SEC Issues New FAQ around XBRL

Rendering of a Question Mark in a corridor

The SEC added a new frequently asked question to their Staff Interpretations and FAQs Related to Interactive Data Disclosure webpage. This online resource provides a bank of answers to frequently asked questions around interactive data disclosures and communicates best practices to financial reporting professionals as they pertain to XBRL.

On January 26, 2016, the SEC added a new question to the Company Extension and Instances section of the database. The content is as follows:

Q: What are the conditions for determining when a calculation relationship is required?

A: The Commission’s rules require filers to include calculation relationships for certain contributing line item elements for financial statements and related footnotes. Required calculation relationships in XBRL company taxonomies provide key information that shows the relationships among elements and their corresponding numeric facts, and how they add and subtract to each other. In addition, required calculation relationships enhance data quality by:

  • Providing vital context for interpretation of custom element extensions;
  • Supporting company data continuity; and
  • Reducing the number of incorrect amounts.

The EDGAR Filer Manual (Volume 2), Chapter 6, Sections 6.14 and 6.15 set out specific calculation relationship requirements, including certain examples and exceptions. Section 6.14 addresses the syntax restrictions of calculation relationships. Section 6.15 addresses the content of calculation relationships.

According to the SEC, these FAQ’s are intended to “help filers understand how to comply with the Commission’s interactive data disclosure rules.”1 They provide guidance on interpreting the regulations and best practices to improve XBRL quality, and they are published by the staff of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis.

1: http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/xbrl/staff-interps.shtml