XBRL on SEC's Back Burner, but Not out of Mind


Writing for Data Interactive early this month, Matt Kelly said eXtensible Business Reporting Language is no longer among the Securities and Exchange Commission's top priorities. Understandably, Chairwoman Schapiro is more concerned about correcting the problems within the organization, he says, than "the promise of easier comparison of financial data."


As a result, SEC participation in at least two XBRL projects slated for this year has been put off, and the regulator's XBRL taxonomy uses U.S. GAAP 2008 rather than the 2009 updates.


Kelly says the problem with XBRL, at least where the SEC is concerned, is maintenance. XBRL.requires consistent, day-to-day maintenance to be of the most use to investors and others. But just because the SEC can't be bothered with it right now doesn't mean that others aren't investigating the merits of XBRL tagging.


In another Data Interactive post, MIX's Scott Gaul makes the case for XBRL in microfinance. He says, in part:

When your core business has a tendency to engender surprise or confusion ("You lend only to poor people? Poor people can open savings accounts?"), transparency has its benefits. Open, voluntary exchange of information enables microfinance institutions to win the trust of investors, regulators, researchers, and other MFIs. XBRL can be a valuable tool for increasing the transparency of MFIs.


Similarly, JustSystems addressed the connection between XBRL and Semantic Web at the Semantic Technology Conference this week.