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XBRL® For Dummies®

Book Description

The perfect guide to help you understand XBRL-from the "father of XBRL"

What is XBRL and how can it help you streamline your business reporting? This plain-English guide from the "father of XBRL," Charles Hoffman, will tell you what it is, why it is, and how you can get on the bus with this new SEC-mandated business reporting standard for publicly-traded companies. A CPA, Hoffman is credited with the idea of applying XML data to financial reporting; XBRL is the language that resulted.Learn to prepare financial statements with XBRL, use it for strategic planning, move all relevant departments in your company to the same system, and more.

  • XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an XML-based open standard for accounting data; author Charles Hoffman is credited with the idea of applying XML data to financial reporting

  • Plan for XBRL implementation, set action-oriented agendas, and identify stakeholders and subject-matter experts within your organization

  • Learn to choose from and adapt existing XBRL taxonomies to comply with US GAAP and IFRS standards

Topics also include how to adapt your existing financial information into XBRL.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Authors and Contributors
  3. Authors' Acknowledgments
  4. Publisher's Acknowledgments
  5. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. Conventions Used in This Book
    3. Foolish Assumptions
    4. How to Use This Book
    5. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Part I: The Very Least You Need to Know about XBRL
      2. Part II: Embracing XBRL for Classic Challenges and New Possibilities
      3. Part III: Successfully Pursuing and Executing an XBRL Project
      4. Part IV: Working with XBRL Taxonomies and Instances
      5. Part V: The Part of Tens
    6. Icons Used in This Book
    7. Where to Go from Here
  6. I. The Very Least You Need to Know about XBRL
    1. 1. Wrapping Your Head Around XBRL
      1. 1.1. Answering the Question, "Why XBRL?"
      2. 1.2. Looking at XBRL in Different Ways
      3. 1.3. Dispelling Common Misconceptions
      4. 1.4. Compelling Reasons to Consider XBRL
        1. 1.4.1. Making life easier
        2. 1.4.2. Saving time and money
        3. 1.4.3. Helping you complete projects faster
      5. 1.5. Getting a Grip on XBRL Fundamentals
        1. 1.5.1. Tag — You're it: Tags add structure
        2. 1.5.2. Dictionaries can be flexible
        3. 1.5.3. Dictionaries can enforce rules
        4. 1.5.4. Users can change report organization
        5. 1.5.5. XBRL processors "get" XBRL
      6. 1.6. Benefitting from Using XBRL
      7. 1.7. Discovering Other Ways to Use XBRL
      8. 1.8. Making XBRL Work for You
    2. 2. Taking to Heart the Essential Concepts of XBRL
      1. 2.1. The Problem That XBRL Solves
      2. 2.2. Building on Top of XML
        1. 2.2.1. XBRL isn't like other XML languages
        2. 2.2.2. XBRL versus XML
      3. 2.3. The Essential Objectives Driving XBRL
      4. 2.4. XBRL Is Powerful but Not a Complete Solution or System
      5. 2.5. Decisions, Decisions
        1. 2.5.1. XBRL uses XML
        2. 2.5.2. XBRL is a general-purpose specification
        3. 2.5.3. XBRL uses an atomic approach
        4. 2.5.4. Reuse is more important than presentation
      6. 2.6. The Realities of Business Reporting . . . er . . . Information Exchange
        1. 2.6.1. Paper has its advantages, as does digital
        2. 2.6.2. Information needs to be portable
        3. 2.6.3. Syntax is not enough
        4. 2.6.4. You need to be explicit
        5. 2.6.5. Specialized business systems are growing
        6. 2.6.6. Keep business rules separate
        7. 2.6.7. Business information exchange is a chain
    3. 3. Glancing at XBRL's Parts
      1. 3.1. Explaining XBRL in the Elevator, at the Water Cooler, or to Your Boss
      2. 3.2. Getting the Big-Picture View of XBRL
      3. 3.3. Agreeing to Agree
        1. 3.3.1. Agreement
        2. 3.3.2. Interoperability
        3. 3.3.3. Formalization
      4. 3.4. Meeting the Standards Bearer
      5. 3.5. The XBRL Family of Specifications
      6. 3.6. Key Common Taxonomies
