Hard-copy paper documents have been the traditional medium for business reporting to shareholders and investors. More recently, electronic versions of business reports have become common on company Web sites. However, electronic formats do not guarantee that information can be properly searched and extracted since distinct types of users have different needs of information. Several reporting languages have been developed to solve these problems.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Taxonomy: An XBRL taxonomy is the document that defines the elements that may be used in the corresponding XBRL instance documents. It is the categorisation scheme which defines the specific tags for individual items of data (such as “net profit”). National jurisdictions have different accounting regulations that must be transposed into their own XBRL taxonomy for financial reporting.
XBRL Specification: A set of technical rules that define the structure of a given version of XBRL.
COREP: Taxonomy developed by the Committee of European Banking Supervisors for a common reporting framework that should be implemented by credit and investment European institutions on their solvency ratio reporting to financial supervisory authorities.
XBRL: Stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language; it is an XML-based markup language developed for business and financial information exchange, allowing the identification and contextualization of accounting elements. The information structure is defined in taxonomies, and these are prepared by local jurisdictions.
Instance Document: An XML document containing XBRL elements, written according to a valid taxonomy. It contains financial facts about a particular organization or company and should convey the same information as the hard-copy financial statement.
FRTA: Stands for financial reporting taxonomy architecture; it is a document published by XBRL International to guide the design of taxonomies for financial reporting and ensure consistent and efficient use of XBRL around the world.
XML: Stands for eXtensible Markup Language; it is an extensible general-purpose markup language. It is a simplified subset of Standard Generalized Markup Language. XML allows the creation of both human and machine-readable documents that are capable of describing many different kinds of data. The primary purpose of XML is to facilitate data sharing across different systems.
Jurisdiction: Jurisdictions represent countries, regions or international bodies in the XBRL International Consortium and provide an important education and marketing role, explaining the benefits of XBRL to government and private organisations. Jurisdictions are also responsible for promoting XBRL and organizing the creation of taxonomies related to accounting standards in their area.