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XBRL Quality – Onward and Upward

  • 23 Nov 2015
  • Anupam Das
  • XBRL

XBRL Quality

The circles are buzzing with talk of data quality. Ever since XBRL appeared in the consciousness of  the general data community, data quality has been an issue simmering under the surface. Everyone seemed to care about it, but everyone seemed to care more about getting XBRL conversions of documents done.

Somehow, getting it done seemed to become more important that getting it done right. It is, after all, an understandable sentiment. How can you do something right without doing it at all? But herein lies the inconsistency in that logic. Getting something done and getting it done right are not sequential processes. They are not even parallel processes. They are concurrent processes. Quality, or the lack thereof, is an inherent characteristic of any performance.

Look at it this way: if you were responsible for making a balance sheet in PDF format, would you tolerate a mistake? Of course not! Why, then, should mistakes be tolerated in XBRL? With companies needing to file both EDGAR HTML and XBRL, it is also very important to avoid inconsistencies between the two. In all cases, quality guidelines will have to be followed.

In the recent past, starting from July 2014, the SEC has started focusing on the quality of the XBRL that it receives. The industry took a giant step forward in June of this year when it established the Data Quality Committee (DQC). The DQC has quickly grown by absorbing more companies as well as representatives from academia, institutional investors, data aggregators and others to become a movement with a much stronger voice. It is currently involved in the development of uniform guidelines and stringent validation rules for filers (and service providers) to follow.

As a member of the DQC, DataTracks is committed to high quality. It has recently published its first set of validation rules for companies to monitor their XBRL data. Meanwhile, an independent analysis performed monthly by Charles Hoffman, the father of XBRL, is a good barometer to gauge the quality level of service providers.

With the SEC moving with intent toward iXBRL and toward making interactive data more useful, it is time for the filers to file with quality rather than just file.

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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