Inline XBRL: What Does it Mean For Me?

By Rob Blake. Recently the SEC announced the start of the Inline XBRL, or iXBRL, voluntary filing program which runs through March 2020. External reporting professionals have heard rumblings of Inline XBRL for a few years now, and this announcement marks the SEC’s official launch into a new era of interactive data-based public disclosures.  But with updated regulation comes anxiety and fear – and you want to know what does Inline XBRL mean for me?

As mentioned in the SEC’s press release, “According to the Commission’s order, the format could decrease filing preparation costs, improve the quality of structured data, and, by improving data quality, increase the use of XBRL data by investors and other market participants.”

A standard maintained by XBRL International, Inline XBRL provides a mechanism for embedding XBRL tags in HTML documents which means the rendering of both the HTML and XBRL are now under complete control of the preparer.  As a result, Inline XBRL helps eliminate “double jeopardy” review issues that arise in the existing SEC XBRL filing program since companies submit stand-alone HTML and XBRL instance documents separately. This is a huge benefit for all public companies to ensure that the HTML and XBRL content is consistent.

While new to the SEC, Inline XBRL has formed and continues to form the basis of millions of submissions made to government agencies across the globe including the UK’s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Japan’s Financial Services Authority (FSA).

But what does this mean for your existing reporting process?  If your company is working with a vendor that provides a comprehensive disclosure management solution similar to the Certent platform, the technology should be upgraded to support Inline XBRL creation.  For Certent clients, the workflow experience will be the same because our solution already allows clients to work within a single document.

Contact your vendor, and be sure to ask questions such as:

  • Do you plan to upgrade the solution to support iXBRL?
  • When do you anticipate the technology to be upgraded?
  • What will that mean to my data/past filings/future process?

If your company partners with vendors strictly for XBRL tagging, it is likely you will need to start looking for a more comprehensive solution.

Want to learn more?  Watch this on-demand 30-minute webinar where I further explore the impact of inline XBRL on you and your financial reporting teams.

Rob Blake