The 2016 XBRL Taxonomy “To Do” List

In a chart topping 1971 song, Rod Stewart lamented, “It’s late September and I really should be back at school”.  As we approach the latter days of September in the practice of XBRL for SEC filing, it’s also time to take a back to school approach to improving your company’s XBRL filings.  We have prepared a “to do” list to help you get up to speed with the proposed 2016 XBRL taxonomy.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in Norwalk, CT. is charged by the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) with creating generally accepted accounting standards (GAAP) for corporations doing business and participating in capital markets within the United States. Every September, the FASB announces their preliminary taxonomy for the following year. On September 1, 2015, FASB released the proposed 2016 GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy for public review and comment.

Your XBRL “To Do” List

  • Review the proposed 2016 Taxonomy before October 31, 2015. During the review, FASB asks you to check their proposed changes for incorporating new elements and suggested revisions to the Taxonomy.
  • View the archives FASB XBRL 2016 taxonomy Webcast to become aware of the proposed changes. There are 229 elements (out of 12,200 plus) that have changes.
  • Check to see if any of the 63 elements depreciated (eliminated) will affect your filings. If you were using an element that is depreciated, you must find an alternative.  DataTracks representatives can work with you on these changes.
  • Check out the 52 new elements that will be added to the taxonomy. Most additions are due to FASB ASU changes.
  • Read all 114 modified definitions, standard labels and references to ensure that your use of an element is still appropriate as the 2016 Taxonomy becomes official.
  • Read Taxonomy Implementation Notes. FASB is doing an excellent job of preparing detailed information designed to help you get any changes to XBRL right.
  • Check every extension you are using to see if the FASB is incorporating your extension into the new taxonomy. If no, add the extension as a suggestion in the feedback to FASB. FASB will consider all feedback.
  • Send your feedback to FASB.
  • Review all XBRL related reference and implementation guides published on the FASB website. Not only do the reference and implementation guides help with XBRL, but the accounting references and context presented could help you improve your financial reporting.

Here is a list of the detailed information available on the FASB website:

Guidance and Supporting Documents include:

  • Proposed 2016 US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy Release Notes (Narrative only)
    Narrative summary of taxonomy changes since 2015 release
  • Electronic Feedback Form
    (An electronic feedback form has been included to provide constituents with the ability to provide their responses to the Questions for Respondents found in the Proposed 2016 Taxonomy Release Notes. All other comments on the Taxonomy should be provided using the commenting tool noted above)
  • Modifications to the Taxonomy (Excel Version)
    Taxonomy change details since 2015 release in spreadsheet format
  • FASB Extension Taxonomy Change Application (TC App)
    This application helps users quickly identify changes in the elements that are used in an existing XBRL extension taxonomy resulting from a new Taxonomy release. Save and unzip the TC App to a local drive and follow instructions in the 
    User Guide contained therein.
  • Proposed 2016 US GAAP Taxonomy (Excel Version)
    Taxonomy in a spreadsheet format to facilitate taxonomy review.
  • 2014 US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy Architecture
    Explains the taxonomy design rationale and how the architecture satisfies stakeholder requirements. No change from 2014.
  • Proposed 2016 US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy Technical Guide
    Provides technical details of the taxonomy. Refer to the 
    Electronic Feedback Form to provide comments on the Proposed Guide.
  • Proposed 2016 US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy File Reference
    List and URL location for all files contained in the taxonomy

The Modifications to the Taxonomy (Excel Version) is a great place to start your review.  Using Excel’s advanced techniques, you can quickly sort the files to find any element that might affect your future filings.  Additionally, the Taxonomy Technical Guide is not just for geeks.  Accountants should use this data as a reference especially when considering a unique extension.  The guide will provide direction and guidance on almost all things XBRL.

SEC Update

Kimberly Earl, Office of Structured Data at the SEC provided an update on Proposed 2016 Taxonomy during the FASB webcast.  As you may recall, FASB houses, monitors and administers the taxonomy while the SEC approves and incorporates changes to the taxonomy into the EDGAR Filing System.  The SEC also makes changes to the taxonomies and Ms. Earl suggested that everyone in the community periodically check in with the SEC’s website for updates.

Kimberly also announced that the SEC has updated their email outreach and is requesting that you send your email address to the new service.  Please send a note to and ask them to add you to the update list.

Ms. Earl also indicated that the any changes the SEC proposes are also exposed for public comment on the structured data website.  XBRL filers should also monitor the SEC EDGAR Filing page for updates.

Staff observations about XBRL issued last year are still relevant.  The SEC is also meeting with the XBRL community sponsored data quality committee as observers.  Ms. Earl urges filers to continue to contact the SEC with any questions and issues that may come up regarding filing in XBRL.    She also requested that users look at SEC proposed changes page and comment both on the changes to US GAAP and on the possibilities of expanding the use of structured data.  Inline was mentioned as an item that the SEC continues to work on. No Inline XBRL timing updates were given at the webcast.

DataTracks: Behind the Scenes

Every change in the taxonomy requires changes in the software companies like DataTracks use for filing with the SEC.  Our technical team is not only aware of the changes but are prepared to answer any of your questions as you begin your annual review.  Our #1 quality team will team with you to make the transition to the 2016 Taxonomy as smooth as possible.

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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