Category Archives: XBRL

XBRL beyond the 10-Q: experts champion broader content and analysis

Greater transparency, lower filing costs, reduced risks and better data quality – these long-promised benefits of XBRL are finally becoming a reality. As the XBRL landscape continues its swift evolution, we discussed the latest developments with five experts – as well as with a representative of the SEC.

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Vintage Question > XBRL is currently being used primarily for SEC quarterly filings, but does it hold possibilities for broader applications in accounting and financial data gathering? For which other sectors or tasks do you think it holds the most promise (e.g., insurance)? What about S-1, S-3 and S-4 filings?

Campbell Pryde > We think that XBRL should be used for anything with financial statement information. Overall, we feel the SEC needs to have a much more comprehensive data strategy.

If you’re asking for information from the capital markets today, they ask for the same information in many different ways. We have said repeatedly, “Please, if you’re asking someone to tell you what their assets are, ask for that information in a consistent way,” so that if someone reports assets to the SEC once, they don’t have to keep reporting it to them over and over again in a whole host of different formats.

One of the things we’d like to see is much more of this data being requested in XBRL.Data such as proxy information, hedge and mutual fund positions, corporate actions and earnings releases would be more useful for investors inan XBRL format.

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Outside of SEC reporting, we also have a few other initiatives. One is with the insurance industry, to get construction industry data in an XBRL format, and we’re also about to kick off an initiative with the Department of Energy, to have data on the financing of solar projects in XBRL as well. In addition, the Department of Labor (DOL) is looking to revamp the data collection for pension plans and this process would be greatly enhanced if data was reported in an XBRL format. Currently the DOL collects pension plan data in a PDF format and is used to guarantee pension plans by the government.

Hudson Hollister > There is currently legislation proposed in Congress, the Financial Transparency Act, that would require the SEC to adopt a structured format for everything that it collects. Not just the financial statements, or even just the 10-Ks and 10-Qs, but every one of the 600 or so forms that public companies and other entities have to submit to the SEC.

This would make the entire picture, all the disclosure that the SEC collects, into open data, searchable and available to everyone. We see these moves by the SEC as part of an overall move across all of government away from documents and toward standardized, searchable data. The Financial Transparency Act would go even farther than what the SEC is trying to do right now, but the actions the agency is currently taking are going in the same direction. It’s very important.

Ilya Vadeiko > I would speculate that the next great expansion of XBRL, and especially iXBRL, in the US should be into MD&A sections of financial reports, corporate actions and insurance. To our knowledge, those are the areas where the demand for structured and timely data is the greatest.

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XBRL is finally on the right path, say experts

Greater transparency, lower filing costs, reduced risks and better data quality – these long-promised benefits of XBRL are finally becoming a reality. As the XBRL landscape continues its swift evolution, we discussed the latest developments with five experts – as well as with a representative of the SEC.

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Vintage Question > How effective do you think the SEC has been in its implementation of XBRL? Are there specific areas you think they should improve upon?

Campbell Pryde > The SEC implementation has had its ups and downs, at times because of competing priorities that resulted in less focus on the XBRL program, which in turn may have led to issuers spending less time on their XBRL submissions.

In the early days, I think they did a good job of setting the parameters, given the knowledge they had, and that was very much because of former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, who was a big supporter of it. When Mary Schapiro was head of the Commission, the focus was no longer on data standardization, because of Dodd-Frank and the financial crisis. But now I think we’re in an era again when the SEC is paying a lot of attention to it and we do see a lot more support for it, especially amongst the SEC commissioners. I think that’s good, and you’re seeing more outreach to the market by the SEC, such as with the iXBRL initiative.

Hudson Hollister > I’ll be blunt: Up until this year, the SEC’s adoption of XBRL has been a failure. The agency adopted the XBRL format in 2009 and then phased it in over two years, but until June of this year, the agency was requiring every public company to report all of its finances twice. The SEC requires companies to report once in XBRL and then again as a document, because it never stopped collecting the old-fashioned document version of every financial statement. That dual reporting regime has prevented companies, investors, markets, and the agency itself from realizing the benefits of structured data.

