Reasons why Inline XBRL should be adopted

  • 23 Nov 2017
  • Shrikanth Ramachandran
  • Inline XBRL

Initially, XBRL was introduced to standardize business and financial reporting. The ultimate objective and goal were to make data easily extractable for analysis, a feat which was easily achieved using XML technology. However, the XBRL report generated didn’t serve the purpose fully  due to two reasons: (a) not all the contents are tagged with XBRL concepts so the consumer would still need to review the original HTML or PDF version of financial reports; and (b) there is no guarantee that both HTML/PDF version and XBRL version is consistent. These challenges triggered the need for Inline XBRL. The advantage of Inline XBRL document is that it’s an HTML document that can be viewed in a browser with XBRL tags embedded in it that can be extracted in an XBRL viewer for analysis. In a nutshell, Inline XBRL is both machine-readable as well human-readable.

Please find below the top 4 reasons why Inline XBRL should be adopted

  • Reduces effort: With the implementation of Inline XBRL by many regulators across the globe including SEC recently, filers are made to prepare single document instead of two separate thereby reducing the effort
  • Reduces errors: When there are two parallel submissions (in HTML and XBRL), there is always a possibility of those submissions carrying inconsistent data. For example, last minute change done in HTML but missed out in XBRL defeats the whole purpose. With Inline XBRL, it’s a single version of truth and inconsistency between the data in HTML document and the data tagged for XBRL is completely
  • Reduces cost: The total cost of compliance is reduced owing to reduced preparation time and improved quality of data.
  • Reduces complexity: Since it’s a single version of truth, regulators and investors of the data can trust the Inline XBRL document for analysis instead of doing a consistency check between two versions of the document. From the software developers’ perspective, building an Inline XBRL engine would mean they don’t need to spend development efforts in building a reconciliation platform to compare data between HTML and XBRL versions.

Thus Inline XBRL results in benefits to filers, regulators, investors and software developers thereby making a strong case for its implementation.

About DataTracks: DataTracks US is part of DataTracks Services Limited, leaders worldwide in preparation of financial statements in EDGAR HTML, XBRL and iXBRL formats for filing with regulators. With a track record of over 10 years, DataTracks prepares more than 12,000 XBRL statements annually for filing with regulators such as SEC in the United States, HMRC in the United Kingdom, Revenue in Ireland, ACRA in Singapore and MCA in India.

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