition relations in the last bullet looks like:

(Click Image for Larger View)

So in summary, XBRL definition relations are a powerful tool which can be used to articulate machine-readable business rules using a global standard format.  I hope this helps you get an idea of how easy and useful this approach is. 


Article originally appeared on Intelligent XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting using US GAAP and IFRS (
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