Committee Seeking Comments on XBRL Tagging in SEC Reports

The XBRL US Data Quality Committee is seeking public comment on a set of rules designed to produce higher-quality XBRL tagging in financial reports submitted to the SEC, the Journal of Accountancy reported.

Extensible business reporting language (XBRL) is a technology format that allows public companies and other organizations to tag data included in financial statements and footnote disclosures. The tags translate the raw information in financial reports into a language computers can understand.

The AICPA has encouraged its members to read and comment on the new rules. The Institute is represented on the Data Quality Committee, which is tasked with providing guidance on XBRL tagging to the XBRL US Center for Data Quality.

XBRL supporters, including the AICPA, have said for years that the technology opens the door to a much more efficient use of financial reports by analysts and investors. In theory, tools using XBRL can extract key information from public company and other financial data far more efficiently than is possible now. In practice, persistent errors in applying XBRL tags to financial reports have limited the benefits of the technology, the Journal of Accountancy reported.

“For investors and other consumers to fully realize the benefits that XBRL can deliver, better guidance and automated rules for mitigating errors in XBRL data is needed. Public review and input is an important part of this process,” Melancon said in an AICPA news release. “The comments provided over the course of the next 60 days will help the committee improve the guidance and rules that will reduce inconsistencies or errors in XBRL data filed with the SEC.”

The deadline for filing comments is Sept. 14, 2015.