Understanding SEC XBRL Financial Filings

(NOTE: An understanding of information on the page Digital Financial Reporting is helpful in understanding the information explained on this page.)

This page provides a collection of resources which are helpful in understanding SEC XBRL financial filings with the purpose of better understanding these filings. This collection of resources helps you explore these SEC XBRL financial filings to better understand digital financial reporting.

While a number of resources exist which explain the details of creating an SEC XBRL financial filing there is no good resource which explains the big picture. This resource is intended to help fill that gap. Other resources such as the SEC Edgar Filing Manual, the US GAAP Taxonomy Architecture, the US GAAP Taxonomy itself provides the "trees", nothing really describes the "forest" into which the trees fit.

This information relates to a set of SEC XBRL financial reports filed between December 1, 2011 and February 29, 2012. Only 10-K, 10-K/A, 10-Q, and 10-Q/A reports are listed.

Core financial fact not reported
Not to pass judgment as to whether the SEC XBRL financial filings is correct or incorrect, this set of lists points out the filings which do not contain the core financial facts one might expect in an SEC XBRL financial filing.  Accountants and others can determine if the report is appropriate or not.

The primary point of these lists is to show that most SEC XBRL financial reports do, in fact, have these core financial concepts reported within the filing.  So, for the set of 4416 SEC XBRL financial filings, these are the only ones where the key financial concepts were not found (i.e. they were found in all the others):


US GAAP Taxonomy (2013), commercial and industrial companies
These are various versions of the US GAAP Taxonomy (2013):

  • Accounting Standards Codification: Link to the accounting standards (Accounting Standards Codification or ASC) published by the FASB.  (Note that registration is required but free for basic access.)
  • HTML pages: Easy to read, flat set of HTML pages of the "as released" US GAAP Taxonomy.
  • Excel-based taxonomy explorer: Load US GAAP Taxonomy information into Excel. This includes the 2013 US GAAP Taxonomy and numerous other taxonomies.
  • Reporting templates: Set of reporting templates which can be used when creating SEC XBRL financial reports (prototype).