      7. 3.7. Gleaning Guidance from Best Practices
      8. 3.8. Bringing XBRL to Life with Software
        1. 3.8.1. Features of XBRL in software and XBRL-specific software
        2. 3.8.2. A word about the XBRL processor
      9. 3.9. Looking at XBRL Logically
      10. 3.10. Framing a Logical Perspective to Understand XBRL
        1. 3.10.1. XBRL taxonomies express meaning
        2. 3.10.2. XBRL instances communicate and transport information
        3. 3.10.3. Networks provide options
        4. 3.10.4. XBRL taxonomies are flexible sets
    4. 4. An XBRL Primer
      1. 4.1. Getting Ready for a Geek-Fest of XBRL
      2. 4.2. Grasping the XBRL Framework
      3. 4.3. Discovering Fundamentals of XML for XBRL Users
      4. 4.4. Exploring XBRL Taxonomy Parts
        1. 4.4.1. Taxonomy schemas and linkbases
        2. 4.4.2. Discoverable taxonomy sets
        3. 4.4.3. Networks and extended links
        4. 4.4.4. Resources and relations within networks
      5. 4.5. Identifying XBRL Instance Parts
      6. 4.6. Achieving Flexible Business Information Exchange
        1. 4.6.1. Defining concepts and organizing with taxonomy schemas
        2. 4.6.2. Using networks to separate and organize sets of resources
        3. 4.6.3. Separating and organizing sets of relations by using networks
        4. 4.6.4. Exchanging facts with XBRL instances
        5. 4.6.5. Gaining flexibility through extension
        6. 4.6.6. Achieving interoperability through validation
        7. 4.6.7. Demystifying the DTS
        8. 4.6.8. Grasping the functioning of networks
          1. 4.6.8.1. When to use networks
          2. 4.6.8.2. Other important aspects of networks
      7. 4.7. Drilling into Taxonomy Schemas
        1. 4.7.1. Concepts
        2. 4.7.2. Pointers to other concepts, resources, or relations
      8. 4.8. Drilling into Resource Networks
      9. 4.9. Drilling into Relation Networks
      10. 4.10. Drilling into XBRL Instances
        1. 4.10.1. References to XBRL taxonomies
        2. 4.10.2. Giving facts context
        3. 4.10.3. Units provide additional context for numeric facts
        4. 4.10.4. Expressing the values for facts
        5. 4.10.5. Commenting with XBRL footnotes
      11. 4.11. Gaining Flexibility through Extension
        1. 4.11.1. Understanding extension
        2. 4.11.2. Reasons to extend
    5. 5. Pinning Down How XBRL Affects You
      1. 5.1. Why XBRL Is Worth Your Time
      2. 5.2. Defining You
        1. 5.2.1. By organizational type
        2. 5.2.2. By role within an organization
          1. 5.2.2.1. A business executive's view
          2. 5.2.2.2. An accountant's view
          3. 5.2.2.3. An analyst's view
          4. 5.2.2.4. A project manager's view
          5. 5.2.2.5. A consultant's view
          6. 5.2.2.6. A technical architect's view
          7. 5.2.2.7. A developer's view
          8. 5.2.2.8. A database administrator's view
          9. 5.2.2.9. A bureaucrat's view
          10. 5.2.2.10. An individual's view
  7. II. Embracing XBRL for Classic Challenges and New Possibilities
    1. 6. Exchanging Business Information
      1. 6.1. Streamlining Cross-System Exchanges
      2. 6.2. Business Information Exchange Is More Than Just a Report
      3. 6.3. Examining the Characteristics of Business Information Exchange Today
      4. 6.4. Clarifying the Objectives of Exchanging Business Information
      5. 6.5. Recognizing Business Environment Changes
      6. 6.6. Enabling Technologies to Impact Business Information Exchanges
      7. 6.7. XBRL's Role in the Semantic Web
      8. 6.8. Envisioning New Possibilities in Business Information Exchange
        1. 6.8.1. New business information exchange model
        2. 6.8.2. Format as a choice, not a limitation
        3. 6.8.3. Transparency and visibility
        4. 6.8.4. Information that is self-validating
        5. 6.8.5. Interactive information
        6. 6.8.6. System flexibility
        7. 6.8.7. Metadata-driven system changes
        8. 6.8.8. Information portability
        9. 6.8.9. One version of the truth
        10. 6.8.10. Semantic Web of information
        11. 6.8.11. Plug-and-play information exchange
    2. 7. Feeding the Business Information-Supply Chain