Because companies are reporting twice, they have tended to separate the process they use for preparing the documents and the process they use for preparing the data. Many companies see the data reporting requirements as an additional compliance burden, so they prepare the data separately after the document is complete. This means that errors wind up in the XBRL version that might not be in the document version. This has been compounded by the fact that, except for a single public CFO letter in 2014, the SEC has never enforced the quality of the data version. So you have companies viewing the data version as an added-on compliance burden, and also the SEC not scrutinizing the data or checking it for quality, and companies know this.

For these reasons, the quality was poor for the first five or six years of XBRL reporting. It was so poor that some data intermediaries like Morningstar chose not to use it. XBRL should help investors, markets, and companies, as well as the SEC staff. It should mean better transparency and immediately actionable information for investors. If XBRL data were of good quality, an intermediary could process it almost instantaneously. But we still don’t have that, so the benefits to investors have not been realized.

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Jaret Klekota > Over the years, the SEC has released various observations to help companies with XBRL, including areas that the registrant should focus on in improving their filings. They have also released a number of XBRL FAQs, compliance and disclosure interpretations, as well as XBRL staff guidance in recent years. They even created a specific office through the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis dedicated to XBRL interactive data. We believe they should continue to release this type of guidance to assist the registrants in knowing what areas they should focus on improving. For investors, improved quality of XBRL filings will enable them to really understand and leverage the information more in the future.

Ilya Vadeiko > As I understand it, the SEC was not really using XBRL data internally in the first several years of implementation. We can tell this by the number of data errors and consistency issues that were allowed in XBRL filings. In our standard process of aggregating XBRL reports at FinDynamics, we have established a sophisticated system of monitors, data validations and automated normalizations of XBRL data. This system used to capture a lot more issues in the reports in the first few years of implementation than it does now.

The SEC’s introduction of iXBRL indicates that they understand the positive impact this could have on the quality of reported data, which could not be improved solely by the development of EDGAR Filer Manual rules and checks of technical XBRL syntax and structure. I work closely with the Financial Accounting Standards Board as a member of the Taxonomy Advisory Group and XBRL Dimension Working Group, and I can attest to how much progress has been made in improving XBRL usability over the last two years.

Another step the SEC should take is to allow the XBRL International Financial Reporting Standards taxonomy, which is used by foreign filers, and require the use of XBRL Level 1-2 tagging in the management discussion and analysis (MD&A) sections of reports, which should be of great value and interest with the use of iXBRL.

Pranav Ghai > Full disclosure – the SEC is a customer of ours. We work closely with them. But I will also say that while the adoption of XBRL has been slower than any of us would have liked, we are recently seeing a significant increase in usage by some very sophisticated firms. So I am really encouraged by what I’m seeing. I have quarterly meetings with the Commission, and the questions I’m getting are very sophisticated. They’re using the information and they’re reaching out to us more than every quarter.

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Experts share XBRL’s biggest challenges as we move into 2017

Greater transparency, lower filing costs, reduced risks and better data quality – these long-promised benefits of XBRL are finally becoming a reality. As the XBRL landscape continues its swift evolution, we discussed the latest developments with five experts – as well as with a representative of the SEC.

Vintage Question > In your view, what are the biggest challenges currently being tackled by filers when it comes to implementing XBRL?

Jaret Klekota > When it comes to implementing XBRL, the main issue for registrants is coordinating and incorporating all of the quality-control activities in their process. The close of the financial statement and the SEC submission process is already a busy time. And they need to make sure that they understand the complexities and risks of XBRL. A lot of clients use third-party XBRL creation providers, and we help to make sure that these third parties are following all the necessary rules. We want to be sure that our clients are comfortable that these tags truly represent what their financial statements are disclosing.

Campbell Pryde > One of the major issues currently is with extensions. The main problem with extensions is that there are elements in a taxonomy which exist but are not being used, and someone goes in and makes an extension for it instead. Our Data Quality Committee, of which Vintage is a founding member, has started addressing that issue with more comprehensive guidance on where and when you should use extensions. A lot of that is just getting decent guidance out there. I don’t think it’s fair to say that extensions are a bad thing, however. I think they are bad when used inappropriately, and the main cases are when a company creates an extension with an element that already exists in the taxonomy.

