XBRL (the eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is the international digital standard for reporting business operations and financial information. Business regulators, banks, and stock exchanges world-wide require companies to provide operations and financial information in XBRL-formatted files. The U.S. FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) has been requiring member banks to report their financial condition in XBRL format call reports since 2005. The U.S. SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has been requiring publically-traded companies to report their financial statements in their quarterly 10-Q and annual 10-K filings, including disclosures, in XBRL format since 2009. In 2020, the SEC is in the second year of phasing in iXBRL (inline XBRL) for financial statements with all accelerated filers; those publically-traded companies with over $75 million in public float. iXBRL financial statements contain the standard XBRL nested within HTML (HyperText Markup Language) so that it is displayed as a Web page when processed by a Web browser. The result is that the financial information is more readily usable for analysis and further computer processing.

This Workbook covers XBRL for SEC financial reporting using the U.S. GAAP XBRL taxonomy; released January 31, 2020. This taxonomy contains over 16,000 elements each representing an accounting or financial reporting concept. The U.S. FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) is responsible for maintaining and updating the U.S. GAAP XBRL taxonomy and they work closely with the SEC to monitor XBRL filings with the goal of improving the robustness of the U.S. GAAP taxonomy and the effectiveness of corporate financial reporting. Also, the new mandate to begin filing financials in iXBRL format brings the U.S. in line with many other countries, including, the UK, all countries in the EU, South Korea, and Japan.

XBRL, including iXBRL, is the standard for financial and business operations reporting around the world because it standardizes the meanings and terminology that companies use in their financial reporting and facilitates transparency and analysis of the data being reported. In addition, ERP packages, including, SAP and Oracle, are implementing disclosure management modules to facilitate XBRL tagging earlier in the financial statement preparation process and the management of XBRL tagged financial information. As a result, accountants need to become more knowledgeable about XBRL and digital financial reporting processes.

From a broader perspective, XML, the “parent” language of XBRL, is one of the enabling technologies behind what is being referred to as “the semantic Web.” The semantic Web is a phrase that captures the basic principle that data in digital form can now be captured, transmitted on networks (including the Internet), and stored in databases, with meaning and context; making it “information” as opposed to simply data. Thus, when financial data is reported in XBRL format it becomes financial “information” and it is processed and stored with a standard meaning and in a standard format which improves its transparency and makes it more understandable, usable for its intended purpose (e.g., financial and business operations reporting), and reusable for other purposes (e.g., tax reporting). In addition, the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) has issued a set of Audit Data Standards to standardize file and field names that auditors use to request data from clients and it is implemented in XBRL GL (Global Ledger); an advanced XBRL topic.

We have reached the point where every well-educated accountant and financial professional should understand XBRL, how to navigate and use the XBRL taxonomies, and how to create XBRL instance documents. I have received invaluable input and feedback from a number of professors at Universities around the U.S. I want to especially thank Professor Brad Tuttle, University of South Carolina, Professor Uday Murthy, University of South Florida, Professor Andy Luzi, California State University at Fullerton, Professor Graham Gal, University of Massachusetts, Professor Steven Hornik, University of Central Florida, Professor Lois Mahoney, Eastern Michigan University, Professor Terry Glandon, University of Texas, El Paso, Professor Andreas Nicolaou, Bowling Green State University, Professor Nancy Coster, Loyola Marymount University, Professor Greg Gerrard, Florida State University, and Professor Rebecca Rosner, Long Island University Post.