      1. 7.1. The Different Types of Supply Chains
      2. 7.2. The Information-Supply Chain
        1. 7.2.1. Business strategy transformed by the new economics of information
        2. 7.2.2. A business information exchange platform
        3. 7.2.3. An information-supply chain in action
      3. 7.3. A Business Information-Supply Chain
      4. 7.4. Building Your Own Information-Supply Chain in the Future
    3. 8. Seeing the Transformation of Business Information Exchange
      1. 8.1. A Transformation Will Occur
        1. 8.1.1. Gleaning clues from other transformations
          1. 8.1.1.1. Product codes
          2. 8.1.1.2. Metal boxes
          3. 8.1.1.3. Music
          4. 8.1.1.4. Digital photography
        2. 8.1.2. Reading the clues provided by early XBRL adopters
        3. 8.1.3. Clues from financial reporting leadership in changing financial reporting
        4. 8.1.4. The transformation of financial reporting
      2. 8.2. Understanding the Transformation of Business Information Exchange
      3. 8.3. Envisioning XBRL Killer Applications
      4. 8.4. Starting Your Own Transformation
  8. III. Successfully Pursuing and Executing an XBRL Project
    1. 9. Exploring the Common Uses of XBRL
      1. 9.1. Gaining Knowledge from XBRL Projects Around the World
        1. 9.1.1. Wacoal
        2. 9.1.2. U.S. FDIC
        3. 9.1.3. Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS)
        4. 9.1.4. Dutch Association of Water Boards
        5. 9.1.5. Dutch SBR Project
        6. 9.1.6. U.S. SEC
        7. 9.1.7. Australian SBR Project
        8. 9.1.8. National Tax Agency of Japan
        9. 9.1.9. Tokyo Stock Exchange
        10. 9.1.10. Japan Financial Services Agency
        11. 9.1.11. The MIX MARKET
        12. 9.1.12. Nevada's state controller's office
        13. 9.1.13. Nevada Department of Agriculture
        14. 9.1.14. United Technologies Corporation
        15. 9.1.15. Deloitte Australia
        16. 9.1.16. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
        17. 9.1.17. Accounting and ERP Software
        18. 9.1.18. State of Oregon CAFR Pilot Project
        19. 9.1.19. Morgan Stanley
        20. 9.1.20. PricewaterhouseCoopers iDP
      2. 9.2. Identifying the Common Characteristics of XBRL Projects
    2. 10. Making Your Own Business Case for XBRL
      1. 10.1. Evaluating Business Use Cases
      2. 10.2. Solving a Business Problem with XBRL
      3. 10.3. Gleaning XBRL's Practical Benefits
        1. 10.3.1. Benefits to all
        2. 10.3.2. Benefits to those who specify metadata
        3. 10.3.3. Benefits to consumers of information
        4. 10.3.4. Benefits to creators of information
      4. 10.4. Increasing Both Reach and Richness
      5. 10.5. XBRL as a New Communication Medium
      6. 10.6. Fitting into the Extended Enterprise
      7. 10.7. Maximizing Economics of Information
    3. 11. Evaluating Different Approaches to Implementing XBRL
      1. 11.1. The Many Ways to Implement XBRL
        1. 11.1.1. Do nothing
        2. 11.1.2. Outsource
        3. 11.1.3. Bolt on
        4. 11.1.4. Purchase software
        5. 11.1.5. Integrate
        6. 11.1.6. Create
      2. 11.2. How Vendors and Regulators Fit into These Approaches
      3. 11.3. Choosing Your Approach
    4. 12. Considering How to Implement Your XBRL Solution
      1. 12.1. Discovering Your Vision
      2. 12.2. Planning for Success
      3. 12.3. Architecting Your XBRL Solution
        1. 12.3.1. Use an application profile to simplify
        2. 12.3.2. Use an information model to be consistent
        3. 12.3.3. Increase usability using a logical model
        4. 12.3.4. Use someone else's taxonomy
        5. 12.3.5. Use an abstraction layer for control
      4. 12.4. Executing Your XBRL Project
        1. 12.4.1. Test your resulting XBRL instances
        2. 12.4.2. Store XBRL
        3. 12.4.3. Validate for quality and interoperability
        4. 12.4.4. Maintain your XBRL solution
      5. 12.5. Collaborating with XBRL Consultants
      6. 12.6. Managing an XBRL Project
      7. 12.7. Identifying a Successful XBRL Project
      8. 12.8. Monitoring an XBRL Project in Trouble
    5. 13. Complying with the SEC Mandate
      1. 13.1. Why the SEC Mandated XBRL
