On Wednesday, Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) played a strong hand to the SEC: exempt companies with annual revenue below $1 billion from the requirement to file 10-K and Qs in XBRL. That’s about 80% of companies. Was he bluffing?
From the Data Transparency Coalition:
“Rep. Hurt’s bill reflects justified frustration with the SEC’s failure to deliver useful corporate financial data to investors. The SEC initially adopted the XBRL-based standard to democratize access to market information for investors, help agency investigators better locate indicators of fraud using Big Data analytics, and cut compliance costs for corporate disclosure through automation. However, since the SEC has failed to use this data in its own reviews, the agency hasn’t developed an internal incentive to demand quality data.”
The bolded statement was dealt from the deck that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa in a letter sent on Sept 10 to SEC Chair Mary Jo White asking why the regulator has been so slow to embrace their internal use XBRL. He dropped the final ace, calling out the SEC for relying on “printouts, pencils and calculators.”
Well, as of today XBRL enthusiasts are still at the table. Rep. Hurt is not going to introduce his XBRL bill – but is still holding back a possible legislation for smaller corporations. Assume JOBS emerging growth companies.
So, where does that leave us?
“Today’s hearing opened the door for legislation that would (a) provide limited and temporary exemptions from the XBRL reporting requirement; (b) ensure better enforcement of data quality to make XBRL data more useful for investors; and (c) direct the SEC to adopt structured data formats for its whole disclosure regime, moving beyond the just the financial statements to include proxy filings, earnings releases, lists of subsidiaries, and other submissions.”
One point I disagree with is the unfocused use of the word “investors.” What investors? How investors? Is the SEC speaking with the data architects at the Street portals ie Bloomberg, FactSet? IMHO that’s the only way XBRL will get widely adopted by “investors.” Can the SEC help there?
Some kudos: I know that Rep. Issa’s and Rep. Hurt’s motive was to help investors, but their effort actually help issuers too. The public companies need to see their great – and sincere - efforts show a winfall. The cost of XBRL is immeasurably out of balance to its value for many issuers.
How does Vintage Filings help solve this imbalance?
Simply (and salesy) our fleXBRL program is helping companies meet the obvious challenges of XBRL ROI… cost and time burden. Quality and transparency is a given.
What type of company are you? Please let us know. Match your workflow and budget to our flexible XBRL solution HERE.
Have a great day.