Riding XBRL without training wheels (aka limited liability)

Non-large accelerated fliers are soon to be without the Even-Safer Safe Harbor of their XBRL’s limited liability period, a 24-month grace period where the SEC considered your XBRL as “furnished” not “filed.”  That meant that mistakes within your XBRL documents were viewed as errors in good faith, and carried no penalties if corrected promptly. Once your company’s grace period ends, your XBRL files have the exact same material error liabilities as your traditional EDGAR HTML files.

Most non-large accelerated filers lose the training wheels of limited liability after their Q2 2013 filings. Everyone is freewheeling by October 2014.


Fortunately, we have had our large accelerated filer clients as trailblazers, offering great examples for success against liability.


  • A simultaneous XBRL and EDGAR (HTML) solution – in our product vocabulary, fleXBRL – assures that the EDGAR and XBRL always match. That automatically removes a bevy of risk.   
  • Unless you have deep XBRL expertise in your financial reporting group, a totally DIY web filing solution may not offer you enough support. We suggest clients focus on the strategy of what they’re reporting, not the tactical burden of reporting. Try a hybrid self-service with unlimited support method – the cost is about the same if you shop and compare wisely.  
  • The SEC has not defined what a “material error” is, but they’ll know it when they see it. That’s SOP for the SEC. So it’s always CYA, OK? 

Our guidance, albeit biased towards our product strategy: work a hybrid XBRL filing model that provides you with the #1 most requested feature – real-time, last-minute edit & review and that includes dedicated tagging and tactical expertise. Think of this model as wearing a helmet.

Another consideration is a fiscal one. Please be wary of “cheap-XBRL.com” shops. XBRL is still very new and multi-faceted. Select a top XBRL firm with deep, real-life experience (preferably us).

What is your XBRL workflow wish? Tell us here.

Have a great day.

8 responses to “Riding XBRL without training wheels (aka limited liability)

  1. How you make XBRL interesting is a mystery. The 3D post was good too.

  2. Great point to think about report quality. The Columbia CEASA paper noted that 73% of company XBRL reports included quality errors; so for many companies this is an important reporting consideration.

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  8. I’m no longer positive the place you’re getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend a while studying much more or understanding more.
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