Wednesday, October 18, 2006

XBRL in Microsoft FRx

What is XBRL?
eXtensible Business Reporting Language is an XML-based language being developed specifically for the automation of business information requirements, such as the preparation, sharing, and analysis of financial reports, statements, and audit schedules.

Who needs to use it?
All types of organisations can use XBRL to save costs and improve efficiency in handling business and financial information. Because XBRL is extensible and flexible, it can be adapted to a wide variety of different requirements. All participants in the financial information supply chain can benefit, whether they are preparers, transmitters or users of business data.

DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING
By using XBRL, companies and other producers of financial data and business reports can automate the processes of data collection. For example, data from different company divisions with different accounting systems can be assembled quickly, cheaply and efficiently if the sources of information have been upgraded to using XBRL. Once data is gathered in XBRL, different types of reports using varying subsets of the data can be produced with minimum effort. A company finance division, for example, could quickly and reliably generate internal management reports, financial statements for publication, tax and other regulatory filings, as well as credit reports for lenders. Not only can data handling be automated, removing time-consuming, error-prone processes, but the data can be checked by software for accuracy.

Small businesses can benefit alongside large ones by standardising and simplifying their assembly and filing of information to the authorities.

DATA CONSUMPTION AND ANALYSIS
Users of data which is received electronically in XBRL can automate its handling, cutting out time-consuming and costly collation and re-entry of information. Software can also immediately validate the data, highlighting errors and gaps which can immediately be addressed. It can also help in analysing, selecting, and processing the data for re-use. Human effort can switch to higher, more value-added aspects of analysis, review, reporting and decision-making. In this way, investment analysts can save effort, greatly simplify the selection and comparison of data, and deepen their company analysis. Lenders can save costs and speed up their dealings with borrowers. Regulators and government departments can assemble, validate and review data much more efficiently and usefully than they have hitherto been able to do.

How can my company benefit from XBRL?
Through the use of XBRL in companies, you will be able to:

* Obtain more rapid and reliable data on company financial performance.
* Greatly reduce effort and costs in gathering and analysing data.
* Simplify and automate tasks.
* Focus effort on analysis and value-added work.
* Make better use of software to improve efficiency and speed.

In summary, XBRL can speed up, reduce effort and increase reliability in accounting and auditing tasks.

Is XBRL available in FRx?
Yes, you can go to CustomerSource and look for instructions on how to use the XBRL Taxonomy for FRx reports. Below is part of these instructions:
Create the link with these steps:

1. From the Row Format menu, select Link | Open Link Window. The link dialog box appears.
2. From the Links record control box, click New.
3. Click the Link Type arrow and select XBRL as the link type.
4. Type a name for the link in the Link Name box.
5. Click the XBRL Taxonomy Files arrow and select the taxonomy file. XBRL taxonomy files have the .xsd file extension.
6. From the Links record control box, click Save.
7. Click Yes in the Save changes to Link confirmation box. The new link column, showing the link name and taxonomy name, appears in the row format window.
8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 for each taxonomy you want to include in your Row Format. Each XBRL Link column corresponds to one taxonomy file.

Are there available online trainings on XBRL?
I would recommend the free training by KPMG which goes more detail to explain the underlying technology behind XBRL which is XML then would give you parts of the XBRL Taxonomy. Here's the link:

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