Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fix for IFRS XBRL Taxonomy Exposed

Both the U.S. GAAP and IFRS XBRL taxonomies have been revised and exposed for comment.

For those not familiar with XBRL, it is an open-source HTML-like language for tagging financial statements. Proponents claim that XBRL makes it easier for investors and analysts to compare financial results across companies and industries. XBRL is now mandated by the SEC for public companies to use in their financial filings. XBRL tags let users of financial statements electronically search for, assemble, and process data so the information can be accessed and analyzed by investors, analysts, journalists and regulators.

The 2012 U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy is expected to be finalized and published in early 2012. The proposed 2012 U.S. GAAP taxonomy and instructions on how to submit comments are available on FASB’s XBRL page.

As for the IFRS taxonomy, the IFRS Foundation has revised it taxonomy in response to regulators and preparers who wanted more extensions (additional sub-accounts) to the full IFRS XBRL taxonomy.

The IFRS XBRL taxonomy is used to help those filing IFRS financial statements electronically to tag the information with identification tags, also known as “concepts.” Currently, the IFRS taxonomy includes all of the core concepts included in IFRS as issued by the IASB. However, preparers often need to provide more detailed financial information than is reflected by the core IFRS concepts.

To ensure that those creating and using electronic filings do not need to create their own extensions to the IFRS taxonomy, the IFRS Foundation has created an “extension taxonomy” by analyzing and drawing from common practice. For instance, although IFRS requires the disclosure of an analysis of expenses, IFRS does not include a prescriptive listing of all of the possible categories of expenses. The common-practice taxonomy includes concepts for the most commonly used types of expenses, such as “sales and marketing.”

The interim taxonomy released on Thursday completes the first part of a project to address this issue, by providing about 350 extensions for the most common concepts used in the financial statements.

The common practice concepts are in line with IFRS requirements and will help to alleviate the burden on preparers and to increase the comparability between financial statements in accordance with IFRS that are electronically submitted.