      2. 13.2. The Ramifications of the SEC Mandate
      3. 13.3. Meeting the SEC Mandate
      4. 13.4. SEC-Specific Software and Services
      5. 13.5. The Cost of Meeting the SEC Mandate
      6. 13.6. The Benefits Hidden in the Mandate
      7. 13.7. Minimizing Your Effort and Maximizing Your Success
  9. IV. Working with XBRL Taxonomies and Instances
    1. 14. Finding the Tools and Services to Make XBRL Work
      1. 14.1. The XBRL Software Landscape
        1. 14.1.1. Existing business systems and XBRL-specific applications
        2. 14.1.2. Commercial, free, and open-source software
        3. 14.1.3. Software as a product and SaaS
        4. 14.1.4. Business versus technical user software
        5. 14.1.5. Middleware versus end-user software
        6. 14.1.6. XBRL-related software features
      2. 14.2. Why You Want an XBRL Processor
      3. 14.3. XBRL Software Products and Services
        1. 14.3.1. Exploring XBRL processors
        2. 14.3.2. Viewing XBRL information
          1. 14.3.2.1. Taxonomy viewers
          2. 14.3.2.2. XBRL instance viewers
        3. 14.3.3. Creating and editing XBRL
          1. 14.3.3.1. XBRL taxonomy creators
          2. 14.3.3.2. XBRL instance creators
        4. 14.3.4. Analyzing XBRL information
        5. 14.3.5. Other XBRL-related tools and services
          1. 14.3.5.1. Mapping software
          2. 14.3.5.2. Standalone validation tools
          3. 14.3.5.3. XBRL databases
          4. 14.3.5.4. Enterprise solutions
      4. 14.4. Discovering Software Applications That Support XBRL
      5. 14.5. Finding XBRL Professional Services
      6. 14.6. Discriminating Between XBRL Tools
      7. 14.7. Finding the Right Products and Services
    2. 15. Creating and Using XBRL
      1. 15.1. Getting Started on Your XBRL Journey
      2. 15.2. Viewing an XBRL Taxonomy
      3. 15.3. Viewing an XBRL Instance
      4. 15.4. Creating an XBRL Taxonomy and Instance
        1. 15.4.1. Using those other buttons
        2. 15.4.2. Determining your additional needs
      5. 15.5. Creating Resources for XBRL Taxonomy Concepts
      6. 15.6. Creating Relations Between XBRL Taxonomy Concepts
      7. 15.7. Extending Someone Else's Taxonomy
      8. 15.8. Creating an XBRL Instance that Uses Extension
      9. 15.9. Reflecting on Your Creations
      10. 15.10. Performing Analysis Using XBRL
    3. 16. Differentiating XBRL Modules
      1. 16.1. XBRL Is a Set of Specifications
      2. 16.2. The XBRL Family of Specifications
      3. 16.3. Leveraging the Multidimensional Model Using XBRL Dimensions
        1. 16.3.1. Using the model for analysis
        2. 16.3.2. Getting a grip on the model
        3. 16.3.3. Grasping the basics of XBRL Dimensions
      4. 16.4. Expressing Business Rules Using XBRL Formula
        1. 16.4.1. Getting a grip on business rules
        2. 16.4.2. The components of XBRL Formula
        3. 16.4.3. Separating business rules from applications
        4. 16.4.4. Automating workflow
      5. 16.5. Creating Human-Readable XBRL Information Using XBRL Rendering
        1. 16.5.1. Getting a grip on rendering
        2. 16.5.2. The components of XBRL rendering
      6. 16.6. Maintaining XBRL Taxonomies and XBRL Instances Using XBRL Versioning
        1. 16.6.1. Getting a grip on versioning
        2. 16.6.2. The components of XBRL Versioning
      7. 16.7. Creating Custom Resources and Relations Using Generic Linkbases
        1. 16.7.1. Getting a grip on Generic Linkbases
        2. 16.7.2. XBRL Generic Linkbases components
      8. 16.8. The XBRL Global Ledger Taxonomy
        1. 16.8.1. Getting a grip on XBRL GL
        2. 16.8.2. Accountants, taxes, and XBRL GL
    4. 17. Digging Deeper into XBRL Taxonomies
      1. 17.1. Consolidating Your Knowledge
      2. 17.2. Distinguishing Between Important Aspects of XBRL Taxonomies
        1. 17.2.1. An XBRL taxonomy can be more than a dictionary
        2. 17.2.2. The XBRL taxonomy is the entire DTS
        3. 17.2.3. XBRL taxonomies categories
        4. 17.2.4. Systems that use XBRL taxonomies
          1. 17.2.4.1. Closed and open systems
          2. 17.2.4.2. Static and dynamic system information models
          3. 17.2.4.3. Simple and complex system transactions