Or, secondly, they create an extension to differentiate an amount which is immaterial. If it’s immaterial, then why create it? But that’s actually quite common. It’s largely a matter of making people feel comfortable with that, which I think will help drive the issue out of the systems.

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Pranav Ghai > I agree with Campbell – the custom tags are an issue. The idea of these custom extensions is that your metric doesn’t quite fit what the taxonomy wanted it to, so you create something special.

But the problem is that there’s no linking between the base taxonomy and that extension. These things become step-children and it’s much more difficult to figure out the logic. If you’re comparing three or four companies — let alone 10 or 20 — if a couple of them have extensions, it becomes very difficult to compare them, even if they are ostensibly the same thing. One of the things Calcbench has done is a lot of extension mapping.

Ilya Vadeiko > Although we do not work on the filing side, we observe a fair amount of variability and inconsistency in disclosure reporting. Some filers are clearly struggling with reporting their face financials consistently. We believe that this usually results from the fact that the filers do not use or look at their own XBRL data from the point of view of investor relations or business analysis of their peers. This feedback loop should help improve implementation and eliminate issues in meaningful choices of XBRL elements.

Hudson Hollister > The most difficult part has already been done by every company, because XBRL is already mandatory. But XRBL electronically expresses how all the numbers relate to each other. So you’ve got to have somebody who knows how to do that. Some of the software products out there, like the ones offered by Vintage, give you an interface to do that, which makes it much easier. You don’t need to be a data expert.

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Industry experts discuss the evolution to iXBRL for financial reporting

Greater transparency, lower filing costs, reduced risks and better data quality – these long-promised benefits of XBRL are finally becoming a reality. As the XBRL landscape continues its swift evolution, we discussed the latest developments with five experts – as well as with a representative of the SEC.

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Vintage Question > In June, the SEC announced that it would start accepting structured financial data in the Inline XBRL (iXBRL) format. What do you see as the main benefits and challenges of this new format?

Jaret Klekota > As with anything new, there are going to be challenges making sure that companies understand what all the requirements are, and what changes there are between their current process and the iXBRL process. For example, there are “hidden tags” in iXBRL – companies need to understand what this means and what they should be doing in that area.

Since the SEC says that companies should really be focusing on the quality of the data, having the XBRL embedded into the HTML financial filing could free up companies from making sure the statement was rendering on the previewer in the same way as the HTML, and instead focus on appropriate tagging. iXBRL can help them embrace and streamline that review process, since there will no longer be two separate documents to compare and try to identify the differences between them.

For now, filing the iXBRL version is voluntary but I think there’s going to be a gradual increase in filings. Some may wait a bit longer in the process to see how it goes, and also wait until they are more comfortable around the requirements before filing.

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Ilya Vadeiko > In our opinion, the benefits are huge and obvious. If regular XBRL requires separate reporting and creates a significant duplication of work for auditors and filers – as well as gaps in logic – iXBRL eliminates the separation between traditional HTML and new XBRL formats, as Jaret mentions. This solves many existing problems in terms of consistency and accuracy. In terms of implementation, I would guess that this would require a fusion or transformation of old (HTML) and new (XBRL) reporting processes and procedures. This may be challenging for large filers who have already established such parallel procedures.

Hudson Hollister > For companies that have adopted disclosure management software, which is most of them, it does not take any additional effort to report using iXBRL. But, as Jaret points out, this is currently voluntary. Companies can continue reporting two versions of the financial statements if they want to, and many companies have created a review process that assumes two versions. They have some people in charge of reviewing the document and other people in charge of reviewing the data.

Even though that might be less efficient, it is not without cost to change the process. Many companies are so busy with the compliance that they might not bother. Of course, we would say that in the long run, companies should take advantage of this opportunity to combine those review processes, because it will get them ready for when the SEC moves to mandatory iXBRL – and we think the Commission will make it mandatory. Some leaders inside the SEC are hoping to propose a move to mandatory within the next year.

