Section One: Introduction to XBRL

XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language, the financial profession's version of XML for financial reporting. XBRL was created by an industry-wide consortium seeking to develop a consistent method of reporting business event information.  The XBRL steering committee directs the efforts of the group.  Steering committee membership is open to all organizations who would like to participate in the process and pay a small membership fee.

From the XBRL.org Web Page:

What are we doing?  XBRL.ORG is developing the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) for the preparation and exchange of business reports and data.  The initial goal of XBRL is to provide an XML-based framework that the global business information supply chain will use to create, exchange, and analyze financial reporting information including, but not limited to, regulatory filings such as annual and quarterly financial statements, general ledger information, and audit schedules.

XBRL is freely licensed and facilitates the automatic exchange and reliable extraction of financial information among various software applications anywhere in the world.

The XBRL Specification and the first taxonomy for financial reporting of commercial and industrial companies under US GAAP was released on July 31, 2000.  This was a major milestone for the XBRL framework.

This release will allow for the creation of XML-based financial statements using XBRL.(Source: www.xbrl.org , visited August 10, 2000)

Organizations and corporations world-wide are committed to support XBRL. Countries are also excited about having their participants in capital markets report accounting information against a single chart of accounts and in XML. The International Standards for Accounting Consortium is very excited about the project and will sign on all countries who use ISA for accounting. This means that thousands of companies world-wide will be clamering for useful tools.

Articles for further Study:

Looking at Business Reports Through XBRL-Tinted Glasses, Strategic Finance, September, 2000, By Liv A. Watson; Brian L. McGuire, CMA, CPA; and Eric E. Cohen, CPA.  The article introduces XBRL and XML and explains how XBRL will be used for business reporting.  The description of how XBRL fits into the XML family is very helpful. 
Sample quote
, "Why Use XBRL?" Standardize on a common taxonomy (shared vocabulary) and you reap the benefits of interoperability and integration. In the long run, standardization improves access and lowers distribution costs because fewer technologies are involved."

XBRL Will Transform Financial Reporting  Date: Jun 19, 2000 , Publication: WST
By: Ivy Schmerken

Inside the 1.0 Specification, is a guide to reading the W3C recommendation. 

XML, The Next Big Thing, Published on the IBM developer's Web Site, provides insight into how XML is used in business and what role IBM is playing in the development of XML.

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Copyright 2008 Saeed Roohani, XBRL Education