XBRL is a language for the electronic communication of business and financial data which is revolutionising business reporting around the world. It provides major benefits in the preparation, analysis and communication of business information. It offers cost savings, greater efficiency and improved accuracy and reliability to all those involved in supplying or using financial data. XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It is one of a family of "XML" languages which is becoming a standard means of communicating information between businesses and on the internet. XBRL is being developed by an international non-profit consortium of approximately 450 major companies, organisations and government agencies. It is an open standard, free of licence fees. It is already being put to practical use in a number of countries and implementations of XBRL are growing rapidly around the world. This site provides information about the nature, uses and benefits of XBRL. It explains how individuals and companies can join the effort to move forward and make use of the language. A Simple Explanation The idea behind XBRL, eXtensible Business Reporting Language, is simple. Instead of treating financial information as a block of text - as in a standard internet page or a printed document - it provides an identifying tag for each individual item of data. This is computer readable. For example, company net profit has its own unique tag. The introduction of XBRL tags enables automated processing of business information by computer software, cutting out laborious and costly processes of manual re-entry and comparison. Computers can treat XBRL data "intelligently": they can recognise the information in a XBRL document, select it, analyse it, store it, exchange it with other computers and present it automatically in a variety of ways for users. XBRL greatly increases the speed of handling of financial data, reduces the chance of error and permits automatic checking of information. Companies can use XBRL to save costs and streamline their processes for collecting and reporting financial information. Consumers of financial data, including investors, analysts, financial institutions and regulators, can receive, find, compare and analyse data much more rapidly and efficiently if it is in XBRL format. XBRL can handle data in different languages and accounting standards. It can flexibly be adapted to meet different requirements and uses. Data can be transformed into XBRL by suitable mapping tools or it can be generated in XBRL by appropriate software. How XBRL Works XBRL is a member of the family of languages based on XML, or Extensible Markup Language, which is a standard for the electronic exchange of data between businesses and on the internet. Under XML, identifying tags are applied to items of data so that they can be processed efficiently by computer software. XBRL is a powerful and flexible version of XML which has been defined specifically to meet the requirements of business and financial information. It enables unique identifying tags to be applied to items of financial data, such as ‘net profit’. However, these are more than simple identifiers. They provide a range of information about the item, such as whether it is a monetary item, percentage or fraction. XBRL allows labels in any language to be applied to items, as well as accounting references or other subsidiary information. XBRL can show how items are related to one another. It can thus represent how they are calculated. It can also identify whether they fall into particular groupings for organisational or presentational purposes. Most importantly, XBRL is easily extensible, so companies and other organisations can adapt it to meet a variety of special requirements. The rich and powerful structure of XBRL allows very efficient handling of business data by computer software. It supports all the standard tasks involved in compiling, storing and using business data. Such information can be converted into XBRL by suitable mapping processes or generated in XBRL by software. It can then be searched, selected, exchanged or analysed by computer, or published for ordinary viewing. Key Features of XBRL GL The XBRL Global Ledger was created to meet these goals: • Multi-GAAP, drill-up to multi-XBRL reporting taxonomies. • Standard format for 3rd-party software to create journal entries to pull into client GL system. • Standard format to move unposted and posted GL information back and forth from branch offices to consolidating systems, budgeting and forecasting tools, reporting tools. • Standard format to upload general ledger information as well as payables and receivables master files and open balances in migrating from one system to another or moving information to or from an Internet Application Service Provider (ASP). • Standard format to move information from client systems to CPA/CA. • Standard format to move information from one CPA/CA system (e.g., write-up) to another (e.g., tax) in an international context. • Standard format to represent open receivables, open payables, inventory balances, and other asset-based measures for sharing with banks. • Tool for representing detail drill-down for performance measurement reporting items. • Extensible for any type of mandatory audit trail. • Extensible for meeting any "sub-ledger" need. • Designed as XBRL spec-compliant but for easy translation to other uses; cannot assume that XBRL period, entity, unit and other context (numeric, non numeric) will automatically be there. Benefits and Uses for Business XBRL offers major benefits at all stages of business reporting and analysis. The benefits are seen in automation, cost saving, faster, more reliable and more accurate handling of data, improved analysis and in better quality of information and decision-making. XBRL enables producers and consumers of financial data to switch resources away from costly manual processes, typically involving time-consuming comparison, assembly and re-entry of data. They are able to concentrate effort on analysis, aided by software which can validate and manipulate XBRL information. As just one example, searches for particular information which might in the past have taken hours can be completed with XBRL in a fraction of a second. Those who stand to benefit include all who collect business data, including governments, regulators, economic agencies, stock exchanges, financial information companies and the like, and those who produce or use it, including accountants, auditors, company managers, financial analysts, investors and creditors. Among those who can take advantage of XBRL include accountancy software vendors, the financial services industry, investor relations companies and the information technology industry.