The reason for moving to mandatory iXBRL is beyond just fixing the problem with the financial statement itself. Inline will allow huge progress. Think about the 10-Q and the 10-K — right now, these documents are lengthy, and there is so much in them that could be structured but isn’t. For example, the cover page of the 10-Q and the 10-K have check-boxes that say what kind of company the filer is. Right now, those check-boxes are not connected to any database. If the SEC switched to using data fields instead of the document form, they could have a field that says “Check the box for which type of company you are,” and we could automatically generate a list of the all the wellknown seasoned issuers.

Campbell Pryde > Most of the work for iXBRL should be done by software, and so one of the challenges is making sure that the people preparing the files have the technology to do it. As of early August, there had been a total of four iXBRL filings – and even that number was surprising to me, since the SEC just announced it. Most people will wait and see what happens and it’s going to take a couple of months for the software community to update their systems to support the format.

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New whitepaper chronicles the state-of-the-XBRL-union today

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eXtensible Business Reporting Language is becoming mainstream as costs stabilize, data quality improves and investor analysis capabilities expand substantially.

Greater transparency, lower filing costs, reduced risks and better data quality – these long-promised benefits of XBRL are finally becoming a reality. How can issuer and investors take full advantage?

When the XBRL data reporting standard became mandatory in 2009, optimism reigned that structured data would allow for vast analytical possibilities. Businesses, regulators, and investors would be able to compare data across public companies at the push of a button.

Reality quickly set in, however. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) did not enforce high data quality. Filers created huge numbers of confusing extensions. And data providers often ignored the filings as a result.

Thankfully, in recent years, the situation has improved dramatically. “Through initiatives such as the XBRL US Data Quality Committee, the integrity of business information filed through XBRL has become significantly better. Slowly but surely, the huge potential of the reporting language is beginning to be realized,” commented Liam Power, President at Vintage, a PR Newswire division.

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Perhaps the most critical development of 2016 has been the announcement by the SEC in June that it would allow companies to use Inline XBRL (or iXBRL) to file their quarterly and annual financial statements. This version allows companies to file financial information in a single document, instead of keeping the traditional and XBRL versions separate. Eventually, the hope is that this will reduce complexity for filers, as well as the risk of error.

At the same time, data aggregators are starting to make full use of XBRL data, having found ways to clean up errors and manage extensions. This has opened up a great treasure trove of information for investors and businesses.

As the XBRL landscape continues its swift evolution, we discussed the latest developments with five experts – as well as with a representative of the SEC.

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Liam Power, President, Vintage, To Moderate at XBRL Investor Forum 2016 in NYC

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Panel discussion:Structured Data Use Today” held on October 24

NEW YORK, October 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ Vintage, the capital markets, corporate services and institutional & fund services division of PR Newswire, is pleased to announce that their President Liam Power will be moderating an industry panel of experts that will offer insight on the use of structured data today.

The session is free to attend and is a part of a half-day conference.

Investor Forum 2016: Finding Value with Smart Data

The panel will discuss use case studies for structured data, specifically XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), and its continually growing adoption by investors, data intermediaries, auditors and the media. Power will also engage the experts on why structured data improves timeliness, accuracy and efficiency.

liam-croppedExperts:

  • Liam Power, President, Vintage, a Division of PR Newswire (Moderator, right)
  • Campbell Pryde, President and CEO, XBRL US
  • Gladimyr Sully, Senior Content Specialist, Thomson Reuters
  • Howard Kaplan, Division of Enforcement, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Jack Ciesielski, R.G. Associates, Inc., Publisher of The Analyst’s Accounting Observer
  • Joey French, President & Director of Product, Intrinio

Vintage, a top-three EDGAR fling provider, offers XBRL solutions for OTC Markets, NASDAQ and NYSE listed companies. Learn more about their fleXBRL program here: http://www.thevintagegroup.com/products/xbrl-financial-reporting.html

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About Vintage

Vintage, a PR Newswire division, is a top-three provider of full-service regulatory compliance and shareholder communications services, delivered across our three practice areas: Capital Markets, Corporate Services and Institutional & Fund Services. Founded in 2002 and acquired by PR Newswire in 2007, Vintage has evolved to become the industry’s intelligent value choice. We deliver a flexible balance of people, facilities and technology to ensure that regulatory compliance and shareholder communications processes are efficient, transparent and painless. Services include IPO registrations, transactions, virtual data rooms, EDGAR & XBRL filing, typesetting, financial printing and investor relations websites.

