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Is XBRL the Answer to Internal Business Reporting?

The benefits of having open standard reporting languages, such as XBRL, are well known.

For instance, XBRL data can be analyzed more effectively and is more accessible by virtue of the fact that it is machine readable. It also allows analysts and stakeholders to compare financial data from different businesses more easily, all while reducing the likelihood of certain errors in reporting, such as human error occurring during data entry.

These benefits have been recognized by a number of regulators around the world. In fact, many regulators now incorporate XBRL or iXBRL in some form when it comes to reporting and securities filing, from the SEC to HMRC in the UK and the Tokyo stock exchange, to name but a few.

While it’s always encouraging to see the widespread use of XBRL in the regulatory filing and compliance landscape, it does highlight an important fact. Namely, any attention that XBRL has received has generally focused more on the benefits XBRL can bring when it comes to external reporting and compliance.

So what would happen if that focus shifted and XBRL became a tool that could also be leveraged for internal reporting purposes within businesses?

The answer may lie in China

According to a news article from XBRL International, innovation is well underway within China. There, a team at PWC is “working towards an XBRL model of an entire, complex business” that would allow useable data to be “found and analysed in a readable database.”

This was revealed during the Data Amplified 2018 conference, which took place in Dubai between November 13 and 15.

Although XBRL International’s article makes the point that such technology is still some time away from being fully developed, as the current XBRL specification is not fully compatible with such internal reporting goals, the potential to leverage the power of XBRL reporting within an internal business setting is hugely exciting.

If implemented, it could not only provide additional insight to businesses on their performance and position, but it could also potentially lead to large savings on internal reporting costs. Hopefully, further information on this new use for XBRL will be available soon.

You can read the full article from XBRL International here.

DataTracks has over a decade of experience providing clients with compliance reports for filing with regulators across the world, including the SEC and HMRC. With experience in iXBRL, XBRL and EDGAR filing, DataTracks offers an automated, easy-to-use solution that takes the stress away come filing time. Speak to a member of the team for further information about our services, or send an email to inquiry@datatracks.com.