          4. 17.2.4.4. High or low level of information reuse
        5. 17.2.5. XBRL taxonomies don't understand each other
      3. 17.3. Managing Your XBRL Taxonomy
      4. 17.4. Looking at XBRL Taxonomies
        1. 17.4.1. The physical taxonomy files
        2. 17.4.2. Taxonomy viewer
        3. 17.4.3. Taxonomy printouts
        4. 17.4.4. Alternative rendering formats
        5. 17.4.5. Taxonomy official documentation
        6. 17.4.6. Taxonomy user guidance
        7. 17.4.7. Third-party taxonomy guidance
      5. 17.5. What to Look for in an XBRL Taxonomy
      6. 17.6. XBRL Taxonomy Samples and Examples
      7. 17.7. Exploring Real Production Financial Reporting Taxonomies
        1. 17.7.1. The US GAAP XBRL taxonomy
        2. 17.7.2. The IFRS XBRL taxonomy
        3. 17.7.3. The EDINET XBRL taxonomy
        4. 17.7.4. International Taxonomy Architecture Effort (ITA)
      8. 17.8. Looking at Other XBRL Taxonomies
      9. 17.9. Identifying a Good XBRL Taxonomy
    5. 18. Understanding the XBRL Instance
      1. 18.1. Consolidating Your Knowledge of the XBRL Instance
      2. 18.2. Distinguishing the Important Aspects of an XBRL Instance
        1. 18.2.1. The relationship between the XBRL instance and the XBRL taxonomy
        2. 18.2.2. Approaches to creating XBRL instances
        3. 18.2.3. Categorizing XBRL instances
        4. 18.2.4. A thought experiment
      3. 18.3. Looking at XBRL Instances
        1. 18.3.1. The physical XBRL instance files
        2. 18.3.2. Instance viewer
        3. 18.3.3. Rendering of XBRL instance information
        4. 18.3.4. XBRL instance creator
        5. 18.3.5. Instance rendered with OLAP cube or pivot table
        6. 18.3.6. Interactive information hypercube viewer
      4. 18.4. Knowing What to Look for in an XBRL Instance
      5. 18.5. XBRL Instance Samples and Examples
      6. 18.6. Exploring Real Production Financial-Reporting-Type XBRL Instances
      7. 18.7. Identifying a Good XBRL Instance
    6. 19. Predicting What XBRL Will Become
      1. 19.1. The Future World with XBRL
      2. 19.2. Facts and Assumptions
        1. 19.2.1. Known and generally indisputable facts
        2. 19.2.2. Assumptions about XBRL's future
      3. 19.3. XBRL Means New Types of Software
        1. 19.3.1. XBRL as part of an enterprise service bus or XML pipeline
        2. 19.3.2. Integrated functionality
        3. 19.3.3. Improved search and discovery of business information
        4. 19.3.4. Growing use of application profiles
      4. 19.4. Specific Uses for XBRL
      5. 19.5. What Can Go Wrong
      6. 19.6. Changes to XBRL and Usage of XBRL
  10. V. The Part of Tens
    1. 20. Ten (or So) Ways to Flatten the XBRL Learning Curve
      1. 20.1. Gaining an Important Perspective on Learning
      2. 20.2. Building a Prototype or Proof of Concept
      3. 20.3. Taking Advantage of the Expertise of Hired Guns
      4. 20.4. Working with Software Vendors
      5. 20.5. Taking a Class
      6. 20.6. Asking Questions on Mailing Lists
      7. 20.7. Writing a White Paper
      8. 20.8. Helping on a Public XBRL Taxonomy Project
      9. 20.9. Joining an XBRL International Working Group
    2. 21. (Nearly) Ten Keys to Understanding How XBRL Works
      1. 21.1. Syntax Is Fairly Unimportant, Except Where It's Critical
      2. 21.2. The Power of Semantics
      3. 21.3. Metadata Expresses Meaning
      4. 21.4. Business Rules Can Change Processes
      5. 21.5. Unstructured Information Is Impossible for a Computer to Use Effectively
      6. 21.6. Why Information Shouldn't Be Structured for Presentation
      7. 21.7. Information Structured for Meaning Is More Useful
      8. 21.8. A Global Standard for Information Structured for Meaning
    3. 22. Top Ten Technical Odds and Ends
      1. 22.1. Covering the Basics of XLink
      2. 22.2. Knowing How XBRL Uses XLink Roles
      3. 22.3. Comparing XLink Extended Links and XBRL Networks
      4. 22.4. Using Tuples to Express Compound Facts
      5. 22.5. Creating Segment and Scenario Contextual Information
      6. 22.6. Using XBRL Footnotes to Add Comments
      7. 22.7. Using Resources to Add Information
      8. 22.8. Adding New Types of Relations
      9. 22.9. Expressing Blocks of Information