About PR Newswire

PR Newswire, a Cision company, is the premier global provider of multimedia platforms and distribution that marketers, corporate communicators, sustainability officers, public affairs and investor relations officers leverage to engage key audiences. Having pioneered the commercial news distribution industry over 60 years ago, PR Newswire today provides end-to- end solutions to produce, optimize and target content — and then distribute and measure results. Combining the world’s largest multi-channel, multi-cultural content distribution and optimization network with comprehensive workflow tools and platforms, PR Newswire powers the stories of organizations around the world. PR Newswire serves tens of thousands of clients from offices in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.

Cision is a leading global media intelligence company, serving the complete workflow of today’s communication professionals.

Media Contact:
Bradley H. Smith
Director of Marketing, IR and Compliance Services
PR Newswire & Vintage
+1 201.942.7157

bradley.smith@prnewswire.com

SEC to speak indepth about inline XBRL: industry webinar

This past June, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that public companies have the option to file their Forms 8-K, 10-Q, 10-K, 20-F and 40-F in a financial disclosure format known as Inline XBRL, also referred to as iXBRL. iXBRL is the merging of two distinctly different document formats – machine-readable XBRL and “people-readable” HTML into a single document.

Currently, the SEC requires that corporate issuers file their financial reports with the SEC in both XBRL and HTML.glasses2

The SEC believes iXBRL will decrease filing preparation costs and improve the quality of structured XBRL data. To quote Ford, quality is job #1 for all involved – improving data quality will advance the adoption (and data trust) of XBRL by Street portals and thus, investors.

At the time of the SEC’s June announcement, some issues were a bit vague regarding iXBRL. Here’s your chance for more clarity.

There is also an option (fifty bucks) to get CPE credit.

All Vintage clients will have the ability to file with iXBRL for the Q3 2016 filing season.

“The adoption of iXBRL has great potential to simplify the review process for our clients,” said Liam Power, President, Vintage. “Eliminating the duplicate tasks of reviewing, editing and approving the same financial information on two different documents is clearly the intelligent, next step in the evolution of structured data reporting and for our fleXBRL program. By design, our fleXBRL program adapts to meet the needs of our clients and of the SEC.”


Vintage fleXBRL is a leading reporting program that matches the internal workflow for companies of all market-cap and filing complexity:

  • fleXBRL Complete: Flexible XBRL tagging process between Vintage and client’s on-staff financial team. Our XBRL Dedicated Accountants execute taxonomy tagging process while clients have real-time web portal / Microsoft Office oversight to review, directly edit and submit both XBRL and associated HTML EDGAR files at any time up to filing deadline.
  • fleXBRL Command:100% self-serve web portal / Microsoft Office solution for companies with on-staff XBRL specialist(s).  XBRL and associated HTML EDGAR files can be submitted to the SEC at any time up to filing deadline.
  • fleXBRL Core: Traditional XBRL tagging and filing solution. All tagging, timeline management and final filing executed by Vintage XBRL specialists. Adherence to filing workflow timeline is essential.

Please CLICK HERE  for more information about fleXBRL.

 

Honing XBRL quality: FASB 2017 GAAP Taxonomy Release webinar

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is preparing for their annual FASB Accounting Standards Updates – which includes changes to the 2017 XBRL taxonomies.

  • Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2016
  • Time: 1:00 pm EDT

In advance of the webinar, details of the changes can be viewed here. XBRL practitioners are also invited to comment.

FROM FASB:

Through this session, participants will gain a better understanding of how the changes in the 2017 Taxonomy Release will affect XBRL exhibits. Participants also will gain insight into expected changes as a result of ASUs, topical projects, and new structural components to assist with usability.

The agenda will include:

  1. Update from the SEC staff
  2. Proposed changes to the 2017 Taxonomy for new Accounting Standards Updates
  3. Update on Taxonomy Implementation Guides
  4. New structural components, including extensible lists and typed dimensions
  5. Overview of the 2017 Taxonomy Release, including the restructuring of change and deprecation labels.

