Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an open specification that uses XML-based data tags to describe financial statements. The specification can be used by both public and private companies, and is intended to be, according to the XBRL organization itself, a "standards-based method with which users can prepare, publish (in a variety of formats), exchange and analyze financial statements and the information they contain. It is intended to allow for the automatic exchange and reliable extraction of financial information across all software formats and technologies, including the internet."
There are three terms to understand when working with XBRL:
- Specification - The technical description of the function of XBRL and explanation of how to build XBRL documents and XBRL taxonomies.
- Taxonomy - A "vocabulary" or "dictionary" created by a group, compliant with the XBRL Specification, created in order to exchange business information.
- Instance - A business report, such as a financial statement, prepared to the XBRL specification. The meaning of the values in the instance document is defined by the taxonomy; therefore, an instance document is only really useful when you know the taxonomy used in its preparation.
For more information on XBRL see the XBRL organization at www.xbrl.org. To use the XBRL format, you first need to acquire a taxonomy that suits your needs. The XBRL Website has several XBRL taxonomy files that can be downloaded for your use.
The following describes a simple work flow on how to use XBRL in Working Papers:
- Create an XBRL Repository
- Assign XBRL Taxonomy to the Map Numbers
- Assign Tags to CaseView Template Documents
- Export the XBRL Documents and their Subdocuments
- Import XBRL Documents to the Client File