Death and Taxonomies

Of the two inevitabilities in life for the CFO of a public company, contrary to popular belief, only one of them is actually fatal.

We speak to clients each day about the lessening the burden of XBRL and if you follow the topic as tightly as we do, XBRL is at a precipice – and the next step is a doozy. It’s time to step up to quality.



Within XBRL, quality is a complex term – as XBRL is a complex process. For the sake of this blog, I am not speaking of the tactical view of quality – but more the STRATEGIC view. A tactical approach to XBRL quality can be solved by working with the right software or 3rd party filer (which, coincidentally  Vintage Filings happens to be both.)

A strategic view on XBRL quality – which I feel the true experts like Campbell Pryde, Mike Willis, etc speak on – means that the senior executives at public companies really THINK about XBRL’s importance for investors, not just for their company compliance or legal liability.

Now you’re thinking “hah! what investors?” That’s the entire point.

XBRL will never be useful, broadly, unless the financial reporting teams make “global” choices in regard to selecting taxonomies that are the lowest common denominator across sectors, peers and even competitors. I know the ‘X’ stands for extensible ( I guess ‘EBRL’ did not sound cool) but if you customize your taxonomies to the point of non-comparison, you really have wasted everyone’s time and money.

The only way XBRL will EVER make it onto Wall Street is via the portals like Bloomberg, ThomsonOne and FactSet. That is how we will realize ROI from XBRL. If the data is bad, the portals will never integrate it. Chicken, meet egg.

Have a great day.

One response to “Death and Taxonomies

  1. Pingback: XBRL 2011 U.S. GAAP Taxonomy to retire on April 29th | Building Shareholder Confidence

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