The webinar is free. CLICK HERE

XBRL quality has been an ongoing challenge, for numerous reasons – least of all regulatory avoidance and “end-user” apathy. That’s quickly and finally changing – and kudos to FASB for always being a champion.

Vintage and our XBRL accountants are champs too!

Banks have been reporting in XBRL to the FDIC for almost ten years? Mind=Blown.

Did you know banks have been reporting in XBRL for almost ten years? I did not.

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As reported by Bloomberg BNA, the banking sector have been submitting their mandated quarterly FDIC Call Reports in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). “The FDIC saved millions of dollars having all the banks report to them in this very standardized format,” said Glen Gray, professor at California State University. “That sometimes gets lost in these [XBRL] discussions.”

Also, per Bloomberg, “the U.S. Treasury Department, for example, is gearing up to get federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and others to use XBRL to submit data reports. Overall, over 60 regulators globally have either adopted or are in the processing of using XBRL. these include: the Netherlands, the European Union, the U.K., Australia, Japan, Korea, India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico.”

This follows on last week’s discussion (READ HERE) of XBRL being used by investors, in spite of general ongoing perceptions. Even as recent as Monday, the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) published this statement: “The SEC should resist calls for an expansion of XBRL reporting requirements, in NIRI’s view, until it examines whether a significant number of investors use XBRL and whether the benefits outweigh the compliance costs.”

Let’s be clear. No investor is ever going to say “I use XBRL.” 

The question to ask investors is not “do you use XBRL,’ but rather… “would you like a single source of financial reporting data on an issuer that is directly and verifiably published by that issuer?”

IR should want that too. XBRL is the apex of “controlling your financial narrative.”


Lastly, if you still feel your company is paying too much for XBRL processing, you may be doing it wrong. Contact me directly and I can have you speak to one of our XBRL accountant.

Forget about compliance. For investor relations, XBRL is about communications.

XBRL data is shaping the future of the capital markets – just no one knew it.

Since 2009, the capital markets / investor relations industry has been waiting for the broad, universal and simultaneous adoption of XBRL, the “machine-readable” code that underlies SEC forms 10-Q and 10-K. That’s not going to happen – at least not as a Big Bang.

What is happening, in a more Darwinian manner, is that is XBRL has quietly worked its way into the daily dataflow of thousands of investors – in the quantitative trading platforms built by extremely smart people: engineer predictive-modeling-data smart, not Wall Street speculative-gut-reaction smart. Websites like QUANDL.com and DIYquants.com are two of the data hubs for quantitative trading developers.

The best allegory I’ve read is to compare investing with the weather. Legacy Wall Street is still largely based on experience: they can look up in the sky and make a trade decision – like a sheep herder who has worked the same hillside for years. A “Quant” (quantitative trader) is more like a meteorologist. They work computer-based statistical analysis strategies to execute trades when certain data-driven conditions are met.

 

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Today, at many companies, IR and SEC reporting live separate, but equal lives.

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XBRL is the delivery mechanism of your earnings announcement. It’s the earnings call for Quants.

Quants are not on your quarterly conference call, listening to your CEO’s earnings narrative. So, how are Quants receiving your earnings narrative? Directly from you via your XBRL filings. This is why we have our continual hissy-fit blog posts about XBRL quality. Forget about compliance. For investor relations, XBRL is about communications.

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Quants need to have the same level of IR oversight as any buy-side analyst

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With the explosion of Quants and the equally aggressive Fintech industry, investor relations teams now need to reach a growing investor base that will not ever respond to traditional, narrative-based investor relations. For Quants, XBRL is the narrative – and if the XBRL has errors that corrupts their models, the narrative is not communicated and they’ll bypass that stock.

We counsel clients that a better moniker for building relationships with Quants is financial communications rather than shareholder communications. There is no denying that, looking forward in our Big Data world, the vocabulary of financial communications is XBRL. IR needs to double-check that your company is speaking in that tongue correctly.

Forget about compliance. For investor relations, XBRL is about communications. Get involved. Ask your SEC reporting team for a recap of the most recent filing.